Have you recently noticed small areas of discolouration on your body or dark spots on the face? Wondering how to remove pigmentation? If your answers are in the affirmative, it’s time for you to know more about hyperpigmentation and how to get rid of pigmentation. Uneven skin pigmentation or Hyperpigmentation appears on the skin as dark spots or patches that result in the skin having an uneven appearance.
Table Of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- What is Hyperpigmentation?
- What causes hyperpigmentation?
- What do dermatologists recommend for hyperpigmentation?
1. What is Hyperpigmentation?
Skin patches become darker than the nearby areas leading to hyperpigmentation. This common skin condition can affect people of all genders as well as skin types. Sunspots and melasma, two forms of hyperpigmentation, are more likely to have a negative effect on the skin areas that are usually exposed to suns, such as arms, face, and legs.
Other hyperpigmentation types occur after skin inflammation or injuries like burns, cuts, lupus, or acne. Generally, extra pigmentation in some skin areas is harmless but it may indicate a medical condition.
Types of hyperpigmentation include melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or age spots. Each of these types of hyperpigmentation has different causes and a series of products and treatments, including cosmetic procedures and creams.
Hyperpigmentation-Pigment spots like age spots
Pigment spots like sun spots or age spots are caused due to exposure of the skin to sun rays. For this reason, age spots appear primarily on body parts that are exposed frequently such as the neck, décolleté, hands, arms, or face. Age spots tend to be darkened, with small skin patches.
Melasma or chloasma can be defined as a health condition where larger hyperpigmentation patches develop primarily on the face. Melasma is primarily found in women and is believed to be triggered by changes in hormonal levels. Often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”, Melasma happens to about 10–15 per cent of pregnant women and 10–25 per cent of women who take oral contraceptives.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation happens when a flat discolouration area is left behind after a trauma or skin injury. This is generally found among acne patients.
It is important to note that there may be other factors that may result in skin patches becoming darker like actinic or solar keratoses, birthmarks, skin cancer, or scarring but they are counted as hyperpigmentation.
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2. What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a result of an increase in the level of melanin (the natural pigment of the body that provides colour to the skin, eyes, and hair) in the body. A number of factors may result in a surge in melanin production but the primary factors include hormonal disturbances, age, sun exposure, and skin injuries & inflammation.
Exposure to the sun
Sun exposure is the biggest cause of hyperpigmentation as it is the light of the sun that is responsible for triggering the production of melanin in the first place. Melanin acts as the natural sunscreen of the skin by safeguarding us from harmful ultraviolet rays. However, excessive exposure to the sun may disrupt this process, causing hyperpigmentation. Once there is the development of dark spots on the body of an individual, exposure to the sun may exacerbate the complication by turning melasma, age spots, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation spots even darker.
Changes or the presence of bodily hormones can be a big reason behind melasma or chloasma. It is extremely common among women and occurs when progesterone and estrogen, the female sex hormones, stimulate melanin production on exposure to the sun. Hyperpigmentation may also be a side effect of some hormone treatments.
Skin injuries and inflammation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation happens after inflammation or skin injury such as chemical exposure, cuts, burns, Psoriasis, or Atopic Dermatitis. After the wound has healed, the skin is left discoloured and darkened.
Medications or diseases
Hyperpigmentation may also be a result of certain health complications such as metabolic disorders, autoimmune and gastrointestinal diseases, and vitamin deficiencies. Hyperpigmentation can be triggered by the use of certain medications like chemotherapy medications, antibiotics, antimalarials and anti-seizure medications.
3. What do dermatologists recommend for hyperpigmentation?
How to remove pigmentation and how to get rid of pigmentation? If you or a loved one is diagnosed with hyperpigmentation, a skin specialist will first perform a thorough skin evaluation and may recommend some diagnostic tests. Based on the results, the skin specialist may recommend one or more of these skincare procedures:
- Chemical Peel: This skincare procedure involves the administration of a chemical solution to the neck, face, and hands for exfoliating skin or removing dead skin cells, stimulating the growth of new skin cells and revealing the new skin. It is an excellent choice for those with melasma, blotchy skin, sun-damaged skin, and age spots.
- Laser Peel: Much like a chemical peel, laser peel is more precise and allows the skin specialist or dermatologist to exercise more control over the treatment intensity. During this skin rejuvenation procedure, the dermatologist “zaps” the affected areas with high-energy beams of light. The mildest treatments work solely on the skin’s surface layer (the epidermis) while more intense laser treatments are used to penetrate the skin’s deeper layers. It can also reduce melanin in the skin or minimise the appearance of spider veins, enlarged pores, and wrinkles.
- Retinoids: Retinoids, which are derived from Vitamin A, penetrate deep into the human skin and treat the layers below the skin’s surface layer. Your dermatologist may perform a skin rejuvenation procedure with retinoid tretinoin (Retin-A) to reduce melanin in the skin.
- Microdermabrasion: During this in-office procedure, the dermatologist will make use of a drill-like handheld tool with an abrasive attachment such as a wire brush. This tool is swiped across the patient’s skin at a swift but gentle pace for removing the skin’s surface layer.
- Dermabrasion: This skin rejuvenation procedure involves removing the skin’s surface layer but the effects of dermabrasion continue down to the part of the patient’s dermis. Dermabrasion is ideal for reducing the extent and appearance of wrinkles and is equally effective against injury scars, sun-damaged skin, chickenpox scars, age spots, and acne scars.
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Hyperpigmentation is usually not a life-endangering health condition but it may negatively impact the self-esteem, self-confidence, and physical appearance of an individual. It may make individuals hesitant to attend gatherings, parties, and social events.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Hyperpigmentation, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. At Advanced Wellness, you can always trust the expertise and skills of world-renowned dermatologists, skin specialists, and other medical professionals.
Want to know more about how to remove pigmentation, reduce melanin in the skin, how to get rid of pigmentation, or how skin rejuvenation procedures can help you reclaim your lost youth? Contact Advance Wellness now!