Human skin contains melanocytes (pigment cells) that produce melanin, the chemical that gives skin its color. Too much melanin causes hyperpigmented skin, a typical symptom of which is freckles or age spots. Hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of sun exposure, skin injury, or as a side effect of certain medications. Although not a serious condition, treatment is often required for cosmetic reasons.
determination of the cause
Learn about the different types of hyperpigmentation. By getting to know the types of hyperpigmentation, you will gain a better understanding of how to identify the real cause, apply the right treatment, and get concrete ideas on how to make the right lifestyle changes to prevent further discoloration of your skin. Note that hyperpigmentation can appear not only on the face. There are three types of hyperpigmentation:
melasma . This type of hyperpigmentation is caused by hormonal changes and usually occurs during pregnancy. It can also be associated with thyroid dysfunction and as a side effect of birth control pills or hormone treatments. This is a very difficult form of hyperpigmentation to treat.
lentigos . Also known as liver spots or age spots. They occur in 90% of people over the age of 60 and are caused by exposure to harmful UV rays of the skin.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation . It is usually caused by a skin injury such as a burn, psoriasis, acne, or applying some medication to the skin. After healing and regeneration, the skin usually disappears completely.
Consult your condition with a dermatologist. See a dermatologist and diagnose the specific type of hyperpigmentation on your skin. Your doctor will first ask you some questions about your lifestyle and medical history, and then examine your skin with a magnifying light. Expect your doctor to ask you the following questions as part of your condition:
How often do you go to the solarium? How often do you use sunscreen? How often are you exposed to the sun?
How is your current health condition? Have you had any health problems in the past?
Are you or have you recently become pregnant? Are you currently taking or have you recently taken birth control pills? Has hormone therapy been done?
What drugs are you taking?
What plastic surgery or skin care have you had?
Did you use sunscreen when you were young?
Choose the right treatment
Get prescription drugs. These products contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids that cleanse and rejuvenate the skin. Hence they are very helpful in treating all types of hyperpigmentation. The following is a list of possible medications for topical use:
hydroquinone . One of the most commonly used reagents. The only skin lightening treatment approved by the US FDA.
kojic acid . This acid is an extract from certain mushrooms and works in a similar way to hydroquinine.
azelaic acid . Developed to treat acne but proven to be very effective in treating hyperpigmentation.
mandelic acid . Derived from almonds, it is used to treat all types of hyperpigmentation.
Consider undergoing non-ablative professional intervention. If over-the-counter medications don’t work for you, your dermatologist may recommend a procedure to treat your hyperpigmentation. The available options include the following:
Exfoliating products, including those based on salicylic acid. It heals dark areas of skin and is used when other surface treatments have failed.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy. This method selectively affects only dark spots. Pulse therapy devices can only be used by trained specialists and are subject to strict controls.
Laser resurfacing of skin.
Visit a salon and do a microdermal abrasion. This is a very popular procedure for patients with hyperpigmentation. Find an experienced professional; Sanding can irritate the skin and make the discoloration worse. You shouldn’t undergo microdermal abrasions too often as your skin takes a lot of time to regenerate between sessions.
Treat hyperpigmentation with over-the-counter medications. If you want to get rid of hyperpigmentation without getting prescription drugs, check out one of these options:
Skin lightening cream. These products work by slowing down melanin production and removing existing melanin from the skin. Look for products with a combination of these ingredients: hydroquinine, soy milk, cucumber, kojic acid, calcium, azelaic acid, or arbutin.
Surface products containing Retin-A or Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
Try home treatment methods. Apply any of the following to lighten dark skin areas:
wild rose oil
Sliced or grated cucumber (or cucumber juice)
Prevention of further hyperpigmentation
Limit exposure to sunlight and UV rays. UV exposure is one of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation. While limiting the effects of this radiation on your skin won’t cure your hyperpigmentation, you will prevent it from getting worse.
Always use sunscreen. Wear a hat or cap and long sleeves in strong direct sunlight.
Don’t go to the solarium.
Limit your time outdoors. don’t tan
Remember your medication. In most cases, you won’t stop a certain medication just because it causes hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a common side effect of contraceptives and other hormone-containing medications. However, switching to a new drug or stopping an existing medication should be considered with caution.
Be careful when treating your skin problems. Hyperpigmentation is often caused by skin damage, which can be caused, for example, by plastic surgery or other professional procedures. Therefore, before undergoing such a treatment, you should do a thorough research and find out all the pros and cons. At the same time, make sure that your doctor or a similar professional is highly experienced.