Hyperpigmentation Treatment Methods
Nearly 6 million women in the United States are affected by hyperpigmentation or melasma. This skin discoloration can happen to anyone but of the reported cases nearly 90 percent are women. It seems to have a genetic component to it and is seen in people of German/Russian Jewish descent and Native Americans.
It can be caused by certain cosmetics, ovarian or thyroid dysfunction or photosensitizing medications. Estrogen and progesterone hormones can cause the stimulation of melanocytes. The symptoms are most commonly seen on the upper lip, cheeks, chin and forehead.
It will disappear over time, but there is no telling how long it will take. Sometimes it can be a matter of the cessation of hormone therapy replacement or oral contraceptives to diminish the symptoms. Women who are given progesterone when they are postmenopausal can develop symptoms. It seems to have a hormonal component to it, the mask of pregnancy is one of the times in a woman’s life when she will experience melasma. It can also be a genetic issue as 30 percent of the people diagnosed with it say that other members of their family have had it.
It is best to get the opinion of a doctor before you start on any sort of treatment plan. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon can advise you of the options available to you. One medication that is commonly used is hydroquinone which will block melanin production which give our cells their color. This medication comes in an over the counter form or a stronger percentage can be acquired by prescription. It is sometimes mixed with Retin-A. The side effects are that it can increase pigmentation if a sun block is not used with it, it can cause darker marks on the skin called ochronosis when used for long periods of time or it can cause permanent hypopigmentation which is a decrease in the pigment. It can also cause irritation.
To exfoliate the skin and speed the regeneration of skin cells Retin-A is sometimes prescribed. This topical retinoid is a vitamin A derivative and it diminishes the dark, uneven spots on the skin. It is available in a number of strengths and is usually prescribed in a progressive method. Sometimes it is used in conjunction with hydroquinone or a similar bleaching product.
An alternative brightening cream is Lumixyl that will reduce hyperpigmentation and age spots. It reduces melanin, does not irritate the skin and has no side effects. Based on a natural peptide it is applied topically.
There are other methods to treat melasma that include IPL or intense pulsed light or laser resurfacing. Beta hydroxy acids which include salicylic acid exfoliate the skin. Chemical peels like alpha hydroxy acids in an 8 percent glycolic acid can also work as an exfoliant. Microdermabrasion is also a consideration.
Aluminum oxide micro crystals are used in microdermabrasion to peel a fine layer of skin. Cell turnover is stimulated and it can improve the condition more quickly. Laser resurfacing will promote a fresher look to the skin as it evaporates the first couple of layers. With hyperpigmentation you should avoid the sun, wear an SPF and follow the advise of your physician. Some treatments will be more costly than others, it all depends on what your budget is and how much patience you have.