Have you ever noticed dark spots on your skin after an injury or inflammation? Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common skin condition experienced by many people. Learn the facts about PIH, including what causes it and how to treat it effectively for an even and blemish-free complexion.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)  

What is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)? 

Following a skin injury or inflammation due to blemishes, acne, wounds, burns, eczema, insect bites, dermatitis, and other conditions, excess melanin is produced as skin cells regenerate. This increased pigmentation leads to the appearance of dark patches on the skin, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH.

These dark spots appear in different sizes and colours (typically shades of brown) and last for several weeks, months and even years if not treated properly. Darker and higher-phototype skin is more prone to developing these dark patches.  

How to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation 

Prevention is the best way to treat PIH. Check out these simple tips to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation:

  1. Avoid direct sun exposure without the appropriate protection.

Sun exposure can increase the appearance and duration of dark spots. Wear wide-brim hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing. Stay out of the sun between midday and 4 pm, drink plenty of water and try to find shade whenever possible. 

  1. Use high or very high (SPF 50 and SPF 50+) broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA radiation.

Don't underestimate the power of using the right sunscreen. Be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF every day, even when it's cloudy or rainy outside. Reapply every 2 hours and also after showering, drying off with a towel or sweating. Pay particular attention to sensitive and sensitised skin and avoid exposing children under 3 years of age to the sun.

  1. It is particularly important to protect sensitive areas (e.g., blemishes, scars, lips, eye contour, ears, neck, neckline, and scalp). 

Have you tried the mesoprotech® range? This range of broad-spectrum sunscreens uses innovative patented technology designed to protect the skin against visible and invisible radiation: UVB, UVA, visible light and infrared radiation. Thanks to its specific textures and active ingredients, it adapts to the needs of each skin type. Discover the right sunscreen for you.

  1. Use gentle cosmetic products suited to your skin type and condition in your daily skin hygiene, care and protection routine. 
  1. Refrain from touching scars or skin marks.

You may be tempted to scratch and pick at them. But this only makes things worse. 

How to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation 

If you are struggling with PIH, we're here to help. Here are some professional products and treatments to consider.

Aesthetic and medical treatments

Professional treatments, such as the cosmelan® and dermamelan® depigmenting procedures, are highly effective in eliminating and preventing the reappearance of dark spots.

Before and after results: PIH treatment with cosmelan® 
post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation before and after

cosmelan® professional treatment

cosmelan® is a leading professional depigmentation treatment trusted by over 1 million patients worldwide. Its innovative formula containing a patented molecule eliminates and prevents the reappearance of dark spots, delivering visible and lasting results from the first week of treatment. Treatment consists of a single session at a professional beauty salon followed by a home care regime (lasting 6 months approx.).

dermamelan® medical treatment

dermamelan® is a medical depigmentation treatment based on a formula endorsed by two patents designed to target the main triggers of stubborn skin blemishes. This progressive procedure delivers visible results from the first few weeks of treatment and helps to maintain an even skin tone in the long term.

This treatment consists of an initial professional consultation session followed by a 4-month home care regime.


Depigmentation products

A variety of depigmentation products are available to improve the appearance of PIH. We recommend products formulated with tranexamic acid, kojic acid and derivatives, glycolic acid, vitamin C or niacinamide, as these ingredients contain properties that help lighten the skin and reduce the intensity of spots caused by melanin hyperpigmentation.    

melan tran3x concentrate is an intensive anti-spot concentrate or serum containing tranexamic acid that controls excess pigmentation and visibly reduces dark spots on the face. 

melan tran3x gel cream is a depigmentation cream containing tranexamic acid intended for daily use that works progressively on dark spots and promotes a more even skin tone.

Regular exfoliation

Exfoliating regularly can help remove dead skin cells and promote cell regeneration, which can improve the appearance of PIH. Always opt for gentle exfoliants that do not irritate the skin to avoid exacerbating skin inflammation and pigmentation.  

Sun protection

Make sure to protect your skin from sun exposure with broad-spectrum sunscreens after exfoliation and professional depigmentation treatments.  

Although PIH can be a challenging cosmetic concern for many people, with the right care, products and professional treatments, you can prevent its appearance and treat existing blemishes and dark spots effectively.

Mª Carmen Vaquero

Mª Carmen Vaquero

Graduate in Pharmacy, specialised in dermocosmetics

Mª Carmen Vaquero completed a master's degree in cosmetic development in Barcelona.