ContentsSynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferencesInformation for PatientsView all Images (11)
Postinflammatory hypopigmentation in Infant/Neonate
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Postinflammatory hypopigmentation in Infant/Neonate

Contributors: Elyse M. Love MD, Steven M. Nwe DO, Oyetewa Oyerinde MD, Callyn Iwuala BA, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Postinflammatory hypopigmentation is the presence of partial or total loss of pigmentation that occurs after resolution of cutaneous inflammation or after trauma.

Postinflammatory hypopigmentation can occur in patients of all ages, sexes, and skin types, and is more visibly pronounced in those with darker skin phototypes. It can be seen as a sequela of many inflammatory skin diseases (atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, lichen striatus, pityriasis lichenoides chronica, lichen planus, sarcoidosis, discoid lupus erythematosus), infections (zoster, pityriasis versicolor, impetigo), procedures (chemical peels, laser, dermabrasion), and burns.

Time to resolution of hypopigmentation is dependent on the underlying cause and severity of inflammation, ranging from a few weeks in minimally hypopigmented lesions to several years in depigmented lesions (eg, discoid lupus erythematosus and burns).

Related topic: Drug-induced hypopigmentation


L81.9 – Disorder of pigmentation, unspecified

277787003 – Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Differential diagnosis for hypopigmented lesions include:
  • Pityriasis alba – Scaly, oval, ill-defined macules and patches with mild hypopigmentation; more common in children.
  • Progressive macular hypomelanosis – Punctiform red fluorescence under Wood's lamp.
  • Pityriasis versicolor – Coppery orange under Wood's lamp; potassium hydroxide (KOH) prep of scale shows a characteristic "spaghetti and meatballs" appearance.
  • Leprosy – Associated with hypoesthesia.
  • Mycosis fungoides – Early-stage variant involving hypopigmentation on the trunk and extremities that may be pruritic.
  • Scleroderma – Circumscribed hypopigmentation with perifollicular pigment retention.
  • Eruptive hypomelanosis – Acute onset of symmetric, monomorphic, hypopigmented macules with or without fine scaling. Usually preceded by viral prodrome and spontaneously resolves within 2-8 weeks.
  • Medication – Particularly high-potency topical and intralesional corticosteroids.
  • Chronic arsenic exposure – Hypopigmented lesions resemble idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis presentation but are scattered on a hyperpigmented base.
  • Lichen striatus
Differential diagnosis for depigmented lesions include:

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:12/13/2019
Last Updated:12/13/2019
Copyright © 2021 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Postinflammatory hypopigmentation in Infant/Neonate
Postinflammatory hypopigmentation
Clinical image of Postinflammatory hypopigmentation
Copyright © 2021 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.