Pigmentation Disorders

Skin pigmentation disorders

Clients who are seeking chemical peel treatments may often suffer from pigmentation issues. Pigmentation can range from freckles, hyper-pigmentation, hypo-pigmentation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is a condition that will often cause a sufferer to seek treatments that can reduce their pigmentation.

PIH is often caused when an injury, rash or blemish cause’s the skin to become inflamed. This inflammation triggers melanocytes – the melanin-producing cells – to release excessive melanosomes (pigment granules). The excessive pigment granules darken and discolour the formerly wounded area, remaining there long after the initial wound has recovered.

The more inflammation there is, the more obvious the area of discolouration will be both in terms of size and colour. In some cases, where PIH is caused by acne or picking pimples, it can worsen the skin condition, leading to increased hyperpigmentation.



In some cases, inflammatory acne can result in pink, red or purple coloured pigmentation, which is more commonly referred to as post-inflammatory erythema (PIE). PIE refers to discolouration as a result of damage to capillaries in the skin’s surface, whereas PIH mainly refers to the pigment change following a skin condition.


Both PIE and PIH tend to reduce with time, although acne scarring can be textural and permanent. PIH often affects people with acne and it can sometimes be triggered by skin treatments such as dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser therapy therefore this would be a contra-indication to treatments

To manage the reaction a client may have with PIH there are some steps that can be taken..

A tyrosinase inhibitor can be used for 2-4 weeks prior to the treatment to reduce the levels of melanin produced, therefore the pigmentation will be reduced.

Here is a list of common ingredients found in skincare products that are tyrosinase inhibitors (interrupts the production of melanin and can help reduce melanin)-

  • Resveratrol
  • Niacinamide
  • N. Acetyl Glucosamine
  • Arbutin
  • Kojic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Hydroquinone
  • Liquorice
  • Green tea/EGCG
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C

Just look on the ingredients lists to see if any of these are listed. Often the product will be marketed as something to help brighten the skin and help pigmentation.

These ingredients will also help to ‘prep’ skins for aesthetic facial treatments, like chemical peels/resurfacers and microneedling, to reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

If your client is using a product to tackle pigmentation it is important that they wear an SPF of 30-50 everyday not just the summertime.

This is a product that we sell at the academy for students to add to their kit. It contains niacinamide and other pigmentation prevention ingredients to helps reduce age spots (seniles lentigos), pregnancy mask (melasmas), and all brown spots associated with inflammatory skin lesions.