Your Guide to Hyperpigmentation and Its Treatment Options
Dark spots on the skin can be quite unbearable. These dark spots can also be inescapable as the forces that cause them. That’s why some people have resolved that it is impossible to remove them, so they embrace them. They simply apply a tinted cream, and they go on with their day.
However, for those who are bothered by them, there is pigmentation treatment that can help resolve the issue. Dark spots (hyperpigmentation) can be a challenging issue that might not get resolved on its own.
Hyperpigmentation: What Is It?
The patches of skin that are darker than your natural skin tone due to the overproduction of melanin; in medical terms, the darker patches of skin are known as hyperpigmentation. As stubborn as hyperpigmentation is, it is quite a common condition.
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that affects people of all skin types. Depending on the cause, hyperpigmentation will affect different parts of the body. If it is caused by sun exposure, then expect the areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, legs, and arms, to have darker patches.
Typically, having extra pigment in some parts of your skin is not life-threatening, but it is best to get it checked by our dermatologist. At times, the excess pigment can be a sign of an underlying problem.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
To understand hyperpigmentation, you need to know how the skin is designed. Your skin actually recognizes when it’s getting exposed to sunlight.
Your skin responds to light because it has light-sensing proteins (opsins) similar to those in your eyes. Melanin, the pigment that gives skin, eyes, and hair their color, absorbs the light. Darker-skinned people have more melanin than light-skinned people.
Freckles are also concentrated areas of excess melanin production. Melanin is not your enemy, in fact, it helps protect your skin from UV, and it also has antioxidant properties.
Any of the following can cause the increased production of melanin:
Skin trauma such as eczema, acne, cuts, bites, or even scratching can cause inflammation. Your body responds by sending pigment-producing cells into overdrive, leaving dark spots after your injury has healed.
- Sun Exposure
When your skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays, your skin responds by producing extra melanin to protect it. You might get a tan because of the exposure to the sun. However, if you are overexposed to the sun, you can develop dark “sun” spots.
The spots are not cancerous, but overexposure can lead to the development of precancerous blemishes. This is why you should have yearly visits to the dermatologist to get your skin checked.
Also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma is common in pregnant women. It mostly affects women, but it is known to occur in men as well. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetics, sun exposure, and hormonal changes.
- Medication and Medical Conditions
An adrenal gland disorder known as Addison’s disease, is also known to cause hyperpigmentation. Even some antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs can cause excess production of melanin.
How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation
Pigmentation treatment will vary depending on the severity of your condition. For this reason, it is best to consult with our dermatologist to get a customized treatment plan. However, here are some treatment options:
- Chemical Peel
Our dermatologist will apply a chemical agent on your skin, which destroys your entire dermis and, at times, also the underlying dermis. This causes the skin to shed or remove the surface lesions.
In turn, the skin and deeper tissue will regenerate. This is an excellent treatment for melasma because the chemical agent causes a controlled chemical burn.
- Laser Treatment
If chemical peel does not appeal to you, then laser treatment might. The only tricky part when using laser treatment is the type of device. This is because, at times, the dark spots can be on the surface and others deeper. The right device will ensure that you remove all of them.
The laser will emit energy aimed at the specific spot and then shutters it. A specialist is best suited to do this because too much heat can result in more hyperpigmentation.
- Prescription Creams
Most creams will have a compound known as hydroquinone, which usually lightens the darker patches. It slows down the production of melanin, allowing the patches of skin to match the rest of your skin.
Prescription bleaches have twice the amount of hydroquinone as compared to prescription creams. Bear in mind that these creams can be irritating to sensitive skin and can take up to six months to see some improvement.
Hyperpigmentation is not life-threatening; it is quite harmless. However, for you to get the desired results, you should get advice from our doctor. You can contact our doctor at Creative Medspa, who would love to answer all your questions.