What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the name given to patches of skin that are darker than your skin tone. Dark spots are caused by your body producing too much melanin, the brown pigment. Overproduction of melanin, or excess melanin, can lead to one of these four main types of hyperpigmentation: melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun damage, or medical conditions.
Melasma is a common condition in women who use birth control pills or who are pregnant. Facial skin pigmentation or brown spots on the skin usually appear on the cheeks, forehead, nose, upper lip, and chin.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the most temporary form of the condition and is a reaction to some injury your skin has experienced. These “injuries” that cause hyperpigmentation include acne, infections, waxing, laser treatments, and chemical peels. Usually, these hyperpigmentation spots, caused by skin damage, disappear on their own within two months.
Sun damage is exactly what it sounds like. Dark spots caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Sunspots, which look like brown spots, usually appear on the face, chest, or arms, and are more common with age due to increased exposure to the sun throughout the year.
The latter type of hyperpigmentation can be caused by a condition known as Addison’s disease. This disease is a disorder of the adrenal glands that causes an overproduction of melanin, resulting in dark spots or dark skin.
The best ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation
The good news is that there are several options for neutralizing excess melanin production and getting rid of hyperpigmentation. All types of hyperpigmentation that make up dark skin can be bleached back to your skin tone.
The first option to even out your skin tone is to use whitening products for this skin condition. When making this purchase, be sure to choose a product that contains moisturizing ingredients to avoid drying out the skin. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin accelerate skin cell growth, restore the skin’s lipid barrier, and protect against the sun’s rays.
Skin care cosmetics
Kojic acid: the best treatment for hyperpigmentation and is more effective when combined with hydroquinone and glycolic acid. Kojic acid works by blocking the production of excess melanin.
Vitamin A products: These contain retinol and tretinoin, which help rejuvenate the skin and promote cell turnover.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid: Exfoliates dead skin cells and smoothes the skin. Alpha hydroxy acid evens skin tone and improves cell turnover.
The second step to healing hyperpigmentation is to avoid picking, touching, or pulling on your skin. Picking at the skin can further damage and inflame the discolored area. The more you touch, the deeper the pigmentation marks will penetrate your skin and the harder it will be to remove.
If over-the-counter creams don’t help with hyperpigmentation, consider seeing a dermatologist and getting a skin medication. Due to its ability to slow down the production of pigmentation and fade dark spots, prescription strength hydroquinone is the most commonly used product. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions because overdosing on hydroquinone can cause sun sensitivity or skin bleaching.
Sometimes topical creams may not work as well or as quickly as expected. In this case, turning to skin color therapy is the fastest way to get rid of hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels, laser treatments, microdermabrasion or dermabrasion are similar treatments for hyperpigmentation. These procedures help gently remove the top layer of skin where dark spots are present. After healing, dark spots or pigmented spots will lighten and skin tone will be even.