Pigmentation on your skin can be bothersome and can cause distress to anyone. Dark spots, patchy skin, or discoloration on your skin are signs of hyperpigmentation that no one wants to deal with. Fortunately, many skin pigmentation treatment options help you deal with irksome spots.
Everything You Should Know About Treating Skin Pigmentation
So what is hyperpigmentation? Any patch of skin that is darker than your natural skin tone is classified as skin pigmentation. It is caused by an overproduction of melanin in your body. The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are:
Inflammation of skin
Acne, eczema, bug bites, scrapes, and scratches, or vigorous rubbing can trigger inflammation in the skin. This, in turn, sends signals to pigment-producing cells to secrete melanin at higher than normal rates, leaving behind a dark spot after healing.
Exposure to the sun
The sun’s harsh UV rays can set off extra production of melanin to defend your skin from damage. You get a tan because of the extra melanin. Sun exposure, on the other hand, may cause dark “sun” spots when the exposure is regular or excessive. Sunspots are not cancerous, but sun-exposed skin may grow other precancerous blemishes that resemble them. As a precaution, it’s important to have the skin examined by a dermatologist at least once a year.
Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” is distinguished by brown patches that commonly appear in pregnant women. Women are more likely to develop this form of hyperpigmentation, but men may also develop it. It is observed to be triggered by a combination of sun exposure, genetics, and hormonal changes and has also been linked to the use of oral contraceptives. Airborne pollutants which bind to the skin can make it weaker and more easily prone to damage by the sun. This may also be a factor in melasma and other hyperpigmentation.
Medical Conditions, such as Addison’s disease, an adrenal gland disorder that can increase melanin production, can cause skin pigmentation. Certain drugs, including antibiotics and some chemotherapy drugs, can also cause hyperpigmentation.
The Best Ways to Treat and Prevent Hyperpigmentation
There are plenty of dark-spot correctors and skin pigmentation treatments to choose from, but it’s essential to deal with the condition preventively as well. Some common treatment options are:
Keep Skin Moist
Although lightening dark spots is the primary goal with hyperpigmentation, effective over-the-counter (OTC) products should also contain ingredients that support the skin in other ways. A successful product would have moisturizing agents like glycerin or hyaluronic acid, as well as retinol to increase cell turnover, in addition to resolving pigment issues. The inactive ingredients make it easier for the active brighteners to function efficiently. A good moisturizer can also help to preserve the skin’s lipid (fat) barrier, which can help to shield it further from the sun’s harmful rays.
Hands Off Bug Bites, Blackheads, and Other Injuries
Pay attention to your mother’s warning of not picking when you’re tempted to itch a mosquito bite or squeeze a stubborn blackhead. Scratching and rubbing at a spot can only exacerbate the inflammatory process that causes skin discoloration. The more you fiddle with it now, the worse it will be later. The earlier you treat hyperpigmentation, the easier it will be to remove it.
Brown spots’ pigment may penetrate deeper into the skin over time. Treatments containing ingredients like vitamin C, licorice root, and kojic acid help reduce pigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the creation of the pigment melanin Hydroquinone, soy, arbutin, vitamin E, niacinamide, and n-acetyl glucosamine are several other spot-eradicating ingredients to look for in OTC treatments.
Consider an Rx for Stubborn Skin Discoloration
If over-the-counter treatments aren’t working, it’s time to seek professional support. Since it slows the development of pigment, dermatologists consider the prescription-strength hydroquinone, alone or in combination with other lighteners, to be the gold standard for fading dark spots. It almost always works to eliminate hyperpigmentation, unlike many of the ingredients in OTC products. However, your dermatologist should closely track your hydroquinone medication because high doses can cause sensitivity to sun exposure and bleach the skin.
Ask a Dermatologist About High-Tech Options
If topical treatments aren’t working, speak to your dermatologist about more vigorous discoloration treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or dermabrasion, or a laser or light-based procedure. (However, if you have melasma, lasers and chemical peels can aggravate your hyperpigmentation.)
For the best skin pigmentation treatment, speak to your dermatologist today to help you figure out the best option for you!