Your Guide to Hyperpigmentation
The darkening of the skin is called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by many things, the most common being sun exposure and acne scarring. The appearance of hyperpigmentation can range from freckles to very dark spots on the skin. Luckily there are treatments available for those who suffer from this condition. Some of these treatments are topical creams, chemical peels, or light therapy. A qualified dermatologist should only do these treatments with experience in treating hyperpigmentation in Glen Allen.
Hyperpigmentation causes darkening of the skin due to many different reasons. The most common causes are sun exposure and acne scarring. You can treat several kinds of hyperpigmentation, depending on the cause. For example, when hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure, it is called solar lentigines, and when it occurs after healing from an acne lesion, it is called postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.
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Causes of Hyperpigmentation
There are many causes of hyperpigmentation, but the most common include sun exposure, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and melasma.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs in people with darker skin and acne, but it can also be caused by psoriasis, eczema, burns, and other conditions. The discoloration happens when the inflammation of the skin leads to melanin production.
Melasma is also known as chloasma or melasma. It is a skin discoloration that appears on sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the face. It is prevalent in pregnant women, but it can also affect men.
Solar lentigines are flat spots that appear on commonly sun-exposed areas of skin, including the hands, arms, shoulders, and face. They tend to look like freckles or early age spots in lighter-skinned people, but they can also affect darker skin tones.
Treatment of Hyperpigmentation
Treatments for hyperpigmentation depend on the cause. In some situations, you can treat it with a topical prescription cream or chemical peel performed by a dermatologist. In treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, hydroquinone is usually used. Hydroquinone works by decreasing the amount of melanin that is produced in the upper layers of the skin.
It is very effective when used twice daily for four to six weeks. Some people experience side effects such as redness, hypo or hyperpigmentation, and scaling at the application site. For this reason, hydroquinone should not be used in darker-skinned individuals because it can cause permanent discoloration. Other treatments, such as glycolic acid peels or kojic acid, are less likely to cause this problem.
Melasma is usually treated with chemical peels containing Tretinoin (Retin-A) and hydroquinone in conjunction with sun avoidance. This treatment can take several months before results become visible. If melasma is severe, a combination of chemical peels and bleaching creams such as 4% hydroquinone or monobenzylether of hydroquinone can be used.
You can treat solar lentigines with bleaching agents such as mono benzyl ether or hydroquinone (monobenzone). These treatments can take several months before seeing results. If the lesions are small, your dermatologist may try a q-switched laser. You can use this to treat small areas and works by removing the pigment from the skin.
To summarize, hyperpigmentation refers to the darkening of the skin. Common causes of the condition include sun exposure, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and melasma. The treatment varies from patient to patient, depending on the cause. You should see a specialist for treatment since any error during treatment could lead to permanent discoloration.