If you’re frustrated with those darker skin patches, fret no more, here is a guide to hyperpigmentation treatments which covers everything you need to remove that unwanted skin pigmentation for good.
Click on a link to learn more about the different causes of hyperpigmentation.
Click on a link to learn more about hyperpigmentation treatments.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a common skin condition, with over 90 percent of sufferers being women. It is also known as “the mask of pregnancy” as it commonly occurs among pregnant women. The condition can be caused by sun exposure, but this is relatively rare. The main cause of melasma are the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy, they are a by product of the large amounts of estrogen and progesterone produced during this time. The patches will often appear on the forehead, cheekbones, chin and nose.
While sun exposure and hormonal changes are the two most common causes of melasma, you can be genetically prone to suffering from the condition.
How to Prevent Melasma
Although there is no effective way to prevent the hormonal side effects of pregnancy, melasma can sometimes be caused by sun exposure. A sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is the best thing to use, and because irritating the skin can aggravate melasma, it’s best to use the mildest products possible.
How to Treat Melasma
Melasma can often fade on its own, especially when its cause ends, such as use of oral contraceptive and pregnancy. However, there are women who want a faster way to get rid of the darker patches of skin. Below are a couple of treatment options.
When topical medications don’t work, dermatologists can recommend in-house hyperpigmentation treatments that include microdermabrasion and chemical peels. These procedures slough off the skin’s top layers. However, it should be noted that irritation may cause more hyperpigmentation on the skin.
You can treat melasma with topical medications that are formulated to lighten the skin. These include medications that contain kojic acid or azelaic acid.
What Are Age Spots?
Age spots are referred to as even, gray-black, sometimes brown spots which occur on the skin surface as a result of exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun. They can also be referred to as liver spots, solar lentigines, sun spots or senile lentigo.
The spots will more often than not appear on your face, shoulders, upper section of your back and forearms as well as at the back of your hands.
How do I Prevent Age Spots?
While there is no way to completely avoid exposure to the sun, according to extensive research on age spots and their prevention, dermatologists recommend that you at least try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. as this is the period when the sun’s rays are most extreme.
Make Sun Screen Your Friend
Sun screen has proven to be effective in preventing harmful sun rays which contain Ultra Violet Radiation associated with severe skin conditions such as skin cancer. It is recommended that you apply sun screen every day to protect you from such UVB and UVA exposure.
Stop by your medical practice to get a complete analysis and medical checkup for age spots and other skin-related conditions that may concern you.
How to Get Rid of Age Spots
It is worth noting that age spots have no detrimental effects to your overall health. Nevertheless, for people looking to rid themselves of age spots, these are some of the methods you can try.
There are some medical procedures that can be recommended in the event that your age spots are severe. Such non-invasive medical procedures include laser treatments, dermabrasion, cryosurgery and chemical peels.
There are many home remedies you can try for age spots, see the main menu for details. A professional dermatologist can recommend various creams which contain hydroquinone, glycolic acid, kojic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid and deoxyarbutin. More about hyperpigmentation creams can be found in the main menu at the top of the page.
What Causes Freckles?
Freckles are the most common and well known of all the different types of hyperpigmentation. Caused by exposure to strong sunlight, freckles are small brown pigmented spots which will usually formulate around the nose, under the eyes and on the cheeks, but will appear on any part of the skin which is exposed to the sun. They appear on fair skinned people, and notably more prominent on people with red hair.
Freckles can vary in severity from just a few across the nose to almost a complete covering of the skin when exposed to strong sunlight.
When it comes to freckles, the best course of action is prevention. Most dermatologists would try and steer you away from removal of freckles as they will just reappear. Fair skin prone to freckles is very sensitive, so a heavy duty sunscreen is the best answer.
Fade Freckles With Natural Creams
Try and avoid artificial substances, natural products are going to get the best results and offer the least irritation to your skin. Find out more on natural pigment creams from the main menu.
Sun Damaged Skin
Most people enjoy the sun and the benefits it can bring, unfortunately, although the sun has many healing and positive effects, too much exposure can be extremely detrimental to your skin.
How Sun Damaged Skin Occurs
If you spend too long in the sun, the UV rays from the sun dry up the natural oils on the skin, leaving your skin dry. As you keep exposing the skin to the sun, the collagen, which is responsible for keeping the skin firm and elastic, is also damaged. As a result, you will start getting wrinkles, fine lines, and generally age the skin quicker.
Preventing Sun Damaged Skin
With proper skin care, you will not only protect your skin, but you can stop and often reverse sun damage. As always, prevention is always better than cure, this doesn’t mean that you should never sunbathe or step out in the sun; all you need to do is take some precautions. Here are some preventative measures for protecting against UV rays.
• Sunscreen: There are so many different types of sunscreen lotions that you can use to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun. You should continue to use sunscreen, even during winter and cover areas that may be vulnerable like the face, hands, and legs.
