Managing and Treating Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which patches of the skin darken in color due to excess melanin. It affects people of any race and has a variety of causes including sun exposure, medical conditions, trauma to the skin, or side effects of a certain drug. While the condition is not serious or life-threatening, it may affect your quality of life for social and cosmetic reasons. If you’re unhappy with hyperpigmentation and decide to get treatment, consult Dr. James Jewell in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He offers in-office hyperpigmentation treatment using the latest technologies available.

Determining Cause

The first step in treating hyperpigmentation is knowing the different types of the condition. This will help you determine the right kind of treatment as well as the lifestyle changes you need to make to prevent further discoloration. The four types of hyperpigmentation include melisma, lentigines, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and drug-induced hyperpigmentation. Melasma is caused by hormonal fluctuations, whereas lentigines is caused by overexposure to UV rays. PIH is caused by skin injury, and drug-induced hyperpigmentation is caused by drugs, as the name suggests.

To find out what particular type of hyperpigmentation is affecting you, consult an expert dermatologist or doctor. He or she will ask questions about your lifestyle and history and proceed to do a physical exam using a magnifying glass. Some of the questions to expect include how often you use a tanning bed, sunscreen, and your level of sun exposure. The doctor will also want to know if you’ve been recently pregnant, and what forms of birth control you’re using, among others.

Treatment

The doctor might prescribe the use of topical applications that contain retinoid, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). Topical applications rejuvenate and exfoliate the skin, thereby treating the condition. Types of topical applications that can be used include hydroquinone, which is the most commonly used, kojic acid derived from a fungus, azelaic acid, which was initially developed to treat acne, and mandelic acid which treats all types of hyperpigmentation.

If topical applications don’t work, consider undergoing a non-ablative procedure, which targets the skin condition. Examples of non-ablative procedures include skin peels, Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL), and laser skin resurfacing. You can also visit a salon for a microdermabrasion treatment. This should be done by an experienced practitioner as it can cause skin irritation and damage the skin further. It should also be done in moderation, as the skin needs time to heal between sessions. Lastly, consider home remedies for hyperpigmentation such as aloe vera, lemon juice, and rosehip oil, among others.

Prevention

One of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation is exposure to UV rays. Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun to prevent further skin discoloration. If you have to be in the sun, wear sunscreen with recommended amounts of SPF, as well as a hat and long sleeves. Avoid sunbathing and tanning beds.

Hyperpigmentation is also a side effect of medication containing hormones, such as birth control. If you can, stop using these medications or switch to different ones. However, talk to your physician first before stopping or changing medication.

Hyperpigmentation can also result from plastic surgery. Ensure you do sufficient research before opting to get plastic surgery. If you decide to go ahead, ensure the practitioner is highly experienced. Lastly, be wary of professional skin treatments, as they are known to cause skin trauma.

 

Author: Robin Gupta