WHAT CAUSES POST-INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION?

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Last week I talked about a few common causes of hyperpigmentation, especially in the bikini, thigh, and groin area. This week, I thought I would tackle one of the biggest causes of skin discoloration: POST- INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION

UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF MELANIN IN HYPERPIGMENTATION

Excess production of melanin in the skin occurs when darker skin experiences trauma. Hence, women with darker skin or olive skin tones are more likely to face skin discoloration from the melanin than women with lighter skin, or those with pink undertones.

 

Because of this, things like shaving or acne become much more complicated for women of colour, as both can cause trauma to the skin.

 

And of course, it doesn’t stop there…Women with higher melanin in their skin and who have course or curly hair also know the pains of dealing with ashiness, in-grown hair, razor bumps, dark underarms, bikini lines, etc…So when it comes to hair removal, it’s extremely important to take extra precaution in order to protect your skin.

 

TIPS TO AVOID HYPERPIGMENTATION

Prepping Is Key

Prepping is what will reduce the irritation from the shaving experience. I always recommend a light exfoliation before shaving any part of your body, especially if you also suffer from ingrown hairs, as this will clear the dead skin from the hair follicle. 

Apply a soothing cream, but make sure it’s not too heavy as it can be comedogenic and clog hair follicles. You need something to decrease surface tension. Make sure to avoid any product with strong fragrances and alcohol. Look for soothing ingredients, like aloe to create a barrier for your skin as the goal is to protect your skin from the trauma of shaving. Remember, every time you shave you are creating micro cuts on your skin. 

Pick The Right Razor

Ladies, it’s time to toss out your fancy blades. It can be extremely tempting to pick up that five-blade razor, but these razors are actually extremely harsh on your skin and can make hyperpigmentation WORSE. A single blade is all you really need, and it’s definitely safer. It’s a single, sharp blade that gets coarse hair off in no time so don’t use dull shavers. 

 

Pick The Right Time To Shave

I always shave a night, and people look at me like I’m crazy – BUT IT’S TRUE! Shaving ANY part of your body at night gives your skin time to heal and recover overnight before you expose it to products like deodorant and underwear chafing.

I would also recommend to plan your shave after a warm shower, as it allows your pores to open, and the hair to soften. 

 

Avoid Repetition

You’ve probably heard the old “shave in the direction of your growth”, and that’s 100% true. But something that people don’t say often is that you should also avoid shaving repeatedly over the same area. This leads to even more irritation, and increases the chance of hyperpigmentation in the area. Trust that your blade has done its job, and move on. 

 

Sun Exposure

Areas that are exposed to the sun, such as your thighs and legs, have a higher chance of developing dark spots after shaving. This is because after shaving, your skin becomes inflamed. Once the skin is inflamed and exposed to UV light, the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes will begin to produce more melanin, causing dark spots to become even darker. 

Because of this, it’s important to limit your exposure to sunlight after shaving (again, why shaving at night is a good idea!)

 

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