Whether you’re experiencing dark spots from prolonged exposure to the sun or scarring from acne breakouts, hyperpigmentation is a notoriously stubborn skin problem. Fortunately, there are many cosmetic treatments for discoloration, returning your complexion to an even and rejuvenated state. Read on to learn more about this skin condition and popular strategies to correct it.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition caused by excess melanin production. It’s often characterized by brown patches that are similar to large freckles.
Hyperpigmentation can happen due to various reasons, including aging, UV damage, harsh chemicals on the skin, acne spots and breakouts, or hormonal fluctuations. Hyperpigmentation may also be caused by systemic conditions or certain medications.
Common Cosmetic Treatment Options
If you are looking for a cosmetic treatment to correct hyperpigmentation, there are several options available to you. The best treatment for your situation will depend upon various factors, including your budget, cosmetic goals, and health history.
Cosmetic treatments for hyperpigmentation include:
A chemical peel uses certain body-safe acids to treat the affected areas of skin. The chemical solution penetrates deep into the skin, breaking up clusters of melanin that are responsible for hyperpigmentation. The top layer of the skin is removed during the process, allowing for the formation of softer, smoother, and more even-toned skin beneath. Depending on the severity of the hyperpigmentation and the concentration of the peel, this treatment can take several sessions to achieve results.
Also known as a skin resurfacing treatment, a laser peel uses beams of light to target and destroy the melanin pigment. This results in the dark spots flaking and falling off after the treatment. Laser skin resurfacing can be ablative or non-ablative.
Ablative laser resurfacing is a great option for mild to moderate hyperpigmentation. It works by removing the outermost layer of skin, allowing new skin cells to grow back firmer and more evenly toned.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing is a gentler procedure. It targets the dermis to promote the growth of collagen and improve the texture and tone of the skin.
Microneedling involves producing controlled injury on the skin using a pen-like device that has small sterile needles. This triggers the skin’s own healing process, which allows new cells to replace the damaged ones. It also boosts elastin and collagen production to rejuvenate the skin by altering tissue formation.
This in-office procedure involves removing the top layer of the skin. The procedure uses a handheld tool with a laser-cut diamond tip. The tool is swiped across the skin to rapidly remove the thick outer layer of skin cells. As the skin heals, patients notice improvements to uneven skin tone and pigmentation, light acne scars, and large pores. Multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve your ideal result.
While not as strong as microneedling or chemical peeling, certain topicals may work just as well to reduce the appearance of dark spots. Common gels, serums, and moisturizers prescribed for hyperpigmentation contain skin-lightening ingredients such as:
- Glycolic acid
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Vitamin C
- Azelaic acid
- Kojic acid
Some of these ingredients treat the layers below the epidermis, while others exfoliate the skin to even out your skin tone. It’s a good idea to consult with your dermatologist about which products and ingredients are best for your skincare goals.
Talk to Your Dermatologist
While hyperpigmentation isn’t harmful to your health, it can have a significant impact on your self-esteem and confidence. With the right cosmetic treatment, however, you can lift stubborn dark spots and achieve a more even skin tone. Be sure to visit a dermatologist to identify the cause of your hyperpigmentation and curate a personalized treatment plan.