If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the biggest skin concerns for women, especially in hot, sunny climates. Savoir Flair turned to expert dermatologist and aesthetic medicine doctor Dr. Rosan Humidani, who specializes in all things skin at Dubai’s Obagi MediSpa, to get a proper understanding of pigmentation and the best ways to prevent and treat it.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition where patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening is caused by the overproduction of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color. Hyperpigmentation can affect any part of the body, like the face, hands, and neck.
What are the different types of hyperpigmentation?
Lentigo, or lentigenes, are small pigmented spots on the skin known as freckles. Solar lentigenes are widely known as “sun spots” and are freckles caused by sun exposure. Melasma, often known as “pregnancy mask”, is caused by hormonal changes in pregnancy.
What are the causes of hyperpigmentation?
Common causes of hyperpigmentation include sun exposure, genetics, acne, and hormonal changes. An abnormally high concentration of melanocytes that produce melanin, as well as when the melanocytes are hyperactive, can also cause hyperpigmentation to occur. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs, can also result in it. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or PIH) occurs after a pimple, a burn cut, an abrasion, or a minor injury leaves a mark.
How can it be treated?
1. Use diligent sun protection, including hats, clothing, and broad-spectrum sunscreens. Wear sunscreen daily of at least SPF15 and avoid sun exposure.
2. For dry, sensitive skin, it is recommended to exfoliate twelve times a week. For combination to oily skin, it is recommended to exfoliate two to three times a week with a foaming gel cleanser that contains glycolic acid.
3. For epidermal melisma (the superficial type), the most common form of hyperpigmentation, two to six months of therapy are typically required. This includes lightening creams and various chemical peels.
4. For dermal melisma (the deeper one), topical agents like vitamin C can help lighten the dark areas. Treatments such as deeper clinical peeling, various laser therapies, and dermabrasion can help achieve results.
5. Other agents that reduce melasma include glycolic acid, kojic acid, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid peeling, so look out for those ingredients in your skincare products.
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