Treatment For Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is the term used to describe dark patches that develop on the skin. These patches may be small, like freckles, or larger. They typically develop from sun exposure and hormonal changes. Hyperpigmentation is most common on the face and upper chest, areas that are often exposed to the sun. Melanin, the pigment in the skin responsible for producing skin color, builds up in patches, leading to hyperpigmentation. Treating hyperpigmentation at home is possible, but requires patience.
Stop further damage to your skin. Wear sunscreen daily, year round, regardless of how little exposure you think you may experience. Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has a sun protection factor of at least 30.
Select facial cleansers and moisturizers that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids. These ingredients speed up the turnover of new skin cells, and remove dead cells from the surface of the skin. This will help remove the existing deposits of melanin.
Use over-the-counter products that contain hydroquinone to lighten uneven skin coloring. Hydroquinone prevents melanin from building up in the skin, so it will reduce or eliminate further incidents of hyperpigmentation. Existing patches will fade as your skin cells naturally exfoliate.
Consider laser resurfacing. The doctor will target the affected body parts with a laser, lightening the skin in only the damaged area. It often takes several sessions of laser resurfacing to completely fade areas of hyperpigmentation.
Dermabrasion is the most effective treatment for stubborn areas of hyperpigmentation. It is an outpatient procedure, and can be performed in the doctor's office. Many doctors will offer medication to help you relax. The doctor then applies a liquid to the face which numbs and freezes the skin. A high speed rotary tool is passed over the affected area, removing the top several layers of skin. Expect minor discomfort for up to a week following this procedure, and lingering redness for up to eight weeks. Dermabrasion can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars.
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