During some point in our lifetime, we will all suffer from hyperpigmentation in some way. It can look like red spots or brown spots (post-acne) or like a mottled and uneven skin color (sun damage, age, or melasma).
Today we're going to be talking about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or the kind that you see after a big breakout. The color of our skin depends on how many melanocytes we have, and how large they are, and how much melanin they contain. Melanin is a complex molecule responsible for the pigment in skin, hair, and eyes. This molecule works to protect by reducing the penetration of UV rays into the skin.
Darker skin types often have a problem with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or PIH as it's commonly called). PIH is the response of the skin due to inflammation or irritation. Darker skin tones differ from Caucasian skin tones in how reactive they are. While the pigmentation or marks left after a breakout might look red or pink on a lighter skin type, on a darker skin type they can often appear brown or very dark in appearance. Unfortunately this can sometimes take months to years to resolve.
Early intervention in treating the inflammation, as well as proper sun protection can go far in preventing future and correcting current pigmentation issues. There are topical ingredients that can be used to treat current issues such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, retinoids, and certain licorice extracts. However, another key product that should be used daily is a broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection product. The importance of sunscreen can't be overlooked, even for those darker skin types who don't normally wear it or think it is important. Studies have shown that UV radiation has a darkening effect on existing PIH. You should be applying a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily, regardless of the color of your skin.
Key factors of preventing and correcting hyperpigmentation are:
Early intervention- do not pick, squeeze, or frequently touch your breakouts. Treat with a gentle benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid ingredient. We recommend the Rhonda Allison Beta Green Tea line
, Blemish Serum
, Blemish Complex with BPO
or the Skin Refine Gel
Stay covered- do not expose the area to sun, and always wear a high SPF of at least 30 daily on your skin. We recommend Rhonda Allison eZinc Protection Cream
or Daily Defense Lotion SPF 30
Treat topically- treat the area with a 2% hydroquinone, kojic acid, or retinoid. We recommend Rhonda Allison Skin Brightening Gel
, Rhonda Allison Naturale Mega Brightening Serum
, or Retinol Supreme.