There are several treatments that dermatology clinics can offer, but what can you do yourself to improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
The good news is that post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or PIH for short) is most likely to fade away gradually on its own, even if it takes longer than you’d like. Some patches end up being permanent but can be improved to a certain extent.
How long it takes to go away depends on several things:
- How severe the damage was
- How long ago it happened
- Whether the trauma/inflammation kept happening in the some spot
- Whether the inflammation is still occurring
- What condition your skin is in
- The original colour of your skin (PIH is more likely to be more severe and persistent on skin of colour)
And the even better news is that, while you can’t do much about all of those factors, at least some of them are within your control!
So here’s our DOs and DON’Ts to improve the appearance of PIH.
- Keep your skin hydrated: moisturise twice daily
- Keep your skin nourished: feed it natural nutrients from inside and out!
- Use regenerative oils such as rosehip, borage, sea buckthorn, hemp
- Use anti-inflammatory oils such as calendula, hemp, olive, chamomile, lavender
- Find strategies to defeat the itch so you’re not scratching and damaging the skin
- Watch how your skin reacts to new products and stop if they’re irritating you
- Ask your doctor or dermatologist to recommend topical treatments
- Use skincare or haircare with irritant ingredients, which can trigger flare-ups & further inflammation; perfumes, preservatives, sulphates, and soap are particularly bad culprits
- Expose your skin to the sun! Cover up and use high factor sunscreen
- Pick at scabs, acne or spots
- Use skin-lightening creams at home
- Try potentially damaging beauty treatments at home, such as chemical peels or dermabrasion.
For more information on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, see our blog What Is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation? or read Alaa Hassan’s personal experience of PIH in her article Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, Eczema & Me
Balmonds Skin Salvation with hemp, beeswax & calendula, to treat skin during an inflammatory episode (from £7.99 for 30ml)
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with shea butter & hemp seed oil, for daily maintenance of dry or sensitive skin (from £13.99 for 100ml)
Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil with rosehip, palmarosa, lavender & chamomile, for long-term application to improve the appearance of uneven or hyperpigmented skin tone (£18.99 for 50ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.