Hyperpigmentation treatment

The term that is used to describe skin cells that are darker than other surrounding skin cells is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can also be used to describe sun spots, dark spots, dark moles and acne scars. It is caused by various factors which can be hormonal, physical trauma, over exposure to the sun and chemical or mechanical exfoliation techniques. Hyperpigmentation is really an over production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation and the color of eyes and hair as well. Darker skinned people like those from the Mediterranean, Asia or Africa are more prone to hyperpigmentation. The places on the body that are most affected by this darkening of the skin cells are the face and back of the hands.

Hyperpigmentation can be associated with a number of diseases or conditions, including Addisons’s disease, Cushing’s disease, Celiac disease, Cronkite-Canada Syndrome, Porphyria and even fungal infections like ringworm as well as many other diseases. It can also be caused by various drugs, including some antibiotics, anti-arrhythmics, and anti-malarial medication. One common example of hyperpigmentation is melasma. This occurs in many women who are pregnant, although men can develop this condition as well. It is commonly referred to the “mask of pregnancy.” It is characterized by tan or brown patches on the face and is caused by hormonal changes that occur in the body when a woman becomes pregnant. This type of hyperpigmentation will frequently go away after pregnancy.

There are various treatments for hyperpigmentation. However, you should consult with your doctor before treating the condition yourself. There are scar treatment options that can help improve dark spots, dark scars and melasma or hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, Vitamin C and other natural treatments like Licorice extract are most often used to treat this skin condition.

Hydroquinone is very effective when used to lighten skin. However, long term usage of this substance can be dangerous and may even cause cancer. As a result it is only sold by prescription in Europe and not available at all in some other countries. Hydroquinone is still available in the United States in small concentrations however. Kojic acid is also very effective in lightening dark spots on the skin. However, recent studies have shown that kojic acid can cause the skin to be more sensitive which can lead to contact dermatitis, so better ways to treat hyperpigmentation should be considered first.

People have been successfully and safely using Vitamin C as a skin lightening agent. It should be used in at least a 10% concentration. Vitamin C can also stimulate the production of normal and healthy collagen in the skin. Licorice extract can be used to effectively and will safely lighten the skin as well. Licorice also has anti-inflammatory prosperities and will accelerate skin renewal. Licorice and Vitamin C will both inhibit tyrosinase production. This is the enzyme that causes the skin to darken in response to sun exposure and skin injuries. Licorice and Vitamin C used together will produce the best results when used to lighten the skin. This combination is also a good natural preventative and treatment for acne.

Sometimes exfoliation is used to treat hyperpigmentation. This is the chemical or mechanical shedding of the top layers of the skin. Exfoliation is most often done by microdermabrasion techniques, alpha hydroxyl acids and beta hydroxyl acids. This approach removes the damaged skin cells so that the new skin beneath is revealed. Time factors for best results can vary for different people. Age and depth of the hyperpigmented cells can also affect how long it takes to exfoliate the skin enough to reveal the new unblemished skin beneath. The best way to prevent skin from hyperpigmentation is to continue to wear sun block on a daily basis.

Last updated on Dec 8th, 2009 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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