What is post inflammatory hypopigmentation?
Hypopigmentation is the partial or total loss of skin pigment.
Post inflammatory hypopigmentation is very common and appears post skin inflammation. It can affect both the genders of all ages. In persons with darker skin tone it becomes over emphasized. Basically the depigmentation occurs due to loss of melanin pigment, inhibition of melanogenesis, dysfunction of melanocytes, or loss of melanocytes. If there is complete destruction of melanocytes or melanocyte death, the post inflammatory hypopigmentation may become permanent. The size, shape and distribution of hypopigmentation is directly related to original causative inflammation.
Causes of post inflammatory hypopigmentationThe causes of post inflammatory hypopigmentation  include many inflammatory skin conditions, skin trauma and injuries, dermatological procedures and infective diseases.
- Skin injuries and trauma
- Abrasions (grazes)
- Crush injury
- Incisions (cuts)
- Insect bites
- Puncture and penetration wounds
- Surgical incision closures
- Skin inflammatory conditions
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Bullous pemphigoid
- Discoid lupus erythematosus
- Granuloma annulare
- Lichen planus
- Lichen striatus
- Seborrheic eczema
- Skin infections and diseases
- Cutaneous candidiasis
- Herpes simplex
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Tinea Versicolor
- Dermatological procedures
- Chemical peels
- Laser resurfacing
- Laser therapy
- Punch grafts
Post inflammatory hypopigmentation treatment and management
Coal tar topical preparations have been successively used for stimulating repigmentation. Coal tar causes increased skin sensitivity to sunlight, so treated area should be protected from sunlight. Coal tar in combination with topical steroid has been found to be more effective.
Exposure to sunlight or phototherapy with ultraviolet light induces the melanogenesis. The dose of exposure must be closely monitored so as not cause sunburn or tan.
Choi KH et al  in their study "Treatment of Vitiligo with 308-nm xenon-chloride excimer laser: therapeutic efficacy of different initial doses according to treatment areas"
Camouflage procedures like tattoo had been successfully used to cover small areas of post inflammatory hypopigmentation.
In cases where the melanocyte loss is permanent, skin transplants and autologous melanocyte transplantation have been successfully done to manage post inflammatory hypopigmentation. In autologous melanocyte transplantation, cultured melanocytes are introduced into the hypopigmentation skin.
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1.Vachiramon, V. and Thadanipon, K. (2011), Postinflammatory hypopigmentation. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 36: 708–714. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2011.04088.
2.Choi KH, Park JH, Ro YS. Treatment of Vitiligo with 308-nm xenon-chloride excimer laser: therapeutic efficacy of different initial doses according to treatment areas. J Dermatol. 2004 Apr;31(4):284-92.
Current topic on natural skin care: Post inflammatory hypopigmentation