Background: Acne vulgaris is a common condition that occurs in all skin types. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is often associated with acne in patients of darker skin types, making it a common complaint in dermatology offices. Despite this, there is limited understanding of and effective treatment options for PIH.
Objectives: The study objective was to validate an in vivo model for PIH and to compare the clinical, histological and spectroscopic characteristics of artificially induced PIH and acne-induced PIH.
Methods: A nonblinded, nonrandomized pilot study was performed. Thirty subjects served as their own control in which four sites treated with 35% trichloroacetic acid (TCA) solution and four truncal acne pustules were followed for 8 weeks and were evaluated clinically and histologically, and by colorimetry and spectroscopy.
Results: The initial phases of inflammation between TCA- and acne-induced PIH differ. However, clinical evaluations were similar on and after day 14. Acne- and TCA-induced lesions were clinically, histologically and spectroscopically indistinguishable at day 28.
Conclusions: Clinical, spectroscopic and histological similarities of acne-induced and TCA-induced PIH at day 28 suggest that TCA-induced PIH can be a reproducible model for the study of acne-induced PIH.
© 2015 British Association of Dermatologists.