Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Procedures and treatment for hyperpigmentation

Dr Anil Ganjoo talks about forms of hyperpigmentation and its effects of skin as well as procedures & treatment for Hyperpigmentation

Published: Feb 23, 2021 02:27:49 PM IST
Updated: Feb 26, 2021 06:33:55 PM IST

Procedures and treatment for hyperpigmentation
In hyperpigmentation the patches of the skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin. It is harmless condition but in some cases, it may also be a symptom of illness or any disease. People are concerned about this condition because of its aesthetic implications which disturbs them and cause stress and anxiety.  

Major causes of hyperpigmentation are, Melanocyte concentrations become very high & Hyperactivation of melanocytes.      

Various forms of Hyperpigmentation Disorders include :

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) – In this type of hyperpigmentation there is injury to the skin due to burns, psoriasis, acne lesions, skin friction and sometimes even due to the application of some skincare treatments. This condition usually eliminates the activation of the skin regeneration system but can take many months. Hyperpigmentation treatment works quite effectively on PIH.    

UV Exposure/ Generalised Dullness of Skin - In this type of hyperpigmentation skin is subjected to normal UVB sun exposure. It appears in the form of general skin dullness on the entire face. The skin tone of the face becomes dull and dark as compared to the other parts of the body.    

Solar Lentigines – They are common form of hyperpigmentation referred to as liver or age spots. With progressive aging, these spots become more visible but aging is not directly responsible for their appearance. These are caused primarily due to excessive exposure to UV rays.  

Melasma – Melasma is also called as cholasma caused due to hormonal imbalance. In melasma larger areas of darkened skin appear most often as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy triggers overproduction of melanin that causes the "mask of pregnancy"       

Birthmarks – They are caused by the cluster of the pigmented cells or malformed blood vessels. Birthmarks may go away without treatment, stay the same, or change over time. They also may be present in different colours or contain different types of tissue. As the name indicate these pigmentations are present at birth.  

Other forms of Hyperpigmentation include Heredity, Skin picking, Medications like antibiotics, hormones, and anti-seizure medications & Skin inflammation

Issued in Public Interest by Oaknet Healthcare

Treatment of Hyperpigmentation   

There are many types of treatments for hyperpigmentation which includes the use of Cosmeceuticals & Prescription Skin Care

Broad-spectrum sunscreen like SPF 30 and above is recommended during sun exposure to prevent any skin damage due to UV rays exposure. These sunscreens should containing physical blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide

In the case of melasma or PIH, topical treatment options include retinoids, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, corticosteroids, kojic acid & vitamin C  

Hydroquinone is the ‘Gold Standard’ for treatment of hyperpigmentation. For enhancing the results of hyperpigmentation treatment, Hydroquinone is used in combination with antioxidants, hydroxy acids retinoids.

Kojic acid offers almost similar results to that of hydroquinone and even better when used in combination with hydroquinone and glycolic acid.   

Vitamin A products helps in skin rejuvenation and resurfacing and also helps to increase the turnover of cells.    

Alpha Hydroxy Acids not only exfoliate skin but also smooth the skin and increase the cell turnover while giving even skin tone.    

Topical treatment with azelaic acid, offer optimal benefit when combined with a topical corticosteroid.  

Procedures for Hyperpigmentation  

Cosmetic procedures for hyperpigmentation include:

  • laser therapy
  • intense pulsed light
  • chemical peels
  • microdermabrasion 
Chemical Peels - Skin peels for hyperpigmentation treatment give improved and enhanced results when other topical therapies are unable to provide desired results. Chemical skin peels have essential and natural skincare ingredients including Lactic, Salicylic and Glycolic Acid which helps in skin resurfacing and also increase cell turnover. This treatment may be used along with other topical therapies to achieve optimal results. Chemical skin peels are available in varying depths and strengths to suit different skin types. 

Microneedling – This procedure utilizes a special device to gently rejuvenate the skin and improve pigmentation. This hyperpigmentation treatment helps in the reduction of pigmentation by increasing cell turnover while at the same time during treatment powerful anti-oxidants and skin brighteners are infused into the skin.

Radiofrequency laser therapy - It is also a good treatment option which require little recovery or downtime, it is available in several options. Skin discoloration can be improved with fractionated RF energy, while intense pulsed light, acoustical lasers, and 1064 nm lasers can also be very effective. Intense pulsed light is especially useful at treating freckles, sun damage, and rosacea, as well as a host of pigmented or vascular lesions. Melasma and brown spots can be reduced with acoustic lasers. For pigmentation issues deep in the skin, a 1064 nm laser is effective without touching the skin surface.

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