Post Inflammatory Pigmentation (PIH)

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Perhaps you had a pimple that you couldn’t resist popping. Maybe you scraped your skin or burned yourself on the stove. Whatever the cause, you can’t help but notice that you still have a little dark spot weeks later. That’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), the term doctors use to describe the flat dark spots and discolorations on the skin following inflammation or injury.

Before & After Photos

Frequently asked questions

A consultation with one of our experienced anti-aging skin specialist will uncover which of the following types of hyperpigmentation you have, and what the best course of treatment will be:

> Sun spots, age spots and liver spots: No matter what you call them, these common-but-pesky marks generally appear as spots of hyperpigmentation on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the hands and face.

> Melasma: Thought to be caused by hormonal changes, this condition, which often develops during pregnancy, appears as areas of hyperpigmentation, dark skin or discolouration, on the face, abdomen or other parts of the body.

> Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: These dark and discoloured spots can appear following injury or trauma to the skin – think acne that’s healed, rashes (such as psoriasis and eczema) that may darken the skin, or a poorly administered chemical peel or laser treatment. Even seemingly innocuous activities like leg waxing and electrolysis can cause melanin-producing melanocyte cells to overreact.


PIH is a temporary condition that can start with a pimple, rash, scrape, burn, or any other type of skin trauma that causes inflammation. As a result of this inflammation, the skin over-produces a skin pigment called melanin. This extra melanin pigment gets deposited in the skin and is what causes the dark patches to remain long after the initial injury or inflammation has healed.

PIH can often fade on its own, although it may take weeks, months, or even years to do so. Sun exposure without sunscreen or sun protection can make PIH worse by stimulating cells in the skin to produce additional pigment, which is why it’s important to wear sunscreen or avoid sun exposure when you have a skin injury.


Post-inflammatory pigmentation spots can fade on their own over time. However, this process can take weeks to months, and sometimes years.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options for PIH, including:

  • Topical creams: Topical creams inhibit the formation of additional melanin and promote new skin growth, accelerating how quickly PIH spots fade.
  • Sun protection: UV rays cause certain cells in your skin to create additional pigment, making PIH worse. Sun protective measures can improve the effectiveness of treatment as well as speed up how quickly PIH spots fade on their own.
  • Lasers: Laser treatments use precise, focused beams of light energy to damage pigment-producing cells and fade PIH spots.
  • Chemical Peels:  Chemical peels work by ‘peeling off’ the topmost layer of skin, which includes PIH spots.

Everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may make PIH worse in another. It’s important to have a consultation to determine the best treatment for you

With sun damage, the number one cause of hyperpigmentation, you stand the best chance of slowing the accumulation of brown spots by protecting your skin from overexposure. Cover up with protective clothing, always use a sun screen or physical sun block such as Colorescience and, as much as you can, stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. Also wise: getting started on a medical grade skin care system, which includes products that a) introduce age-appropriate combinations of skin protection b) strengthen the skin’s barrier function and c) increase the body’s natural wound-healing response and produce collagen.

Our Bluestone Sunshields also provide great UV protection to inhibit PIH from forming with any possible sun exposure post treatment.


PicoWay is an advanced treatment based on the latest picosecond laser technology, capitalising on the predominant effect of the photoacoustic over the photothermal effectof traditional laser treatments. It is truly versatile and completely customisable for different skin types, offering a fast and effective treatment with relatively low to no downtime, minimal discomfort, and high patient satisfaction. The results may be noticed even after a single treatment.

PicoWay’s unique mode of action is based on delivering ultra-short picosecond pulses of energy to the tissue. These bursts of energy create a photoacoustic impact which breaks up the target pigment into smaller, more easily eliminated particles. Less heat is generated, resulting in fewer side effects and minimal discomfort. Even the smallest pigment fragments will shatter, resulting in more complete clearance.

If you are concerned with your brown spots, talk to one of our staff members today about this targeted solution for hyperpigmentation issues.

Since PIH occurs after skin injury or inflammation, anyone can get this condition regardless of gender or age. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can develop in all skin types, but it can be more common and more intense in people who have darker skin tones.

Methods we use to treat

Laser tattoo removal is a simple procedure that uses a special laser (a high-intensity beam of light) to safely remove tattoos that a person no longer wants. The darker, contrasting colors used in a tattoo absorb the wavelengths of the laser, effectively breaking its colors into fragments, while protecting the surrounding skin, which doesn’t absorb the laser due to the contrast differences. Throughout treatments, your tattoo gets progressively light and lighter until it eventually disappears altogether. Mild discomfort should be expected, though far less discomfort than was experienced in getting the tattoo.
In the world of earthy purifying wonders, charcoal is right up there with clay and mud. It’s been called the holy-grail ingredient and has been purging impurities since ancient times, thanks to its ability to attach to and absorb toxins. ​ In the past few years, charcoal has exploded in the world of skincare. Activated charcoal draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion and fight acne. V Carbon Peel is a unique non-invasive treatment uses activated charcoal for an exfoliating and purifying effect that enhances facial lifting by penetrating deep into the pores. It’s the ideal system for tightening dilated pores and removing dead cells from the superficial epidermal layer for an overall new look. V-Carbon allows to make medium or deep peeling treatments depending on the patient’s needs.
Office-based chemical peels are essential for maintaining skin’s health and appearance and they are available exclusively through an authorized SkinCeuticals skincare professional. These peels work synergistically with SkinCeuticals home care to yield optimal results. Helps reduce visible signs of photoaging, including fine lines and wrinkles. Benefits of Professional Peels include: Improving the appearance of uneven skin tone and dullness by exfoliating surface cells. Softening and smoothing the skin’s surface texture. Decreases the frequency of acne breakouts and fades the appearance of post-acne discoloration. Maintains and enhances the benefits of a SkinCeuticals homecare regimen. Complements benefits of almost all of our other in-office procedures
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A celeb-fave, PicoWay Resolve has quickly become a go-to treatment for correcting fine lines and wrinkles, and improving skin’s texture and tone. The precise heat of the laser stimulates collagen production without damaging surrounding tissues. With virtually no downtime, it’s also more comfortable than more ablative lasers. If you struggle with hard-to-treat melasma, you know this pesky condition cannot be prevented. PicoWay Resolve is one of the fastest and most effective melasma treatments available, often boasting results in just a few treatments.
Brought to you by Syneron Candela, PicoWay uses ultra-short, picosecond (trillionths of a second) pulses of energy to target a broad range of skin concerns, while leaving surrounding skin untouched. Because it emits less heat than traditional lasers, PicoWay provides a more comfortable treatment with fast results and virtually no downtime; after treatment, patients may experience temporary discolouration or reddening of the skin surrounding the treatment site.
14% Salicylic Acid, 14% Lactic Acid, 14% Resorcinol. The Jessner peel is a highly concentrated medium to deep peel that works effectively on all skin types. This treatment aggressively targets hyperpigmentation, sun damage and scarring, while minimizing fine lines, reducing pores and tightening the skin to create a smooth, even texture. Jessner is also proven to be highly effective at targeting acne and rosacea type breakouts. Immediately after your first treatment, you will notice a progressive difference in your complexion, with a radiant, healthy and refreshed appearance.

Products & Treatments we offer

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