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Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

It’s bad enough when that pimple suddenly appears on your face, but for it to leave a mark after everything you’ve gone through? Rude! It's called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or as we like to call it, the ghost of pimples past. It happens when trauma to the skin causes it to overproduce melanin as it’s trying to heal. It often appears as a reddish or cool-toned brown mark on the skin. Aside from acne, it can be caused by skin injuries, like bruises, cuts and scrapes, or skin disorders like eczema. 

The good news is that it will fade by itself. The bad news? It might take a while. Dermatologists say it could take from a couple of months to a full year for pigmentation to fully disappear from the skin. Luckily, there are things you can do slot into your skincare routine to speed up the process: 

Wear Sunscreen

Melanin production is triggered by exposure to UV rays, and that’s what you want to avoid. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis will protect your skin from this. 

Use Hydrocolloid Patches

Don’t. Pick. The. Spot. Aggravating the pimple from the get-go is a sure-fire path towards inducing PIH. Instead, use hydrocolloid patches over any blemishes to protect and speed recovery. These little patches absorb the fluid surrounding the breakout, which is key to the healing process. It might require self-restraint while it lasts but the lack of hyperpigmentation afterwards is worth it!

Vitamin C Serum 

Vitamin C is known for impeding the production of melanin, thus reducing hyperpigmentation. Applying a serum will help fade existing marks and prevent the appearance of future ones. Plus, Vitamin C amps up the performance of your SPF!


One way to lift the pigmentation from the skin is to speed up cell turnover by exfoliating. This gets rid of the dead skin cells that accumulate on the skin’s surface, resulting in healthier, more radiant skin. Moreover, exfoliation helps minimise the conditions that cause acne, the starting point of PIH. The trick is to exfoliate one a week; over-exfoliation will cause further skin irritation. You can use the gentlest setting on the GLOWDROP or AHAs like Glycolic or Lactic acids to help!

 Don't forget, always ask your dermatologist for advice before you start a new routine!

- Written by Hazel Leung for GLOWGEAR. Edited by Mia Samtani.

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