By Faith Cummings, she/her
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is pretty common. It can affect the skin on both body and face and shows up as spots of discoloration, with the color of appearance depending on your skin tone. Commonly shortened to PIH, it can occur in all skin types and across genders, though it is more prevalent with melanated skin. No matter your skin type or tone, there are products that can help reduce the appearance of PIH, including the Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask.
Causes of PIH
Skin can become inflamed when it gets injured or in the aftermath of a blemish. This injury triggers the production of melanocytes, or cells that produce melanin, to release excessive pigment granules called melanosomes. These melanosomes change the color of the area where the injury occurred—appearing more prominently the higher the level of inflammation—and they can take a long time to fade. Common treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion can actually trigger PIH—and it is often of particular concern for those living with acne.
How to prevent PIH and dark spots
Sun protection, sun protection, sun protection! The sun can darken the appearance of PIH, so the best prevention is to wear sunscreen daily, cover up with a hat and protective layers. Reapply sunscreen every two hours when outside.
Next, develop a skincare routine with skin-boosting ingredients. Regularly nourishing your skin will help to fade PIH over time, especially if you focus on key ingredients.
“Vitamin C is effective at targeting dark spots because it acts as an inhibitor,” says Youth To The People’s Regional Education + Sales Executive, Janine James. “It helps prevent the production of melanin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase. It gets to the root of the issue by finding and blocking those hyperpigmented cells from coming to the surface every 30 days—like a little skincare goalie.”
Vitamin C, found in the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum, is great at fading the appearance of hyperpigmentation and melasma and it helps to even out the complexion. Important to note: vitamin C will not lighten your normal skin color, so there’s no need to worry about that.
The next great ingredient to look for when seeking help to fade hyperpigmentation is vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide).
“It’s very restorative,” according to James. “It works hard to fight off internal and external stressors, it’s great for acne-prone and sensitive skin types, and it works effectively for skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. Niacinamide has been shown to prevent the transfer of pigment within the skin which can help reduce dark spots.”
Why the Power Masks helps and how to use it
“Every great skincare routine includes a clay mask,” James says. “The Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask is a must in the hyperpigmentation game because of the niacinamide in the formula. Niacinamide not only helps combat acne and blemishes, but it is also shown to prevent the transfer of pigment within the skin which in turn will help fade dark spots and even the complexion.”
Depending on your skin type, experiment with the best way to use the Power Mask to take care of your PIH. Those with combination and oily skin types might want to use it twice per week on freshly cleansed and dry skin. Leave it on for ten minutes, then rinse. For dryer or more sensitive skin, use the Power Mask as a spot treatment—follow the same protocol (cleanser first) then apply the mask to the affected areas. Leave it on for up to ten minutes, then rinse.
Other products can help, too
Vitamin C helps to fade dark spots, and that’s where the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum comes in.
“The 15% vitamin C complex of MAP, THD and Ethyl Ascorbic Acid are combined in this product which make it ultra stable and non-irritating,” James says. “It helps brighten dull skin, visibly reduces hyperpigmentation, and evens out the complexion. It’s one of my favorite products.”
For nighttime routines, try the skin-resurfacing Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner.
“Lactic and glycolic acid make up the 11% AHA blend (alpha hydroxy acids) which resurfaces the top layer of skin,” says James, “while ferments provide prebiotics and probiotics to help keep your microbiome balanced and thriving.”
Written by Faith Cummings for Youth To The People