Preventive measures are vital when trying to avoid PIH. The necessity of daily sunscreen application cannot be emphasized enough. Too often, most people are their own cause of recurrent hyperpigmentation due to a nonchalant attitude toward sun exposure.
Furthermore, following a treatment for hyperpigmentation, focusing more on the daily skin care is the key for a successful treatment of PIH. To better maintain the positive effects of treatment through the use of professional skin care product lines that include proven active ingredients coupled with effective delivery systems. As is recommended for all individuals, a regimen involving four steps—cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and protect—should be standard.
Here are four(4) suggestions on how to prevent and treat for PIH:
1. Avoidance of UV exposure. Minimizing UV exposure begins with the use of sunscreens, and the avoidance of direct and indirect sunlight. Restrict direct sun exposure during peak hours and apply a physical sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. By avoiding direct UV exposure, you will avoid unnecessary upregulation of melanocytic activity.
2. Topical treatments that regulate the melanin production. This is a mainstay of treatment. Common ingredients to help treat PIH, discolorations, or melasma include kojic acid, arbutin, hydroquinone and retinoids. The mechanism of action includes enzymatic blockage of melanin production, nonselective inflammatory mediation, tyrosinase-inhibition, stimulation of keratinocyte activity, and mediation of melanosome maturation and transfer. Also keep in mind that stronger concentrations of active ingredients may lead to higher adverse reactions, with equivalent responses to treatment.
3. Selective photothermolysis. Selective photothermolysis of melanin pigment or melanocytes can be achieved through the use of nonablative lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL). These treatments target either the melanin granules or the upregulated melanocytes. In theory, light-based treatments have the potential to irreversibly inhibit melanin production, thereby causing hypopigmentation; or paradoxically, induce melanin production, thus worsening the degree of hyperpigmentation.
4. Chemical or mechanical exfoliation. This allows for more rapid exfoliation of melanin contained within the skin. The limitations of treatment include the depth of treatment. Clearly, microdermabrasion does not penetrate deep enough to affect deeper melanin deposits, while the efficacy of chemical peels is directly related to concentration and pKa of the medical acid.