Hyperpigmentation is the skin disorder with patches of skin darker than the surrounding areas. There are different types of hyperpigmentation and only a qualified healthcare professional like Skin specialist in Islamabad can diagnose the cause after thorough examination.
Whether or not one can effectively treat hyperpigmented lesions depends on the therapeutic approach, the duration of treatment and the type of hyperpigmentation.
Read on to know more about the management options for this skin condition:
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What is hyperpigmentation?
The darker patches of skin with excess melanin deposition caused by any cause is termed hyperpigmentation. Even though hyperpigmentation is harmless most of the time, it can be bothersome for the patient, which is why they seek treatment to eradicate it.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the most common reasons of hyperpigmentation are: inflammatory causes like acne, bug bites and eczema, exposure to sun, hormonal disorders and other medical conditions, medication and melasma.
Is hyperpigmentation treatable?
In today’s era, hyperpigmentation is quite treatable and there are a variety of options to deal with it. However, before starting any therapy, be sure to avoid sun exposure, and using a sunscreen with sun protection factor of 30 or more if you are in the outdoors. Sun exposure makes the hyperpigmentation more stubborn and likely to penetrate into the deeper layers of skin.
Topical creams: work to lighten the skin, especially those that contain ingredients like azelaic acid, kojic acid, vitamin c, licorice extract and retinoids. These lightening agents are effective for age spots, sun spot and melasma on most skin types. One of the downsides of using over-the-counter (OTC) lightening creams is that they take longer than professional treatments to get rid of hyperpigmentation.
Face acids: or skin acids exfoliate the skin gently, improving the texture of skin and allowing the new cells to surface. This makes the skin look brighter and smoother overall. The popular options include: alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, lactic acid, kojic acid and salicylic acid. Vitamin C in the form of l-ascorbic acid is also an effective option.
Face acids help to treat mild pigmentation especially on fairer skin tones.
Chemical peels: like face acids they work by exfoliating the skin, and allowing the newer skin cells from underneath to reach the surface. However, chemical peels primarily are of stronger concentrations and, therefore, penetrate deeper. Even though there are OTC options available, they are more effective if done by a professional like a dermatologist. Chemical peels yield quicker results than other options, but can cause side effects like irritation, redness and even blistering. These side effects are only temporary, but precaution must be taken for at least one week after the procedure. Post chemical peel skin is most sensitive to the sun, which is why sun exposure must be strictly avoided.
Laser peels: use ablative or non-ablative laser for skin resurfacing. The target of the laser peels is the dermis to boost collagen production, and removing the layers of skin.
How to prevent future hyperpigmentation?
The scientifically proven methods include:
Moisturizing: keeping the skin hydrated boosts the cell turnover. In fact, many prescription medications for hyperpigmentation contain moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin for this purpose. Effective cell turn-over allows other ingredients to work better at lightening and brightening the skin.
No picking at the lesions: picking and scratching at skin lesions only increases the inflammation at these spots, increasing the chances of discoloration.
Get help from a professional: not all dark spots are treatable with over-the-counter creams. Some need a look-over by a professional like Best Skin specialist in Lahore so they can prescribe more aggressive therapy or a combination of skin lightening regimen to eliminate hyperpigmentation.