Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common skin complaint, especially for people with darker skin. It often develops subsequent to some kind of skin inflammation (hence the term “Post Inflammatory” genius!). Such inflammation may be caused by skin issues such as acne, or in some cases by injury such as burns. The body initially creates inflammation as a part of its immune response, to deal with the offending situation. However in some situations, this inflammation causes an excess of melanin (the pigment which makes skin darker), which in turn results in an excess of pigmentation (or hyperpigmentation).
In most cases, PIH Is not permanent. In fact, it will often fade away by itself given enough time. However, sometimes that time is so long that the sufferer is convinced that the situation is permanent!
Before we get into treatments, we wanted to mention that in order to prevent things from getting worse, please make sure to use sunblock!
Various treatments can speed up this fading away time significantly. You can choose to treat post inflammatory hyperpigmentation naturally, or you can use some kinds of chemicals. In this article, we will focus on the former.
Natural treatments for PIH
It is important to keep in mind that because the following remedies are natural, they will typically take longer to work than many of the chemical treatments described below. However, in general, the chemical treatments are harsher and may end up damaging your skin, especially if overused. On the other hand, most natural cures are much gentler.
Even so, it is possible that your skin is particularly sensitive to a particular ingredient, and/or you are allergic to something. And in any case, every person’s skin is different, so what works well for one may not work that great for another. So we are listing out several options here, so check them out and find one that works best for you!
Turmeric and Gram Flour Face Pack
Turmeric Powder: Turmeric (also known as “haldi” in Hindi) is a spice that is used very commonly in Indian cooking. Its medicinal properties, which have been known in India since ancient times, have now become widely known. One of turmeric’s properties is that it lightens skin, so it makes sense to use it in treating hyperpigmentation. Be warned that turmeric has a very strong yellow color, which can leave behind difficult to remove stains on clothing. Even skin will initially turn yellow upon contact with turmeric. So be careful not to spill turmeric or this face pack paste on anything.
Gram Flour: Gram Flour (also known as chick pea flour, and as “besan” in Hindi) is also used in this pack.
Yogurt: Another ingredient in this face pack is yogurt. Alternately, milk and/or coconut oil/almond oil can be used. Try out the variations, and see which one you like most.
So here’s what you do: Take about 3 tablespoons of gram flour. Add in between a quarter teaspoon and half teaspoon of turmeric. Add a little yogurt (start with one tablespoon) to this, and mix well until a paste is formed. Add more yogurt as needed. The consistency of the paste should be such that can be applied to the face easily, but should not drip off the face at all. As mentioned above, some people prefer to use a little milk and/or almond oil/coconut oil instead of yogurt.
Dab the paste on to the darkened areas and leave it on for 15-20 minutes (until dry). You can also apply it as a face mask to your entire face if you like. Wash it off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
Continue doing this three to four times a week. You should see great results in about 3 weeks!
Fuller’s Earth and Rose Water Face Pack
Fuller’s Earth Powder: Fuller’s Earth is also known as “Multani Mitti” in Hindi (which literally means soil from Multan). It is good for reducing pigmentation. In addition, it is also helpful in controlling oiliness of skin, and so will result in reduction of acne/pimples in general.
Lemon Juice: Squeeze and use fresh lemon juice if possible. If not, you can use the bottled variety.
Mix about 3 tablespoons of multani mitti with enough rose water to make a paste that can be spread on to your face without dripping. You can use this mask on your entire face. Keep it on for about 15-20 minutes until it dries. Then wash your face with warm water.
You can repeat this about three times a week.
Honey and Lemon Juice:
Lemon Juice: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice if possible. The acidic nature of lemon juice helps with lightening the affected areas.
Take about one tablespoon of honey. Add around two tablespoons of lemon juice and mix the two ingredients. Dab on to the affected areas and leave on for around 15 minutes. Wash off with luke warm water.
Do this about two times a week.