Is Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation a Type of Acne Scar?

woman with skin disorder

Acne usually leaves behind ugly scars and discoloration of the skin if not properly taken care of. The natural reaction to healing of acne lesions on one’s skin is dark brown or pinkish spots. This is generally referred to as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH. Body acne scars and face acne scars are often termed as PIH. PIH occurs as a flat area of discoloration on the surface of the skin. It can be in hues of pink, purple, brown or black. Acne scar treatments are effective for PIH.

How does PIH develop?

PIH are types of acne scars that occur when skin inflammation is caused by a pimple, rash or wound. Even smaller acne spots or pimples can leave PIH. The degree of PIH due to acne depends on how serious the breakout is. PIH macules are larger and darker post larger and more inflamed breakouts. Melanin that is present in the epidermis gives the skin its color. Skin inflammation sparks off production of excess melanin. This consequently darkens the skin tone when the inflammation reduces. All skin types are prone to PIH and it is seen both in men and in women. In fact it affects both equally. PIH is not a serious or permanent scar in the true sense of the term.

Identification of PIH:

PIH will generally look like new or shiny skin. You can distinguish it from its color and texture. The area of skin that is hyperpigmented will not be pitted or depressed. The discoloration will look like a freckle or as a dark patch. PIH macules start forming when the acne starts wearing off.

Treatment of PIH with Retinoids:

As mentioned earlier, PIH is not actually a scar. With time, the mark usually fades away. How to get rid of acne scars is usually of major concern for sufferers of acne. A number of acne scarring treatments are available for the removal of these ugly marks. For face acne scars and body acne scars, there are various acne scar creams available. Retinoids can be used for treating PIH effectively. Retinoids are medications for acne treatment that are derived from vitamin A. Retinoids increase the turnover of cells and also help to reduce breakouts of acne and unclog pores. Retinoids are applied topically, and the ones commonly used for PIH treatment are Adapalene, Tazarotene and Tretenoin. The retinoid creams also include Differin, Tazorac and Retin-A.

One can be assured of visible results in a matter of few weeks since the beginning of treatment. It is best to consult one’s doctor and use a prescribed topical treatment for acne and PIH.