• Clothing and Accessories: When stepping out into strong sun, wear sunglasses, full-sleeved tops, and hats with a wide brim.
• Exfoliation: Make it a regular habit to exfoliate, which helps in removing dead skin cells. This will make your skin appear smooth and have an even skin colour.
In the event of severe sun damaged skin always see a doctor or pharmacist for professional advice.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Finally, your acne is starting to clear up, and the quality of your skin is gradually improving. However, you have noticed that there is an obvious discoloration, particularly on the healed acne lesion. This particular pigmentation is known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is a condition that presents after an inflammatory episode of the skin, it can also develop on the body as well as on the face.
What Causes Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?
There are a number of causes of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the main culprit being acne vulgaris, but it can also effect sufferers of atopic dermatitis, lupus erthematosus, and lichen planus. It can also be caused by phototoxic eruption, mechanical injury, drug reaction, allergic reaction and skin infections.
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can also develop after a skin treatment that utilises electromagnetic devices like microdermabrasion, visible light, laser, ultrasound, LED and radiofrequency.
Treatments For Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Topical treatments are a popular way of treating post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Most of these products contain one, or a combination of – azelaic acid, glycolic acid, corticosteroids, tretinoin, and hydroquinone. The majority work well in treating hyperpigmentation by improving the complexion, but if you want to achieve a better result, it is highly recommended to combine it with something like a glycolic natural peel and topical gels.
Remember, while treating post inflammatory hyperpigmentation it is imperative to use a sun screen protection (SPF 20 and above) as a part of your daily regime.
Discoloration of the Skin
Most skin discolorations are cosmetic and usually do not affect your overall health. In most cases you can treat skin discolorations at home because there are many products on the market that you can use. Before you pick a product to use, you need to know what type of discoloration that you have.
What Are Skin Discolorations?
The skin’s colour is determined by the pigment that is found inside of the skin cell. Skin discolorations happen when the amount of pigment is too weak or too strong. An example is freckles, as these are areas of skin that have high amounts of pigment causing the darker colour.
Skin discolorations are divided into two groups, Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation causes skin discolorations that are darker in colour i.e. dark patches and dark spots on the skin. Hyperpigmentation is a high concentration of skin pigment called melanin in a specific area, which is used to protect the skin from the sun. However, the body can increase melanin levels for a variety of reasons, this is the more common of the two types of skin discoloration.
Hypopigmentation is the opposite of hyperpigmentation and causes patches of skin to become lighter. Albinoism is the most extreme hypopigmentation condition and occurs when the body does not produce any skin pigment. Tinea Versicolor and Vitiligo are two other hypopigmentation conditions.
Treatments For Skin Discoloration.
Most skin discolorations can be treated and are generally harmless. There are many products on the market to help treat darker areas of skin, such as natural peels and treatments like microdermabrasion that can greatly improve the look of your skin.
Skin discolorations are common, and most are not an issue for your overall health, its just a case of finding a product or treatment that works for you.
Laser for Hyperpigmentation
The skin is an amazing organ, and has incredible regenerative capabilities, but unfotunately there are quite a few things that can leave a mark on your face. There a number of hyperpigmentation treatments that can work, let’s take a look at one of those options – laser.
How Does It Work?
There are a few different laser hyperpigmentation treatments such as carbon dioxide laser treatment, fractional laser treatment, and erbium and pixilation treatments, but by far the most common is IPL (Advanced Intense Pulsed Light Therapy). Heated light pulses are fired at the skin to eliminate dark skin cells. Scabs will then form and fresh skin will regenerate underneath. There is a slight discomfort which is going to be caused after the procedure, but this is perfectly tolerable without any pain medication.
How Much Does Laser Treatment Cost?
Depending on the severity of your case a number of treatments is usually needed, usually between 5 and 10 visits. Laser treatment can be successful but it’s definitely not the cheapest option. Average costs are around $150 per session, but clinic prices can vary considerably. Before opting for laser treatment be sure to choose a well established laser practioner with plenty of experience and good feedback from previous customers.
For a more indepth look at laser hyperpigmentation treatments try this article from The National Library of Medecine.
Microdermabrasion For Hyperpigmentation
As a much less costly alternative to laser treatment, one of the most effective hyperpigmentation treatments is microdermabrasion.
What Is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion has been nicknamed the “lunchtime peel” due to the speed of the treatment. A small handheld instrument will fire aluminium oxide particles across the surface of the skin, the same instrument will then remove the dead skin cells leaving your skin refreshed. Sloughing off the dead skin cells and increasing your collagen production, the procedure will not only restore your clear complexion, but it will give you a youthful glow while rejuvenating the treated area.
What Does It Treat?
Whether you have minor skin issues or you just want to improve the appearance of your skin, microdermabrasion is a good option. Microdermabrasion treats a variety of skin issues such as mild acne scars, clogged pores, discoloration, enlarged pores, poor skin texture and fine lines among others.
