Advance treatments for Pigmentation
The science of beauty
What you can do ?
Hyperpigmentation is a medical term used to describe darker patches of skin. These patches result from excess melanin production, which can be caused by everything from acne scars and sun damage to hormone fluctuations.
If you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, know that you aren’t alone. Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition, and there are a number of different treatment options available.
Keep reading to learn more about your options, including products you can try at home, what to expect from procedures like microdermabrasion, and more.
What helps with hyperpigmentation?
- Lightening creams.
- Face acids.
- Chemical peel.
- Laser peel.
- IPL therapy.
Lightening creams are over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that work with select ingredients to help decrease pigmentation. Many of these creams are available in stronger prescription forms. They’re usually applied once or twice a day to help lighten the skin over time. Topical treatments for lightening also come in gel form.
Common ingredients found in OTC lightening products include:
- licorice extract
- vitamin B-3 (niacinamide)
Face acids, or skin acids, work by exfoliating, or shedding, the top layer of your skin. Whenever you exfoliate your skin, new skin cells emerge to take the place of the old ones. The process helps even out your skin tone and makes it smoother overall.
Many face acids are available OTC at beauty stores and drugstores. Popular options include:
- alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, or tartaric acid
- azelaic acid
- kojic acid
- salicylic acid
- vitamin C (in the form of l-ascorbic acid)
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids are among some of the oldest OTC skincare ingredients used. Their small molecular structure allows them to penetrate deep into the skin and treat the layers below your epidermis.
Retinoids can come in either a prescription or OTC formula. However, OTC versions tend to be weaker. If you don’t see any results after a couple of months, talk to your dermatologist about the prescription retinoid tretinoin (Retin-A).
A chemical peel uses acids at stronger concentrations to treat the desired area of skin. They reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by removing the epidermis. Deeper versions may also penetrate the middle layer of your skin (dermis) to produce more dramatic results. Although many chemical peels are available OTC, you might consider getting a professional-grade peel at your dermatologist’s office. These are more powerful, and they yield quicker results.
Due to their strength, in-office peels may also increase your risk for side effects. Talk to your dermatologist about your individual risks. Possible risks with both at-home and in-office chemical peels include redness, irritation, and blistering. When used improperly, blisters or scars may also develop.
Laser peel (skin resurfacing)
A laser peel (resurfacing) treatment uses targeted beams of light to reduce hyperpigmentation. There are two types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers are the most intense, and they involve removing layers of your skin. Non-ablative procedures, on the other hand, target the dermis to promote collagen growth and tightening effects.
Ablative lasers are stronger, but they may cause more side effects. Both destroy elements in your skin to ensure that new skin cells grow back tighter and more toned.
intense pulse light therapy (IPL)
IPL therapy is a type of non-ablative (fractional) laser treatment. Also known as a photofacial, IPL therapy stimulates collagen growth within the dermis. It usually requires multiple sessions. IPL is used for overall pigmentation issues, but flat spots especially respond to this treatment. It may also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, spider veins, and enlarged pores.
Microdermabrasion is an in-office procedure used to treat hyperpigmentation that affects the epidermis only (superficial scarring).
During the procedure, your dermatologist will use a drill-like handheld tool with a wire brush or other abrasive attachment. The tool is then swiped across your skin to rapidly — but gently — to remove the epidermis. You may need multiple sessions to achieve your ideal result.
Dermabrasion also involves the removal of your epidermis, but its effects continue down to part of your dermis.
While dermabrasion is sometimes used to smooth out wrinkles, the procedure has been historically used to address texture concerns. These include:
- acne scars
- age spots
- chickenpox scars
- injury scars
- sun damage
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