Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options
There are a number of hyperpigmentation treatment options to choose from, but because hyperpigmentation is so difficult to treat, it may be a matter of simple trial and error before you find the type of treatment that’s effective for you. This skin condition affects both men and women and people of all ages and ethnic groups. While it’s most common in middle age, it can also be seen in younger patients.
Hyperpigmentation by Type
Currently, there are a few main types of hyperpigmentation. The first is often referred to as PIH, or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This condition occurs after an injury to the skin including burns, psoriasis or acne. It will begin to fade once the skin begins the regeneration process, which can take several months. However, this type of hyperpigmentation tends to respond very well to treatment.
Age spots, also known as black dots on skin, liver spots or sun spots, are another common type of hyperpigmentation and it’s found on ninety percent of people with fair complexions over the age of forty. However, these spots are not directly caused by aging and instead, frequent sun exposure is to blame.
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that’s caused by changes in hormone levels. It affects an estimated four million women in America alone and can be incredibly difficult to treat.
Fortunately, there are a variety of skin lightening treatments that offer promising results. Depending on the extent and severity of the pigmentation area, a doctor can often tailor treatment based on each patient’s specific needs and skin tone. Treatment can include a combination of therapies or a single therapy.
The main cause of sun spots in individuals with fair complexions is sun damage. Several years of exposure to the sun results in spotted hyperpigmentation, a condition that’s often marked by increased melanin production resulting in a blotchy complexion and patchy skin color. The severity of the condition largely depends on a person’s skin tone and their history of intense or long term sun exposure. In order to treat hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage most experts recommend retinol or hydroquinone treatment.
When topical treatments fail, chemical peels that contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid can be used in combination with the topical treatments in order to improve results.
IPL treatment and laser therapy can also be used in combination or alone with topical treatment in order to selectively target dark patches of skin.
Using sunscreen daily that’s SPF thirty or greater is crucial in preventing further damage to the skin.
Treating Melasma and PIH
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma are two of the most common pigmentation issues that occur in people with darker complexions. Melasma affects the sun exposed areas of the skin and is also known as the mask of pregnancy because it can often occur in pregnant women due to dramatic changes in hormone levels. Often, the middle layer of skin will be affected, which makes this pigmentation problem very difficult to treat, often requiring a combination of therapies.
As we have mentioned, PIH can be one of the easier skin pigmentation problems to treat. Both melasma and PIH can be treated with such therapies as microdermabrasion, fractional lasers, chemical peels and topical creams.
The use of over the counter products that contain such active ingredients as niacinmide or soy have been found effective in helping to brighten the skin and are safe enough to use daily.
The main treatment for melasma is prescription strength hydroquinone cream.
Patients with darker complexions who are resistant to topical treatments can benefit from chemical peels and microdermabrasion in addition to creams and ointments.
Home Care for Skin Pigmentation Issues
As the skin ages, people are more likely to experience these changes in pigmentation, especially if they don’t take care of their skin. Start by wearing hats and clothing to protect exposed areas of the skin on bright sunny days. Wear makeup that contains sunscreen and liberally apply regular sunscreen to exposed areas of the body.
Aloe vera gel is another treatment for skin with hyperpigmentation issues because it promotes natural skin cell regeneration. This plant also works to clean and moisturize the skin. You can apply aloe vera gel to the affected areas of the skin daily and leave it on overnight. Gently wash it off in the morning and repeat this treatment daily.
Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat a number of ailments. To use for hyperpigmentation, mix three tablespoons of vinegar with equal parts water. Apply the solution to the affected areas and leave it on for ten minutes. Rinse off with warm soapy water. This treatment can be repeated twice daily. The astringent properties in vinegar can work to restore the skin’s natural color. Vinegar also contains beta carotene, which can treat the damage done to skin by removing free radicals. This type of vinegar is also know to make the skin appear brighter.
Diet can play a major role when it comes to determining skin health. Make sure you wash your face twice daily and pat the skin dry.
Never sleep in your makeup. While it can slip your mind at times, or you simply feel that it’s no big deal, sleeping in your makeup can have a horrible effective on your skin. In order to promote new skin cell regeneration the pores need to be free from dirt, debris and dead skin cells. Use a makeup remover or apple cider vinegar to ensure that your skin is clean and glowing.
The Most Versatile Vitamin for Skin Health
Vitamin E is one of the best natural treatments for a wide range of skin problems. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that works to neutralize the harmful effects of the sun’s rays and it can also work to protect and repair the skin.
To use, take a couple of vitamin E capsules and open them. Pour the oil in a small bowl and add a few drops of olive oil. Mix well and apply to the affected areas of the skin before bed. This hyperpigmentation treatment is safe enough to be used daily.