Hyper: as a prefix, it means over, excessive, above or beyond. Pigmentation: The coloration of tissues by pigment. Put them together and you get hyperpigmentation, the excessive discoloration of skin tissues by pigment.
When it comes to what women want in terms of the appearance of their skin, even tone and uniform color usually top the list. So what can you do if factors come into play that prevents you from having the ideal skin tone? When it comes to correcting hyperpigmentation, the first step is knowing how it is caused.
- Cause – When acne is the cause of discoloration, the symptoms can often show up long after the blemish is gone. Inflammation is an unavoidable part of acne and the more inflamed the blemish is, the greater the risk of scarring. Although inflammation can be a desirable bodily response to help the pimple fade and heal, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) can occur. While PIH does not affect the texture of the skin, it can cause discoloration, which can take a while to fade.
- Solution – The best cure for acne related hyperpigmentation is a topical product that lightens and brightens. Glycolic masks, hydroquinone, salicylic acid, and retinol can all help to reduce dark spots; chemical peels can be effective and, if the spots are red and flat, you may want to consider redness reducing laser treatment.
- Cause – If your hyperpigmentation is sun related, it is caused by the deposits of melanin on the skin produced by UV rays. The resulting spots occur on the face, hands, and chest and are usually light to dark brown and can make skin look much more mature than it is.
- Solution – Retinoid, IPL, and fractional laser treatments are the best ways to deal with sun-related discoloration. IPL sends a beam of light through skin that seeks out melanin. As the light is absorbed, it breaks the pigment up, making it less visible. A series of treatments are necessary to make a noticeable difference. In fractional laser resurfacing, lasers send a beam of fractioned energy to initiate a wound healing response to correct hyperpigmentation.
- Cause – Birth control, pregnancy, and menopause can all lead to a spike in production of melanin. In fact, many doctors correlate the rise in hyperpigmentation to increased prescription of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. The hormone surge, along with sun exposure causes the skin to darken.
- Solution – Hydroquinone and retin-A are the most commonly prescribed treatments prescribed by doctors to treat hyperpigmentation, salicylic, glycol, and lactic peels can also be effective, as can IPL and the use of vitamin C based products.
If you are suffering from skin discoloration, let us know how you deal with it. What is the most effective method for fighting hyperpigmentation?