How to Treat Skin Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that makes some areas of the skin darker than others. The skin produces more melanin in the areas where the skin is darker. Hyperpigmentation affects all skin types and happens to skin more during pregnancy, on older skin, or trauma to the skin. 

Types of Hyperpigmentation:

Melasma, also known as “the mask of pregnancy,” can come about in large dark patches during pregnancy or from taking birth control pills. Hyperpigmentation often occurs on the face and affects people with a medium to dark skin tone. 

Liver or Age spots develop as small dark spots on the body where sun exposure is more prominent. This hyperpigmentation primarily affects older, more mature adults. 

Some health conditions and medications can make you more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation looks like dark patches or dark skin that can happen anywhere on the body where a skin trauma occurred and develops after healing from a skin trauma like acne, burns, or other health conditions. Sun exposure after the injury can worsen hyperpigmentation, so it’s essential to wear sunscreen after recovering from these skin traumas. 

How to treat hyperpigmentation

Chemical Peels help to remove surface layers of pigment. 

Laser Therapy is a good option depending on your skin type, for deeper pigmentation that is stubborn.

Micro-needling helps rejuvenate the skin and increase collagen production, which helps to repair your skin.

Topical Treatments

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces melanin production in the skin, which reduces dark spots from forming while lightening existing discoloration in the skin.

Retinoids can be applied topically to speed up cell renewal and lighten the hyperpigmentation spots. Retinoids penetrate deeply into the skin and interfere with pigment production, and will work to rejuvenate the skin. 

Hydroquinone is very effective in treating hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production, but you should speak with your provider to determine if you are a candidate for this option. The risk with hydroquinone is that it can create post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Have a licensed professional determine if hydroquinone is suitable for your skin type. 

kojic acid is an active ingredient derived from mushrooms that inhibits the production of melanin in the skin, lightens dark spots, and brightens the skin. Kojic acid is anti-aging and improves a dull complexion and lightening hyperpigmentation, melasma, and age spots.

Preventing Hyperpigmentation 

Limit your time in the sun and avoid the times when the sun is the strongest. 

Wear SPF daily and frequently reapply, especially if you plan to be in the sun. 

Wear a wide-brimmed hat if you plan to be outside. 

Additional information on preventing hyperpigmentation

If your skin is sensitive, use gentle products that don’t irritate it and make it more prone to hyperpigmentation. 

Try and prevent the hyperpigmentation from forming by being consistent with your skin care products if you are acne prone, as acne scars can turn into hyperpigmentation.

Have insect repellent on hand to prevent scars from bug bites. 

If you are undergoing aggressive peels or skin treatments on your skin, wait for your skin to heal before going on that planned vacation. If you have returned from holiday and been in the sun, wait to get the skin peel done until your skin heals. 

Wear protective clothing to prevent sun damage on the body.

Final thoughts

It’s much easier to prevent hyperpigmentation than to treat it after it has developed. It’s essential to start taking precautions at a young age, but there is always time to change your routine or skin care regimen.

Everyone’s skin is different, and there is no one size fit’s all treatment. 

Discuss your concerns with a licensed professional to find the best treatment option for your skin. 

Have questions? I’m here to help! 


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