Hyperpigmentation treatments

The human skin gets its color due to a chemical called melanin, which are produced by the melanocyte cells. In many people, excess production of melanin leads to hyperpigmented skin resulting in age spots and freckles. This can come with genetic or immune system problems, excess exposure to sun, side effects of certain medication, or with skin trauma, such as burns.

Although this is not any serious medical problem, treatment is often sought by people due to cosmetic reasons.

Types of hyperpigmentation

1. Melasma: Due to hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or thyroid dysfunction.
2. Lentigines (liver spots or age spots): Mostly seen in aged people, may occur with UV rays exposure.
3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Results from skin traumas, such as burns, acne etc.


Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

Topical application. These applications contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids, which exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. Topical applications are available as:
• Kojic acid. Derived from a fungus.
• Hydroquinone. Most commonly used, approved by the FDA.
• Mandelic acid. Derived from almonds.
• Azelaic acid. Developed to treat acne and hyperpigmentation.

Non-ablative professional procedure. If topical treatments prove ineffective, the dermatologist may suggest:
• Laser skin resurfacing.
• IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy. Performed by very trained people, this method targets selective dark spots only. • Skin peels, including salicylic acid peels, to treat dark skin areas.


Microdermabrasion treatment. This is a very popular method of treatment for people with hyperpigmentation. Look for an experienced practitioner as skin abrading can cause irritation, which might worsen the discoloration. As the skin needs time to heal, microdermabrasion should not be done too often.

Over-the-counter medications. Over-the-counter medications, which you can get without a prescription, include: • Skin lightening creams. Slows down melanin production and removes melanin from the skin. Search products which contain kojic acid, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, cucumber, soy milk and calcium.
• Any topical treatment containing Retin-A or alpha-hydroxy acids.

Home remedy. Application of Rosehip oil, cucumber (sliced, pureed, or juice), lemon juice and Aloe Vera are simple home remedies of hyperpigmentation.



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