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Hyperpigmentation

7 Treatment Options for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a medical term used for dark patches of skin. You can get these patches because of excess melanin production, which might be caused by acne scars and sun damage to hormone fluctuations.

So, if you are dealing with hyperpigmentation, know that you are not alone. It is a common skin condition with a lot of treatment options.

We have mentioned below a few of these useful and effective treatments with long-lasting results:

1. Lightening creams

Lightening creams treatments work with some specific ingredients to help reduce pigmentation. You might find these creams available in stronger prescription forms. You can apply them once or twice a day to help lighten the skin over time. Also, you can easily find them at your local pharmacy. Some of the common ingredients that you might find in these creams include:

  • Hydroquinone
  • Vitamin B-3 (niacinamide)
  • Licorice extract
  • N-acetylglucosamine

Lightening creams can be beneficial for melasma or age spots. Although it is an affordable treatment option, it can take longer than professional treatments.

2. Retinoids (Face cream)

Retinoids contain vitamin A and can penetrate deep into your skin and treating the layers below your epidermis(outermost layer of your skin)

You can find retinoids come in both forms over the counter and prescriptions. But OTC forms are weak, and you won’t see any results for a couple of months. So, talk to your dermatologist about getting a prescribed retinoid.

Usually, OTC retinoids don’t have any side effects, and it is a treatment almost everyone can use. However, if you have darker skin and plan on using it for a long time, consider getting it checked with your dermatologist. Also, retinoids are much better for wrinkle treatment than hyperpigmentation.

3. Chemical Peel

A chemical peel utilizes acids of stronger concentrations to treat the affected area on the skin. By removing the epidermis, they can treat hyperpigmentation of your skin. Some chemical peels have much stronger versions that can penetrate your skin’s middle layer, known as the dermis, giving more effective results.

You can get OTC chemical peels, but if you want quicker results, consider getting a chemical peel from a dermatologist as they are more powerful. However, you might develop some side effects because of intense chemical peels, especially if your skin is susceptible. Talk to your dermatologist thoroughly before deciding to get the treatment.

Chemical peels work best for age spots, sun damage, melasma, and blotchy skin.

4. Laser peel or skin resurfacing

A laser peel treatment uses targeted light beams to minimize hyperpigmentation. There are two types of lasers:

Ablative (intense wavelength of light):  Ablative lasers are very intense used to remove your skin layers and may work best for people with fair skin.

Non-ablative (non-intense wavelength of light): Non-ablative lasers target the dermis to encourage collagen growth and skin tightening effects.

Even though ablative lasers give quicker results, but they might come with side effects. Both these lasers destroy your damaged skin cells and ensure that new skin cells grow back toned and tighter. Your doctor will assess your skin tone to find out which option will work best for you.

5. Intense pulse light therapy (IPL)

IPL therapy is a non-ablative laser treatment, also known as a photo facial, This therapy boosts collagen growth within the dermis and requires multiple sessions for best results.

You can choose IPL for overall pigmentation issues, but flat spots respond best to this treatment. IPL treatment can also help you with the appearance of enlarged pores, spider veins, and wrinkles.

6. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion only affects the epidermis. Your dermatologist will use drill-like handheld equipment with a wire brush or other abrasive equipment attached to the drill. They will use this tool and swipe it across your skin to remove your epidermis quickly and gently. You might require multiple sessions to get the best results.

Microdermabrasion works well on superficial scars. Your dermatologist can help you find out whether this treatment is right for you.

7. Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion also removes your epidermis, but it also affects your dermis. Along with hyperpigmentation, dermabrasion can help you solve your skin texture problems like acne scars and age spots. It can also smooth out your wrinkles.

It is a good option if you want to reduce your pigmentation at a faster rate than microdermabrasion. It is useful if you have a fairer skin tone. However, if you have a medium skin tone, you might develop more hyperpigmentation.

What works best for each Skin Tone?

Remember, your skin tone can play a crucial role in the intensity and length of hyperpigmentation treatments. Although people with fair, medium, and dark skin tones can use the same therapies, those with an even darker skin tone might require more treatment time. If you are fair-skinned, any treatment procedure for hyperpigmentation will work well for you.

Avoid these treatments if you tan easily or have a darker skin tone:

  • High-beam lasers
  • IPL therapy

If you have a medium skin tone, these options might be useful:

  • Chemical peels
  • Microdermabrasion

If your skin tone is darker, you might benefit from:

  • Microdermabrasion
  • Kojic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • OTC lightening creams
  • Less strong chemical peels
  • Laser treatments(low intensity)

If you are going for topical treatments, they might take a longer time to give you results. But, patience is vital no matter which treatment option you choose.

It is crucial to protect your skin from further sun damage and hyperpigmentation no matter which treatment option you choose. Work with your dermatologist to devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Dr. Gajanan Jadhao

I am a Hair Transplant Surgeon, Cosmetologist and Anesthesiologist in Pune. I have more than 16 years of experience in this field.

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