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Understanding Hyperpigmentation


If you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, you aren’t alone. Hyperpigmentation is a very common skin condition, and there are a wide variety of different treatment options available depending on your skin type (tone).

Let's start with what is Hyperpigmentation? Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of your skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin (these darker areas can develop just about anywhere on your body; including your face, chest, hands, arms, legs...)


This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin color of people of any race.

Age or "liver" spots are a common form of hyperpigmentation. They occur due to sun damage and are referred to by doctors as solar lentigines. These small, darkened patches are usually found on the hands and face or other areas frequently exposed to the sun. Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the face and arms.

Freckles, age spots, and other darkened skin patches can become darker or more pronounced when skin is exposed to the sun. This happens because melanin absorbs the energy of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays in order to protect the skin from overexposure. The usual result of this process is skin tanning, which tends to darken areas that are already hyper-pigmented.


WEARING A SUNSCREEN IS A MUST!

The sunscreen must be "broad spectrum" (i.e. it blocks both UVA and UVB)!!!!


IMPORTANT!!!!

I can not stress this point enough, a single day of excess sun can undo months of treatment.

Hyperpigmentation Treatments Available:

  • Lightening Creams

  • Facial Acids

  • Retinoids

  • Chemical Peels

  • Laser Peels (skin resurfacing)

  • Intense pulse light therapy (IPL)

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Dermaplaning

Skin Type / Tone and Treatment Options:

Fair Skin

  • Fair skin responds well to most hyperpigmentation procedures

Medium Skin Tones may find the following options helpful:

  • Chemical peels

  • Microdermabrasion

Darker Skin might benefit from:

  • Glycolic acid

  • Kojic acid

  • OTC lightening creams

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Lower-strength chemical peels

  • Laser treatments, but only when used at lower intensities over a larger number of sessions

NOTE: The following might be off limits if you tan easily or have darker skin:

  • High-beam lasers

  • IPL therapy

Skin pigmentation article resource >


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