ZocdocAnswersChemical Burn - Is there a way to even out pigmentation that occurs from a chemical burn?

Question

Chemical Burn - Is there a way to even out pigmentation that occurs from a chemical burn?

Last year I got bad chemical burns on both of my feet from stepping in wet concrete in my sneakers. The burn has completely healed, but I don't like the discoloration that resulted. Is there a way to even out the scars?

Answer

The phenomenon you are describing is called post inflammatory hypopigmentation. Basically what occurs is that in the normal healing process of an infection, burn, or other skin injury, melanocytes or pigment cells are removed from the healing are. Generally this condition improves very slowly over time, often it will require months to years. Sometimes sun exposure can help as it will stimulate the migration of pigment cells back into the area. Some doctors will occasionally prescribe a steroid cream, as there is some evidence that this can help decrease the inflammatory process that results in the loss of pigmentation. However if there is significant scarring, nothing you can do will even out the color, as scar is permanently depigmented. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist is advised.

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