In this post, I will be sharing what PIH or dark spots are, what causes them and ingredients to introduce into your skincare routine to treat them.
PIH is short for Post – Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, otherwise known as Dark or brown spots. It occurs after an inflammation or damage to the skin has healed but leaves behind spots on the skin. There are other types of hyperpigmentation but PIH is the subject of this post because it is very common. It usually occurs in darker skin tones/people of colour, predominantly, people of African/African American heritage because of the high level of melanin/tyrosinase present in such skin tones.
Hence, in order to treat PIH, you have to introduce melanin inhibitors to reduce the excess production of melanin on the skin and to brighten the dark spots. You also need to moisturize as much as possible to aid the shedding of dead skin cells so more vibrant looking skin can emerge.
Melanin Inhibiting Ingredients/Best Ingredients for PIH
Some of the best ingredients to treat/fade dark spots include:
Vitamin C is an amazing ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation. Though, it doesn’t work for everyone, it is a powerful antioxidant and protects the skin from free radicals. Some research even states that when combined with certain doses of Glycolic acid, 20% vitamin C can heal stretch marks, but with constant use. One of the most common forms of Vitamin C is L – Ascorbic acid. Though, it is highly unstable, which is why people are advised to keep their vitamin C products in cool places, away from heat and light. I advise that you keep it in the fridge.
Some of my personal favourite Vitamin C picks include; The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
Glycolic Acid is a super great chemical exfoliant from the AHA family. If you want to know more about chemical exfoliation, Click HERE but in a nutshell, it helps to shed off dead skin cells off the skin, revealing brighter skin. It is derived from sugar cane and has small molecular size making it easier to penetrate the skin and work its magic. Some of my favourite Gycolic acid products include the 7% Glycolic Acid toner from The Ordinary and the Pixi 5% Glow Tonic.
Retinol is another great ingredient for PIH. In fact, Retinol is the answer to all your skincare problems because it is awesome in speeding cell turnover, hence giving you smooth skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles also. At initial introduction to the skin, Retinol could purge the skin but that doesn’t call for you to stop using it. Instead, keep at it and you’d see results soon enough. Visible results begin to show between 1 – 3 months of usage, same with the next ingredient on the list.
Hydroquinone is a very controversial ingredient because a lot of people misuse it; using it in large concentrations to bleach the skin. However, with the right concentration and frequency, it is very effective for treating hyperpigmentation. My current favourite is the Even Tone Night skin treatment from UrbanSkinRx.
Arbutin is derived from plants like bear berry fruit, cranberries etc. It reduces excess melanin production, making it great for skin brightening. It is also researched to have sun protection properties. My ultimate pick is the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA solution from The Ordinary.
Other Tips To Follow:
Ensure to wear sunscreen all throughout the day, reapplying at least 2 to 3 times, to protect your skin from the sun and prevent the spots from getting darker.
Moisturize your skin often so that dead skin cells can shed without stress
Be consistent with your routine but be patient. You don’t expect spots that have been on your skin for monthsssss to clear up in seconds.
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