Trust us; you’re not the only one who dreads those dark acne scars after a bad breakout. Those dark scars are much harder to treat than the flaming zits, and they stay forever. However, this doesn’t only apply to your post-pimple troubles – dark, uneven patches and sun spots are also in the memo. You’re prone to hyperpigmentation if you’re routinely exposed to the sun, irritation, or inflammation. (Yup, there’s a name for it!)
Below, we shed light on what you can do to treat hyperpigmentation, no DIY measures here, these are the tools available to you outside of the home.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation describes the dark spots and patches that appear when your skin produces too much melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its unique colour. All this excess melanin gets deposited deep into the skin, making it look darker than the surrounding skin.
While hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that affects all skin types, it usually boils down to three primary triggers:
- Sun damage – UV rays affect your skin’s natural ability to regulate melanin production. It also supercharges the visible signs of ageing, which may lead to dark-coloured patches on your face, hands, and décolletage.
- Melasma – Also known as chloasma, this is a condition wherein distinct brown or greyish pigmentation spots appear on your skin. Hormonal changes can cause melasma during pregnancy and thyroid issues.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – When your skin is inflamed (especially during an acne or eczema flare-up), it produces more pigment. This usually happens when it goes into healing mode, leaving behind dark scars on your skin.
How can I treat hyperpigmentation outside the home?
True enough, having an at-home skincare routine can help fade dark spots and acne scars. However, it’s best to leave it to the experts who can offer targeted hyperpigmentation treatments. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, here are some in-office treatments worth trying:
Chemical peels are the most accessible anti-hyperpigmentation treatment today. This procedure uses high concentrations of skincare acids (higher than the ones you use at home) to exfoliate the skin. It sloughs away the topmost layer of your skin to fade dark spots and deep scars on your face. We highly recommend choosing AHA peels, like mandelic, lactic, and glycolic acid, since they are highly effective exfoliants. For the best results, AHA peels should be done once a month for four to six months. You can also use them with other treatments and prescription skincare products; just ask your dermatologist beforehand!
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IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
IPL can help treat hyperpigmentation by using high-intensity light, which then heats up your pigments and breaks them apart. Once the light interacts with your melanin, it changes its molecular structure. Your body will no longer recognise it as melanin protein, eliminating it through your immune system. IPL is an excellent therapy for mild sun damage, freckles, and uneven facial, neck, and chest patches.
An excellent laser option to get rid of pigmentation is the Pico Discovery Plus. Pico Discovery Plus comes equipped with 3 different laser wavelengths using picosecond laser technology, as well as an IPL. The Pico Discovery Plus has been studied in many clinical trials and is successful in the treatment of pigmentation disorders and even tattoo removal.
Those who have deeper pigmentation can benefit from microneedling with a dermaroller. The tiny needles penetrate the skin to create micro-injuries. This then pushes your skin into healing mode and regulates your melanin production. However, it’s worth noting that microneedling is a lengthy process, requiring six sessions every three months.
Mesotherapy is another treatment that can treat advanced cases of pigmentations, like those caused by melasma. It entails injecting a potent mix of vitamins and skincare actives, like hyaluronic acid, into your skin. This mixture penetrates the deeper layers of your skin, which can help rejuvenate your skin and boost collagen production.