When I think of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), the word PATIENCE runs through my brain. Epidermal (surface) postinflammatory hypergpig can take 6-12 months to fade. Deeper pigment PIH may take YEARS to fade, thus, the need for constant reassurance that TIME and PATIENCE is required to manage this condition.
Some quick points:
- PIH does not require treatment and will likely improve with time.
- Focus on treating the underlying inflammation - Once electrolysis or laser
is finished, the skin can be left alone to heal in peace.
- SUN PROTECTION - use a minimum of 30 SPF to prevent PIH. It is especially
important for people of color to use SPF or even a block.
- Avoid possible irritants: irritating topical medications, alcohol,
witch hazel, astringents, fragrances
- There are medical therapies such as, topical hydroquinone (4% is better)
retinoids, kojic acid, azelaic acid, corticosteroids, chemical peels
combination therapy (a topical steroid + a retinoid + hydroquinone cream).
With hydroquinone, there has been concerns because some lab rats
were given the stuff orally and developed malignant tumors. In humans,
darkening of the skin can occur, so that's not helpful. I believe it was banned
- Having acne is a big contributor to PIH and that's where the benzoyl
peroxide comes in handy, along with topical retinoids and chemical peels
Any trauma to the skin, slight insult or huge trauma, from acne, bug bites, any type of boo-boo to a zebra kicking you in the knee can cause PostInflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Time and lots of patience is the best cure, but there are some other approaches that may speed things up (or prolong it?). Who knows for sure because individual skin types and immune systems vary so much.
I'm sorry to know about your exposure to the sun, but glad to hear that the majority of hair is gone.
Dee Fahey RN CT LLC
Licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio for Cosmetic Therapy/Electrolysis and the State Nursing Board of Ohio