Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Post- inflammatory hyperpigmentation ( PIH )


 What is Hyperpigmentation

Post- inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is the darkening of the skin pigment due to an increase in melanin production which occurs after an inflammatory reaction or injury to the skin. If excess melanin is yielded in the epidermis (upper layer of skin) the skin will turn a darker shade of brown. PIH and hyperpigmentation is kind of like exercise, you gotta keep on it. 
PIH may occur in all skin types, but is most prevalent in people of African, Asian, Latin or Indian backgrounds. the most common injuries are scratches, burns, cuts, bruises, rashes, acne, sunburns or cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic procedures may include lasers, dermabrasion or peels.

How to Reduce Hyperpigmentation

Sunscreen is a necessary aid in preventing and or correcting PIH. Re-application at least every 2 hours is a must and protective hats and clothing are recommended. Warn the "Pickers" that scratching, picking or rubbing will worsen the darkening of the skin. Remember your mother harping on you to not pick, at least that time she was correct. Avoid intense exercise or over heating (i.e. hot yoga) for at least 24 hours after an invasive cosmetic procedure. In fact some cosmetic procedures are not recommended for darker skinned patients, check with your doctor.
To prevent PIH from say a bug bite, rash etc. an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription low percentage corticosteroid should be applied for a limited time. The role of hydroquinone for PIH or any hyperpigmentation is hotly debated. Most dermatologists agree that used for brief periods hydroquinone has little to no risk and is quite beneficial in treating PIH.
A basic overview in avoiding and treating PIH is :
1. No picking, popping or scratching you " Pickers".
2. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply.
3. For darker skin start with a gentle skincare routine and slowly acclimate to a higher efficacy routine
4. Consult with your doctor before any invasive cosmetic procedure
5. Use a corticosteroid or hydroquinone to battle and treat PIH
6. Treat and prevent acne with hydroquinone or a prescription  remedy from  your doctor.
Cheers, Miss Violet

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