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Ask A Dermatologist: Chickenpox Post Inflammatory Hypopigmentation

Dear Doctor

Hello some days before I recover from chickenpox…the scars are fading but I want to know how I can completely recover from it.

The black one is my arm pic… there are 4 scars on my face… I want to remove them… 2 in my forehead, 1 on my mouth and 1 near my left ear.

Chickenpox Post Inflammatory Hypopigmentation

Dear Patient

This condition is known as Post Inflammatory Hypopigmentation.

This simply means that areas which are hypopigmented (lighter than the surrounding skin) develop after conditions which cause inflammation in the skin like chickenpox. The melanocytes which produce the dark skin pigment known as melanin are destroyed as the skin heals from these conditions.

 

Chickenpox Post Inflammatory Hypopigmentation Treatment

The treatment of post inflammatory hypopigmentation from chickenpox and other causes involves:

Waiting

Waiting and giving the skin time since repigmentation (return of normal skin color) can occur though it can take anywhere from weeks to years.

 

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure can cause repigmentation of the affected areas without scarring.

 

Topical Corticosteroids

Mild corticosteroid creams like 1% Hydrocortisone can also be applied on the skin.

 

Topical Immunomodulators

Immunomodulators or substances which alter the response of the immune system can also be applied on the skin to treat postinflammatory hypopigmentation. These medications which are also known as calcineurin inhibitors also reduce inflammation. Examples include tacrolimus 0.03% or 0.1 % (Protopic) and pimecrolimus 1% (Elidel).

 

Cosmetic Camouflage

Camouflage cosmetics can be used to cover up post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Cover-up makeup usually comes as sets which include concealing creams and setting powder. The Smart Cover-up Starter Kit and the Dermablend Cover Cream are two examples.

 

Medical Tattooing

Medical tattooing can be done to camouflage the hypopigmented (light) areas.

 

Laser Therapy

Lasers like the 308nm excimer laser may hasten repigmentation. Fraxel Restore laser is also used. Laser assisted chemabrasion (LACA) is also used for hypopigmentation.

 

Narrow Band Ultra Violet B (NB-UVB) Therapy

NB-UVB is used to hasten repigmentation.

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