Hyperpigmentation is an extremely unfortunate condition that affects many people. Dark spots or patches on the skin can look very unsightly and although they are completely harmless they can be cause a lot of distress.
The reason these dark spots occur is because of an increase in the melanin production in the skin. Your melanocytes (the cells responsible for producing the colour of your skin) go into over-drive and start producing too much melanin; the result is dark patchy and uneven skin tone. Treatment of hyperpigmentation can be difficult and isn’t always straight forward. Hyperpigmentation can be stubborn to remove so you may have to experiment with a few different treatment options before you find what works for you. However, here is some advice to get you started.
There are several types of hyperpigmentation so in order to get the right treatment you need to find out what type you have. Therefore, it is always advisable to go see a dermatologist to get a correct diagnosis first.
The different types of hyperpigmentation are:
- Sunspots or solar lentigines
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
The main causes of hyperpigmentation are:
- Sun exposure
- Hormones (which is related to melasma)
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation caused from inflammation from skin conditions such as acne, eczema or injury.
- Certain medications that cause photosentivity
To treat hyperpigmentation you need to work out the cause. Once you know the cause there are various treatment options ranging from over the counter and prescription topical creams to chemical peels and laser therapy.
Treatments for hyperpigmentation are:
- This should always be your first line of defence. Use a SPF of 30 or higher everyday all year round to stop the patches from getting darker
- Use lightening treatments that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, alpha- arbutin, niacinimide, azelaic acid and liquorice
- Bring creams containing retinoid into your skin care regime
- Exfoliate regularly with glycolic and lactic acids
- Seek advice from a dermatologist who will be able to prescribe stronger topical prescription treatments or advice on chemical peels, laser therapy or microneedling systems