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Hyperpigmentation, Post-Inflammatory (PIH)
What is postinflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is a discoloration that appears at the site of an underlying (and often healed) lesion or disease.
Such underlying conditions include:
Reactions to medications
The area of discoloration can be light brown, red, or black and may become darker if exposed to sunlight or certain medications (such as tetracycline).
Who gets postinflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is most common and long-lasting in dark-skinned people, but it can occur in anyone. It also appears more often in skin conditions triggered by exposure to sunlight, such as phytophotodermatitis and lichenoid dermatoses.
What causes postinflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of inflammation, which leads to the increased production of melanin (skin pigment) in the area where skin is damaged.
How is it treated?
Although the discolored skin will slowly regain its normal appearance, this can take up to a year.
Topical treatments may be recommended to lighten the lesions more quickly, including:
Glycolic acid peels
In addition, to prevent further darkening, people with postinflammatory hyperpigmentation should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen on affected areas.
While waiting for treatments to take effect, cosmetics can be used to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmented lesions.
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