The answer totally depends on what type of hyperpigmentation you have, and the severity of it. Just as this discolouration did not appear overnight, to fully eradicate, treatment will be necessary. In cases where acne is the cause however, it can fade with time.
Whether you have post-blemish scarring from a stubborn breakout, freckles that expanded into full-blown sun spots from excess exposure, or discolouration caused by a condition like eczema or psoriasis, the discolouration usually all falls under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation.
In the simplest terms it means too much skin colour. So hyperpigmentation means too much pigment in your skin. Melanin is the proper name for that skin pigment. And it’s too much of this melanin that creates dark spots on the skin. Freckles, melasma (‘pregnancy mask’), age spots, liver spots and sun spots are all types of this same skin discolouring condition. Collectively we call it hyperpigmentation.
In other words the condition as we see it are areas of skin where an excess amount of melanin has occurred. This causes skin patches that appear darker than the neighbouring skin. Areas of the skin that are most prone to hyperpigmentation are the hands, arms, and face.
There are three types of hyperpigmentation:
This form of skin discolouration started developing in early teens and twenties. It develops due to increased production of melanin. Freckles are a types of sun spot which gets darker with sun exposure.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or (PIH):
This type of pigmentation is due to injury or inflammation of the skin that results from disorders, hormonal problems or a number of illnesses. Acne, eczema, psoriasis and contact dermatitis may cause PIH. PIH tends to affect persons with dark skin most often, however can affect any type of skin tone.
Melasma is caused by changes in hormones and tends to often occur during pregnancy, taking birth control pills or due to hormonal imbalance. Melasma is often referred to as the pregnancy mask and usually develops on the face appearing on the cheeks, upper part of the nose, forehead and above the lips. It increases with sun exposure, sometimes it may clear up when hormones become more balanced however it can always return.
At Biodermal we offer a hyperpigmentation programme. We use our technology base equipment in conjunction with products as a treatment.
Firstly, wearing a sunscreen can be a huge plus. Our skins naturally darken in the sun of course. So to help pigmentation to fade faster whatever else we do, staying out of the sun or using sunscreens can help a lot.
Skin lightening products are probably the most popular and least drastic approach. There are for example many different creams available which contain ingredients such as Vitamin C, Kojic acid, hydroquinone, and retinoids for lightening skin tone.
Evidence reveals that hyperpigmentation has a whole range of causes which include:
- Inflammatory hormones due to pregnancy or birth control pills that affect the sex steroids estrogen and progesterone, these can cause a specific type of hyperpigmentation known as melasma.
- Addison’s disease.
- Heredity, that is, your genetics as passed down from your parents and grandparents etc.
- Topical and oral antibiotics, retinoids, antiarrhythmics, and antimalarial drugs can stimulate phototoxic (i.e. sun sensitive) inflammation in the skin resulting leading to excess pigmentation.
- Sunlight exposure, assorted fabric dyes and plant derived irritants such as poison ivy, are considered external stimuli that activate melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin), known as inflammatory mediators. The condition can result in a patchy, irregular freckle like appearance on the skin’s surface known as lentigenes, normally referred to as liver or age spots.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (more commonly known as NSAID’s).
- Chemotherapeutic drugs (used for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases).
- Cosmetic surgeries including resurfacing procedures, temperature, and chemical burns.
- Numerous types of dermatitis like eczema.
So it really can be anything from just bad luck with your genetics through to prescribed drugs or treatments you may be receiving.
Some products may differ depending on your skin treatment and the severity of your condition. Please consult with your therapist on which products are best for you.