Hyperpigmentation itself is not a health risk, however it can occasionally be a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Most of the time it is completely harmless, but nevertheless, the aesthetic implications that come with it can cause emotional distress to those affected by it. Hyperpigmentation is not a selective condition; it affects individuals across all ethnic groups and age groups. This condition is brought when the melanocyte cells have increased activity or a multiplication of the melanocyte cells themselves. This condition can be reversed with a thorough treatment approach.
Melanin is what dictates the color of your skin. Melanocyte cells produce melanin at a constant rate. There are times although when the melanin is produced excessively in some parts of the body. This leads to this condition, hyperpigmentation. The condition causes dark spots and patches on the skin. This condition can be caused by too much exposure to sunlight, a weakened immune system, skin trauma and the use of some medications.
Hyperpigmentation occurs in three types :
i) Melasma :
This is more common in pregnant women because of the hormonal imbalances or the thyroid gland failing to work well.
ii) Lentigines :
More common in older people, this hyperpigmentation type is chiefly brought by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays.
iii) Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) :
This is caused by skin trauma such as acne.
Treatment for hyperpigmentation is available. It can be done through any of the following ways depending on the condition, type and the severity.
1. Treatment using topical Balms that contain alpha hydroxyl acids/retinoids.
Ingredients often contained in these treatments include :
– Kojic acid that is gathered from certain particular fungus types
– Hydroquinone (there are some safety concerns with this ingredient)
– Manelic Acid from Almonds
– Azelaic Acid that works best for treatment of acne.
2. Non- Ablative Methods
If topical balms do not work well, then a dermatologist can be consulted. The following procedures can be used in such a case :
– Resurfacing using Laser
– Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
– Skin Peels
The above treatments are only done by a trained professional.
3. Microdermabrasion Treatments
This method is also popular. Like the ones above, it is done only by trained professionals.
4. Over the Counter (OTC)
OTC treatments can be done either by using :
– Skin lightening balms and lotions that have a combination of either kojic
acid, hydroquinone acid, soy milk, azelaic calcium or cucumber. These are
said to reduce the rate at which melanocytes produce melanin.
– Topical balms with alpha hydroxyl acids.
5. Natural Remedies That can be Done at Home
You can prepare a treatment at home using such ingredients as cucumber, aloe Vera and lemon juice. These can lead to skin lightening.
The above-described treatments work best when combined. For instance, you can use topical creams to maintain a lightened skin after undergoing a professional treatment.