With summer upon us chances are you’ll be spending more time in the sun. It is important to know what affect exposure to the sun can have on your skin. One side effect is Hyperpigmentation. This is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. It is harmless, relatively common and can affect any part of the body including the face, hands, and neck, but a nuisance to those who have it.
Sun exposure stimulates the production of melanin. When you go out with proper covering your body or if the sun is directly hits your body skin gets the hyperpigmentation gradually. Hormonal changes are another cause of these growing skin spots.
Many doctors correlate the surge in hyperpigmentation to many individuals who do not wear sunscreen daily and follow the trend of tanning. Additionally, the recent increase in birth control usage and hormone replacement therapy they feel has contributed to the rise.
One of the most common misconceptions about discolored skin is that it will fade away by itself and that no treatment, of any kind, is necessary. The majority of discoloration needs to be treated with high-powered active ingredients and in-office treatments to fully eradicate spots on the surface. According to the latest article in New Beauty magazine: As aggravating as hyperpigmentation can be, understanding why it’s happening and how you can stop it (yes, it can be done) is rule number-one on the path to clear, even skin.
Color: Light to medium brown
Where It Occurs: On the cheeks, sides of the face, upper part of the nose, forehead and above the lip
What It Looks Like: Splotchy patches that are inconsistent in shape and size
Caused By: A surge in hormones usually from pregnancy or birth control coupled with sun exposure
Treat It With: Hydroquinone and Retin-A; salicylic, lactic or glycolic acid peels; Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) plus vitamin C; or Cosmelan. (Melasma is hard to treat because of its potential to recur.)
Sunspots (aka Age or Liver Spots)
Color: Light to dark brown
Where It Occurs: On the face, chest and hands
What It Looks Like: Small, flat, dark spots
Caused By: The sun
Treat It With: Retinol + IPL; Fractional laser resurfacing
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
Color: Pink, red or brown
Where It Occurs: Anywhere on the face
What It Looks Like: Flat spots
Caused By: Inflammatory acne
Treat It With: Light salicylic acid chemical peels; red light and blue light (if there is active acne)
Color: Light to dark brown or even red or black
Where It Occurs: On the face, chest and arms
What It Looks Like: Concentrated small spots
Caused By: The sun
Treat It With: Fraxel, Nd:YAG laser
If you or someone you know is struggling with a form of Hyperpigmentation, schedule a consultation with us to see how we can help!