Although the treatment doesn’t take much time, up to around 3 visits may be recommended.
How Much Does Microdermabrasion Cost?
Treatments can range from $85 and $180 per treatment depending on your choice of clinic or beauty spa. Obviously do your research and choose a practitioner with a good track record of this procedure.
Home Microdermabrasion Kits
If you which to try microdermabrasion for yourself, there a number of home microdermabrasion kits available that can give excellent results.
Whatever the condition of your skin you can reduce skin issues with microdermabrasion. The treatment leaves each skin type with a healthy radiant glow.
Home Acid Peels
The mere phrase “acid peel” is enough to put off many from trying this hyperpigmentation treatment, but happily most peels are derived from natural substances, and if used correctly can have excellent results.
Glycolic Acid Peels
A Glycolic acid peel is derived from the sugar cane plant and probably the most commonly used facial peel. You can buy glycolic acid peels in varying strength levels, with the stronger solutions giving a deeper peel. When you first start out, try a mild peel such as a 25% solution which is a agreeable to almost all skin types, and step up the strength should you need to and your skin tolerates the peel well.
Salicylic Acid Peels
Salicylic acid is another natural acid derived from willow tree bark. It’s found in many cosmetics, usually in anti aging creams. Salicylic acid peels are excellent for oily skin and also if you are prone to outbreaks of acne. This home acid peel will clear blocked pores and thoroughly exfoliate the skin.
TCA peels (Trichloroacetic Acid) should be used with caution as they are extremely strong. The results can be amazing but they are only recommended for use by those who are experienced in using home acid peels.
Kojic Acid Peel
Kojic acid is created during the fermenting process of rice to make Sake, the well known Japanese alcoholic drink. It is used in many skin creams due to its excellent skin lightening properties. A Kojic acid peel will effectively fade hyperpigmentation and other dark spots on the skin.
If used properly, home acid peels can be a very effective treatment for hyperpigmentation, often a top choice for cases of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (acne scars).
Creams are a great way of reducing dark spots and probably the most affordable of hyperpigmentation treatments.
There are a huge amount of gels and creams available, and choosing something to suit your skin tone and type of pigmentation problem can be a little daunting. To help you, the table below is a ranking compilation of 5 of the most popular creams.
Top 5 Hyperpigmentation Creams
Meladerm by Civant Skin Care is the market leader in hyperpigmentation cream, and has been for almost a decade. Meladerm is a 100% natural cream with no hydroquinone.
|#2||Pond's Correcting Cream, Clarant B3 Dark Spot Corrector
Pond's Correcting Cream is a very popular product for treating hyperpigmentation. Formulated for different skin types, moisturising and hypoallergenic this cream claims to reduce dark spots in 4 weeks.
|#3||PCA Skin Pigment Gel
PCA Skin Pigment Gel is a great choice for lightening hyperpigmentation. The gel does contain hydroquinone, but to the company's credit they have produced a chemical free version called
PCA Skin HQ Free Pigment Gel.
|#4||Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector
Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector contains accelerated retinol SA which will help to get rid of dark spots on the skin. A well established company with a great track record in skin care.
|#5||InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum
InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum is packed full of powerful natural ingredients which help to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin. A great product for a very resonable price.
As with all topical treatments, it is just a case of finding something that works for your skin.
Home Remedies For Hyperpigmentation
If you want to attempt the organic approach there are a fair number of home remedies you can use as hyperpigmentation treatments. Some people do have a good degree of success, but as with all home remedies, everything is trial and error. Here are a handful of remedies to try.
Sugar is a good home remedy for skin tone due to its exfoliating properties. It has the capacity to eliminate the flaky and dead skin and encourage the production of new skin cells. It is relatively simple to create a sugar paste; simply mix the granules of the sugar in a tiny amount of water. Combine the sugar paste with a face cream and rub it gently on your face especially on the part that has discoloration. Rinse with warm water.
Lemon has long been known for its anti bacterial properties, and also for its ability to bleach. Dab neat lemon juice on the darker skin spots, then rinse off after a few minutes. If you have sensitive skin, try mixing the lemon juice with a little organic yogurt.
Just like sugar, baking soda is an excellent exfoliating agent, it’s very mild but will remove dry and damaged skin. Add rosewater to at least 1tsp of baking soda to make a paste. Apply it to your face while massaging your skin in a circular motion. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before massaging your face again using your fingertips for at least 2 minutes. Rinse it with lukewarm water.
Yogurt is great for skin pigmentation and will give your skin a vibrant glow, it will not only exfoliate the dead and dry skin, but it also has lightening properties ideal for treating hyperpigmentation. Make sure that you only use natural, colourless and flavourless yogurt. Scoop a tablespoon of the yogurt, beat it well before mixing a little water into it. Apply to the neck and face and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse afterwards with lukewarm water.
Mix a handful of cooked oatmeal with some natural yogurt, add a tablespoonful of honey and mix well. Apply to the face and leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse off with warm water.