Hyperpigmentation can be a frustrating and embarrassing condition. It is often caused by inflammation or injury to the skin, such as acne or sun damage; however, it also has causes unrelated to injuries. Hyperpigmentation may occur in people with darker skin tones due to hormonal changes like pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). While hyperpigmentation can be bothersome for some patients, many treatment options are available for this condition.
Here we will explore ways you can treat your hyperpigmented skin:
A medical-grade peel is generally more potent than its over-the-counter counterpart, so it may cause some more irritation while working to reduce hyperpigmentation in your skin. But because aesthetic medical professionals carefully control the chemicals, it can give you better results with less risk of post-inflammatory changes in pigmentation or scarring. Some common peels include:
TCA Peel (Trichloroacetic Acid)
TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is the most common type of peel used in dermatology to reduce hyperpigmentation. TCA is effective in reducing dark spots and acne scars.
The most important aspect is to make sure you do not get this peel if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or diabetic (since it may cause unwanted reactions).
Retinoic Acid Peel (Tretinoin)
Retinoic acid peels, or tretinoin peels, are a type of medical-grade peel that contains the active ingredient tretinoin. This peel is often recommended for those with hyperpigmentation because it is known to be effective in reducing dark spots and acne scars.
One of the main benefits of using a retinoic acid peel is that it can be tailored specifically to your skin’s needs. This means that you will get better results with less risk of post-inflammatory changes in pigmentation or scarring.
However, as with all peels, it is crucial to ensure you do not get this peel if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or diabetic (since it may cause unwanted reactions).
Phytic Acid Peel (Salicylic Acid)
This type of chemical peel is excellent for those with oily skin because it is an oil-soluble acid, meaning it will only target the oil glands in your skin. This means you can remove excess sebum and reduce breakouts at the same time as reducing hyperpigmentation.
Because phytic acid is derived from aspirin (i.e., salicylic acid), this peel has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness or swelling after one submits to treatment, making it even more effective at treating hyperpigmentation.
Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Lasers have been a popular choice for cosmetic procedures to reduce skin damage and improve appearance for years. Using a laser can be a great way to treat hyperpigmentation because it allows you to pick from various lasers according to your unique needs. Many types of lasers can be used in this treatment, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Some of the most common types of lasers used in laser skin rejuvenation include:
Fractional lasers are one type of laser used in laser skin rejuvenation. These lasers create microscopic wounds within the skin, allowing your body to heal itself with natural collagen production and stimulate new tissue growth. This type of laser is beneficial for treating hyperpigmentation because it causes less damage to the surrounding tissue than other types of lasers.
Ablative lasers are another type of laser used in this treatment. These lasers use heat energy to remove damaged tissue, causing microscopic holes within the skin. When these holes are healed, there is some downtime associated with them while the body creates new tissue to fill in these “holes.” This type of laser is beneficial for treating hyperpigmentation because it causes less damage than some other types of lasers but can still help improve its appearance.
Non-ablative lasers are another type of laser that can be used in laser skin rejuvenation. These lasers cause minimal damage or change to your tissue, meaning they do not burn away layers of your skin like ablative lasers do. Although non-ablative lasers cause little change to your tissue, they penetrate deep enough to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Skin Lightening Creams
Many over-the-counter chemical agents can lighten or brighten dark spots on your face. The most common ingredients used in OTC products to reduce hyperpigmentation are hydroquinone and azelaic acid. Hydroquinone—which is safe when used properly—inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, reducing the formation of melanin pigment in dark spots. Azelaic acid works by slowing down the production of melanocytes while stimulating the turnover of dark cells that have already been formed.
Hyperpigmentation can be a problem for many people, but there are ways to eliminate it. Treating hyperpigmentation is not always easy and may require you to commit more time or money than your current budget allows. However, getting rid of these dark patches will be easier with the right treatment plan in place.