What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition occurring when patches of skin become darker than your usual skin tone due to excess melanin deposits forming in the skin. Hyperpigmentation is very common, usually harmless and can affect both genders and all skin types. It can however have a massive impact on a person’s confidence, especially if it presents itself on the face. The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to avoid it and a number of ways to reduce it.
What types of hyperpigmentation are there?
- Sun exposure – Frequent sun exposure can cause ‘sun spots/age spots’.
- Skin trauma – cuts, scrapes, acne, eczema, bug bites etc can leave behind a dark spot after they have healed.
- Melasma – often referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, melasma is mainly seen in women but can also occur in men. The cause is a combination of sun exposure, genetics and hormonal changes.
- Medicines and medical conditions – Addison’s disease and adrenal gland disorder can increase melanin production as well as some medicines.
Treatments for hyperpigmentation
There are a number of treatment options available that help with hyperpigmentation:
- Topical lightening creams – OTC creams that contain hydroquinone, vitamin b-3 or liquorice extract work by lightening the darker areas on the skin;
- Face acids – Work by exfoliating the skin; ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic, lactic, citric, malic or tartaic acid. Also; azelaic, kojic and salicylic acid and vitamin c (as ascorbic acid).
- Chemical peels – There are lots of differing strength chemical peels available, depending on the severity of the hyperpigmentation. Always see a practitioner for your chemical peels.
- Laser peel – There are two types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers are the most intense, and they involve removing layers of your skin. Non-ablative procedures, on the other hand, target the dermis to promote collagen growth.
- Retinoids – Derived from vitamin A, they can penetrate deeper in the skin. OTC are available, although may not be as effective as prescription strength.
- IPL laser – Intense pulsed light laser emits light waves. The light waves are absorbed by the melanin in the skin. This causes the melanin to break down naturally making them less visible.
- Microdermabrasion and dermabrasion – Used to treat the epidermis, a few courses of microdermabrasion will be needed to get your skin back to an even tone.
- Sun screen – Sunscreen is the single most important factor in improving most causes of hyperpigmentation. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen, with a minimum SPF 30, daily, repeating where necessary. This will help ward off ‘sun/age spots’ and if you already have hyperpigmentation this will stop it getting worse.
In conclusion some types of hyperpigmentation can be avoided and there are various treatments for all. To watch our Instagram live on hyperpigmentation click here.