Increased skin pigmentation, or hyperpigmentation, is a condition that causes parts of your skin to darken. Hyperpigmentation occurs when your skin produces too much melanin. Things like hormone fluctuations, sun damage, and acne can cause your skin cells to increase melanin production in specific areas, resulting in dark spots or patches.
Most forms of hyperpigmentation are harmless to your physical health, but hyperpigmentation can still cause emotional distress. Skin issues like sunspots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can cause you to feel less confident and less comfortable in your own skin. Making matters worse, hyperpigmentation can be very stubborn. Dark spots and patches can take years to fade from the skin, but may also never fade without treatment.
If you’re struggling with skin pigmentation, know that there are several excellent treatments that can reduce or eliminate hyperpigmentation. To help you understand which may be right for you, we’re taking a closer look at our top three skin treatments for hyperpigmentation.
Chemical peels are a time-tested, dermatologist-recommended treatment for reducing existing hyperpigmentation. When you get a chemical peel, an exfoliating chemical solution is applied to your skin. This solution is designed to safely remove the damaged outer layer of your skin by causing it to peel off. Your body will then regenerate and replace that outer layer of skin with fresh, new skin. This process helps remove hyperpigmented skin and replace it with new, evenly pigmented skin.
It’s worth pointing out that chemical peels also have many other benefits for your skin. Chemical peels can not only reduce hyperpigmentation, but also improve skin texture, soften fine lines and wrinkles, purify acne skin conditions, and stimulate collagen production.
When people think of chemical peels, they often assume they’re going to be painful. But while that was the case with the overly harsh, old-fashioned peels of years past, today there are many advanced modern peels that are minimally painful, yet still, work deeply. For example, at our office, we use the VI Peel, a chemical peel that provides dramatic results with no pain, no skin preparation, and very little downtime.
The VI Peel comes in multiple varieties in order to cater to specific skin types and skin issues. The VI Peel that is generally recommended for hyperpigmentation is the VI Peel Precision Plus, which is designed to even the complexion and can be used on all skin tones (including darker skin types). The VI Peel Precision Plus does this using a specialized blend of active ingredients that includes:
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA): TCA is an exfoliating acid and peeling agent that helps remove dead skin cells and stimulate new skin cell growth. TCA is often used to treat skin discoloration, scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles.
- Retinoic Acid: Retinoic acid is a retinoid derived from Vitamin A that helps smooth the skin and increase skin elasticity.
- Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is an exfoliating beta-hydroxy acid (HA) that is also anti-inflammatory.
- Phenol: Phenol is an antiseptic and exfoliating ingredient that’s often used for evening and brightening the skin.
- Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that can treat and prevent hyperpigmentation.
- Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent and a dermatologist favorite for treating hyperpigmentation. This active ingredient can limit the number of melanocytes (melanin-producing skin cells) in the skin, helping to even the skin.
- Kojic Acid: Kojic acid is a brightening ingredient that works by inhibiting the formation of an amino acid that produces melanin.
- Hydrocortisone: While it’s best known for its anti-itching properties, hydrocortisone can also help to heal the skin and reduce inflammation.
Nano-Ray Laser Skin Resurfacing
Nano-Ray Laser Skin Resurfacing is a deep treatment that’s usually best for those who have deeper hyperpigmentation or hyperpigmentation alongside other skin issues.
Nano-Ray Laser Skin Resurfacing works to remove blemishes and discoloration from the skin through the application of a specialized type of light. During a Nano-Ray Laser treatment, this specialized laser light energy is absorbed by your skin. As a result, water within your skin tissue is vaporized instantly— and so are many skin issues. The Nano-Ray Laser is an excellent treatment for many types of skin discoloration, including hyperpigmentation, sun spots, age spots, birthmarks, and stretch marks. The Nano-Ray Laser can also treat acne scars, surgical and other scars, enlarged pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment that’s often used for those who have hyperpigmentation on the epidermis (the outer layer of your skin).
Microdermabrasion treats hyperpigmentation through physical exfoliation. During a microdermabrasion treatment, a microdermabrasion wand is applied to the skin. This wand gently yet thoroughly exfoliates the skin and removes the damaged outer layer of skin. This can help the skin appear more evenly pigmented and textured. Microdermabrasion also helps treat clogged pores, enlarged pores, fine lines, oily skin, and dry skin.
Microdermabrasion is less intense compared to chemical peels and laser treatments, so it’s not always the best choice for those with deep skin issues. However, it’s ideal for those who primarily have skin pigmentation issues on their epidermis, since it’s a gentle and effective way to treat the outer layer of skin.
Skin Pigmentation Treatment
If you’re struggling with stubborn hyperpigmentation, contact the Z Center for Cosmetic Health and make a consultation appointment with Dr. Zadeh. At your appointment, Dr. Zadeh will examine your skin, learn more about your skin goals, and create a personalized treatment plan to help you reach them.