By Dr. Himanshu Singhal, Dermatology
Hyperpigmentation is a skin disorder that causes dark patches and spots all over the facial skin. Although it occurs without any symptom, it is of high cosmetic concern and can result in psychological stress. Most of the causes of hyperpigmentation are attributed to exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays and the hormonal and other bodily changes one undergoes at the time of pregnancy. A number of other factors which lead to hyperpigmentation, either in patches or in entirety, include ageing, hormonal changes, pollution and in some cases, genetic factors.
Sometimes, they become very resistant and require continuous skin care in the form of sunscreen, skin lightening cream and other treatments that should be administered, based on your skin type and hyperpigmentation problems.
The basic treatment plan for hyperpigmentation comprises these few typical things:
- Washing the face: Your dermatologist would help you choose a face wash on the basis of the skin type, particularly how oily your skin is.It is recommended to pat the skin dry in place of rubbing it. This is because when you rub the face, the resulting friction can increase the dark patches.
- Applying sunscreen: When you are suffering from hyperpigmentation, sun protection is of immense importance as the dark patches may not subside. It may keep on recurring, if you do not protect your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. You should make sun protection a crucial component of your skin care routine. While SPF 15 is enough for indoors, you would require at least SPF 5o when going outdoors. If plausible, you must try to reduce your amount of daily sun exposure. You may pick any sunscreen though it is always better to go for an expert recommended sunscreen product ideal for your skin type.
- Applying moisturizer: When you go out, you should apply skin lightening moisturizer all over your face and on the hyper-pigmented parts of your skin. It will not only make you appear fairer, but also protect your skin from the various types of damages caused from sun exposure, dust and pollution. When you are choosing a moisturizer, you should make sure that your selected products contain niacinamide, kojic acid, glycoloc acid and liquorice extract.
While this is the basic care for hyperpigmentation, you should move a step further to treat the hyperpigmentation problems. Your dermatologist would assess your condition and select a treatment regime, which may consist of the following items:
- Tropical creams: There are various over-the-counter creams available, which are affordable and highly effective in soothing hyperpigmentation.
- Skin-lightening medications: On the basis of your level of hyperpigmentation, your doctor may prescribe hydroquinone, kojic acid dipalmitate, azelaic acid, arbutin or licorice.
- Antioxidants: You should increase the consumption of fruits rich in Vitamin C and take capsules with 5 to 10 percent of Vitamin C concentration.
- Chemical peels: Biweekly peels under dermatologist supervision are recommended in recalcitrant cases. Peels help by exfoliating the pigment-containing cells in the epidermis and also help in rejuvenating your skin. There are hundreds of peels available today. Your dermatologist will decide which is best for your skin type.
- Lasers: They can be used for resistant dark patches. However, the results are still under scrutiny.
There are also various other methods of treating hyperpigmentation like ski peeling treatment, chemical peels, lasers and steroids.