Hyperpigmentation is a condition that occurs when your skin becomes a darker color in certain sections. These dark patches can develop in small, localized regions or they can cover large areas of your body. Although not harmful, hyperpigmentation can mar an otherwise beautiful skin complexion and be a source of self-consciousness.
This unwanted pigmentation tends to recur, so careful attention to sun protection is a major factor in both preventing new dark spots and protecting your investment once you've undergone treatment.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in the production of melanin, the substance that gives your skin its color. There are a wide range of causes (and some medical conditions) which may boost your body's production of melanin:
- Excessive or repeated sun exposure
- Agressive skin treatments
- Hot working environments
- Acne or skin injury
- Reaction to chemicals and fragrances
- Hormonal changes, often caused by pregnancy
- Endocrine diseases such as Addison's disease
- Certain medications such as antibiotics, anti-seizure drugs and hormone treatments
While anyone can develop hyperpigmentation, the condition tends to be more severe among individuals with Asian, Latin, or Mediterranean skin tones.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation can come in several different forms. The most common include:
- Melasma: This type of hyperpigmentation is caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy. While these splotchy areas of discoloration can occur anywhere on the body, they are most prominent on the face.
- Sun spots: These dark areas on your skin are caused by excessive sun exposure over a prolonged period of time. They most commonly occur on the face and hands.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This condition occurs due to a prior skin injury.
Interactive image below showing different treatment options
Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options
There is no true cure for hyperpigmentation since the problem can be reactivated by sun exposure. Instead, the goal is to manage and control the condition by lightening the appearance of the skin in the affected region.
Depending on your unique needs and goals, Dr. Fitzgerald may recommend one of the following hyperpigmentation treatments:
- Pico Genesis: A very sophisticated ultra-fast laser for discoloration and dark spots.
- Cosmelan Depigmentation: This treatment begins with an in-office peel to quickly lift excess superficial pigmentation and then continues with an at-home program to help suppress the development of new pigmentation problems.
- BBL Photofacial: An intense broadband light treatment for improvement of both red and brown areas on the face, chest and arms. Bonus - improved skin quality.
- Halo Hybrid Laser: Fractional laser treatments can resurface the skin and minimize fine wrinkles. This treatment will also brighten your skin and provide greater luminosity.
- Enerpeel by Glytone: Action occurs beneath the surface layers of skin to bypass obvious peeling.
- Diamond Glow: This treatment provides a gentle way to lighten and brighten your skin. Diamond tipped microdermabrasion is combined with SkinMedica serums for excellent results.
- HydraFacial: Clean, smooth and treat in a single treatment.
- Obagi Skin Renew System: Obagi incorporates prescription ingredients to expedite skin lightening and suppress the activity of melanin production.
- SkinMedica Lytera System: Topical products with deep benefits for overly-pigmented skin.
- Fraxel DUAL uses a special laser wavelength that is specific to discoloration. Bonus? Helps take care of precancers at the same time and smooths as well.
- Laser Genesis: Taking into account the sensitivity of skin with Melasma, the gentle action of Laser Genesis is one of the safer options to lift brown pigmentation caused by hormones.
Sun Protection - Critical Factor #1
Using a sunscreen with SPF 40 or higher is crucial for controlling pigmentary activity whenever you're in the sun. We can't over-stress the need for consistent sunscreen use.
Timing: Sunscreens (those without zinc or titanium oxide) take about 30 minutes to become effective. Sunblocks are effective immediately. Although one complaint of zinc based sunblocks in the white cast, there are several good options that come tinted. You can also tint your own with a small dab of darker color makeup. We recommend ColoreScience, TiZo and the award-winning ISDIN. See more about those in our online shopping.
Please contact Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald using the form on this page or call 323-464-8046 today to schedule your hyperpigmentation treatment consultation. We serve patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Larchmont, California.