Image from skininc.com

Image from skininc.com

I suffer from post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).  Through research and trying many products and facial treatments, I’ve learned that this condition is difficult to treat. Especially if using incorrect products and treatments for your skin type.

Hyperpigmentation affects many men and women of all ethic groups.  It is caused by a complex protein skin pigment called melanin, which has over produced the pigment in the skin post acne scaring, burns etc.  This pigment is produced by the melanocyte cells found in the basel layer of the epidermis.

African American skin is prone to excessive cell turnover and dead skin cell buildup, therefore more exfoliation and deep pore cleansing is required.  However excessive exfoliation treatments can cause hyperpigmentation.

Additional Causes

  • UV Exposure
  • Hormonal Fluctuations
  • Inflammation

In addition, African American skin does not age as quickly as Caucasian skin because it has more melanin.  The defense mechanism that protects the skin from sun damage.  More over, dermatologists and estheticians still recommend using a broad spectrum SPF of 30+ for protection due to over exposure to the sun.   Furthermore, over exposure to the sun can worsen your hyperpigmented skin.

Some products can suppress melanin production by a biochemical process, these products are listed below.


  • Lactic Acid
  • Retinoids (Vitamin A)
  • Licorice Extract
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
  • Hydroquinone, at a low percentage

While African American skin can be more oilier and thicker, it can also be fragile.  So use caution when choosing facial treatments like microdermabrasion and laser treatments.  These treatments can cause hyperpigmentation or worsen an existing condition.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only.

D. Nicole





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