Many people get small dark spots as they age due to sun exposure but some people develop discoloration in patches on their face. This condition in which dark discolored patches appear on the skin is known as hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation occurs when the pigment in the skin, which is known as melanin, forms deposits. This condition can be found in anyone irrespective of their skin color.
But, don’t worry as it can be treated with some effective treatment options. Before we move onto treatments, lets find out the factors that cause hyperpigmentation first.
Factors Causing Hyper-pigmentation
There are various factors which contribute to hyperpigmentation and some of them are;
- Sun damage. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause the skin to produce more malanocytes which cause liver spots or age spots. Prescription drugs which make the skin sensitive to the sun are sometimes also the reason behind hyperpigmentation.
- Heredity. Hyperpigmentation can be hereditary especially in cases such as melasma. Melasma is a skin condition which causes brown or grey-brown patches on the skin on areas such as the cheeks, forehead, nose, upper lip and chin. It is more common in women than men and occurs mostly to people of darker skin color.
- Skin Irritation. Hyperpigmentation may affect dark skinned individuals after an episode of acne or psoriasis. Some skin products may cause irritation to the skin, causing it to produce more melanin leading to dark patches.
- Hormonal changes. Hormone changes particularly in women can stimulate more melanin production. When this happens during pregnancy it is called ‘’the mask of pregnancy’’ as it causes dark patches on the body and face. Birth control pills can also cause these changes in the skin.
Hyperpigmentation is not a dangerous skin condition and there are some cosmetic procedures which can actually help in treating it. These cosmetic procedures also help in skin rejuvenation too.
Some of the treatment options for hyperpigmentation include;
- Intense Pulse Light Therapy ( IPL)
- Laser Peel (skin resurfacing)
- Chemical peel
Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL)
IPL therapy also known as a photofacial is a non-ablative (fractional) laser treatment. It helps in the stimulation of collagen production in the skin. Flat spots respond better to IPL treatment although it is used for overall pigmentation issues. It works best for fair skinned people. This treatment requires multiple sessions.
Microdermabrasion is a procedure that treats hyperpigmentation which affects only the epidermis. A handheld drill-like tool with an abrasive attachment is used during the procedure. It gently and rapidly removes the epidermis and multiple sessions are required to achieve the optimal results.
This type of treatment works best on superficial scars and on fair skinned people.
Dermabrasion works the same way as microdermabrasion. The only difference is that it goes to a deeper level of the skin which is the dermis. Dermabrasion mainly addresses skin texture issues such as age spots, acne scars, injury scars, chickenpox scars, and sun damage. It is also used to smooth out wrinkles. During the procedure the top part of the dermis and the entire part of the epidermis is removed rather gently and rapidly.
It decreases hyperpigmentation faster that microdermabrasion.
Laser Peel (Skin Resurfacing)
A laser peel which is also a skin resurfacing treatment helps in getting rid of hyperpigmentation through targeted beams of light.
There are two types of lasers and both can be used. The ablative laser and the non-ablative laser.
The ablative laser is more intense and stronger and it removes layers of your skin. It also has more side effects.
The non-ablative laser only targets the dermis in order to help in collagen production and skin tightening.
Both lasers however help in the growth of new skin cells, tightening and toning of the skin.
A chemical peel reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation by the use of concentration of acids to remove the epidermis. For more dramatic effects stronger concentrations of acids may be used to penetrate the skin at a deeper level. It is always best to consult with your dermatologist beforehand to know which kind of chemical peel is best for your skin.
Hyperpigmentation is a treatable condition. Enlisted above are some of the common treatments used to cure this skin condition. However, always consult with a qualified dermatologist before undergoing any cosmetic procedure. You can take guidance from our skincare and laser experts. They will suggest you the best possible treatment after examining your skin. Moreover, we offer free initial consultation to all our patients. So, book your appointment now.