Hyperpigmentation is the name for the discoloration we get on our skin that occurs when our skin produces excess melanin. There are multiple types of hyperpigmentation, like melasma, sun spots, and the discoloration sometimes left behind after acne. If you’ve ever had hyperpigmentation, you know how stressful it can be. Though hyperpigmentation is usually harmless (meaning, it doesn’t signal a serious health issue), it can be a major cosmetic concern.
So how do you get rid of hyperpigmentation? Though hyperpigmentation can be tricky to clear up, there are many different treatments that can reduce or eliminate hyperpigmentation. In this post, we’re covering the different ways you can treat hyperpigmentation, including med spa treatments, at-home topical treatments, and home remedy treatments.
Med Spa Treatments for Hyperpigmentation
There are a number of professional treatments that can reduce or eliminate the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Here are three of the best med spa treatments for hyperpigmentation:
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels are an excellent way to remove the damaged outer layers of skin, which can help reduce (or can completely eliminate) hyperpigmentation, including melasma. Chemical peels also improve the overall tone and texture of your skin, help purify the skin, soften fine lines, and stimulate collagen production, leaving the skin looking more firm and youthful. Also, while the chemical peels of the past were known to be painful, that’s not true of today’s modern peels, which give the same results as classic peels with no pain and far less downtime. At the Z Center for Cosmetic Health, our modern chemical peel of choice for hyperpigmentation is the VI Peel.
Laser Resurfacing: Laser resurfacing is a highly effective treatment for many different skin issues, including hyperpigmentation. At our office, we use the Nano-Ray Laser for laser resurfacing, which is fast, effective, and often able to remove targeted blemishes in a single treatments. In addition to being one of the best treatments for hyperpigmentation, laser resurfacing is also excellent for treating dark spots, moles, acne scars, surgical scars, other scars, enlarged pores, skin texture issues, fine lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, birthmarks, and more.
Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a treatment in which the skin is physically exfoliated with a microdermabrasion wand. This physical exfoliation removes dead skin and can stimulate collagen production, leaving you with skin that is more evenly pigmented. In addition to improving the appearance of hyperpigmentation, microdermabrasion can treat clogged pores, uneven skin texture, enlarged pores, oily skin, dry skin, and fine lines.
At-Home Topical Treatments for Hyperpigmentation
There are a number of at-home topical treatments for hyperpigmentation, most of which work by lightening darkened skin. Some of these treatments may be recommended by Dr. Zadeh and others are over-the-counter treatments you can try on your own. There are many different topical products that can address hyperpigmentation, which will often include one of the following ingredients:
- Azeliac Acid
- Kojic Acid
- Retinoids, Such as Tretinoin
- Vitamin C
Home/Natural Remedies for Hyperpigmentation
In addition to these medical solutions for hyperpigmentation, there are some home remedies that people use for hyperpigmentation. Here are three common natural remedies for hyperpigmentation:
Aloe Vera: There’s a compound in aloe called aleosin, which may lighten hyperpigmentation. There has been a recent study showing that ingesting aleosin orally (by taking aloe vera capsules) may relieve melasma during pregnancy. People also sometimes suggest using aloe vera topically, though there is less research about the effectiveness of this method.
Licorice: Licorice contains something called glabridin, which has been thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-whitening effects. Glabridin extracts can be used topically on the skin as a home remedy.
Green Tea: Green tea is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as is green tea extract, which some use as a topical home remedy to treat hyperpigmentation.
Note: It’s important to note that while these methods are commonly used as home remedies for hyperpigmentation, there aren’t enough scientific studies that show whether or not they are effective. This doesn’t mean that they definitely don’t work, just that there’s not enough scientific evidence to prove things either way. If you do want to try a natural remedy for your hyperpigmentation, remember to always do a skin patch test to see whether or not you have any irritation before trying the remedy on the rest of your skin.
A Note on Preventing Hyperpigmentation
Sometimes, hyperpigmentation is out of our control. For example, we can’t control sudden hormonal fluctuations that can cause melasma. Or, if you used to spend a lot of time tanning, which can cause sun damage, there’s no changing the past. But there are some things we can do to try to prevent or reduce future hyperpigmentation:
Wear Sunscreen: Wearing sunscreen daily can help prevent sun damage, lessening the risk of future hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure. Additionally, wearing sunscreen can help stop your existing hyperpigmentation from darkening in the sun.
Avoid Picking the Skin: Hyperpigmentation can be induced or worsened if you pick at the skin. When you pick at the skin (this includes popping pimples), you can cause it to be more inflamed or injured, which can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). To reduce your risk of PIH, resist the urge to pick at your skin.
Final Thoughts on How to Treat Hyperpigmentation
There you have it: the many ways you can treat hyperpigmentation. Wondering which is right for you? Every person’s skin is unique. What may work best to clear up your hyperpigmentation can depend on multiple factors, such as your skin type and the root cause of your hyperpigmentation. If you want to clear up your hyperpigmentation but aren’t sure where to start, contact us today to make a consultation appointment with Dr. Zadeh. At your consultation, Dr. Zadeh will examine your skin and create an individualized treatment plan to treat your hyperpigmentation.