When it comes to skin hyperpigmentation treatments, there are too many options available today and it can be difficult to know where to start.
What products should you choose? What ingredients should you look for? What treatments are available? And most importantly, which methods will get rid of dark spots for good?
This article defines hyperpigmentation and explains what causes them. We also look at how you can help prevent hyperpigmentation in the first place, as well as the different treatment options available to reduce dark spots once they have formed.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a term used to describe patches of skin that are darker compared to its normal surrounding skin. It occurs when the skin produces more melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that affects people of all skin types.
There are different types of hyperpigmentation, all of which have different causes. For instance, some forms of hyperpigmentation such as sunspots and melasma are more likely to affect areas of the skin that face sun exposure, including the face, arms, and legs. Other types of hyperpigmentation can form after an injury or inflammation of the skin, such as cuts, acne, or burns. These can occur anywhere on the body.
Treating and Preventing Hyperpigmentation: What You Can Do
If you are dealing with hyperpigmentation, know that you are not alone. It is a common skin condition that can affect people of any race, age, and gender. Fortunately, there are a number of natural products and treatment options that you can try out today.
Keep reading to learn more about your treatment and prevention options.
- Vitamin C
Think beyond orange juice and the immune-boosting benefits of Vitamin C – while it is good for your overall health, it is also a powerful skincare tool. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that can block free radicals, therefore protecting the skin from oxidative damage which often results in wrinkles and dry skin.
Moreover, Vitamin C inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase that produces melanin in the skin, thus helping to reduce dark spots. You can get plenty of Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, including oranges, cauliflower, grapefruit, capsicums, and more. You can also take Vitamin C supplements to boost your vitamin intake.
Licorice extracts may lighten hyperpigmentation. Research shows that a licorice extract known as glabridin can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin-whitening effects. So, when you are looking for skincare products, look for those with glabridin as part of its ingredients. Products containing glabridin are widely available online and at drug stores.
Hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent that can be used to darkened areas of skin, such as age spots, melasma, and freckles. This medication works by decreasing the formation of melanin in the skin. When used topically, it can cause your skin to lighten in color. Generally, hydroquinone is widely used as a scar treatment. When applied topically, it can cause darkened scars to lose some or all of their extra pigmentation, causing them to match the color of the surrounding skin. It can also be used to treat skin hyperpigmentation caused by UV exposure and inflammation. Topical hydroquinone creams are available as prescription medication to treat pigmentation-related skin conditions. You can also purchase limited strength hydroquinone as an OTC medicine in most pharmacies.
- Advanced Treatment Options
If natural products and topical solutions are not effective, talk to your dermatologist about advanced treatment options. Some advanced treatment options for hyperpigmentation include laser peels, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion.
Preventing Future Skin Damage
The most effective way to prevent sun-induced skin discoloration is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30. Apply it every day, even on cool or cloudy days. However, take note that SPF only protects you from UVB short-wave rays. To also be protected from UVA long-wave rays, the CDC recommends choosing products that contain avobenzone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Mexoryl, or Parsol 1789.
Also, make sure to choose gentle skincare products that don’t burn or sting your skin, as irritation can worsen hyperpigmentation, particularly melasma. You should also protect yourself against other common skin-darkening triggers by using bug spray to prevent bites and acne medications to prevent or reduce breakouts.
The Bottom Line
With the many skincare products and treatment options available today, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. And while the items above give you an idea of where to get started, it is best to talk to your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can help you identify the cause of your hyperpigmentation and work with you to develop a suitable treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results.