Several factors contribute to dark areas and spots on the skin, known as hyperpigmentation. According to New York dermatologist Ariel Ostad, the sun, acne, melasma, prescription medication and hormonal imbalances are all causes of hyperpigmentation. “These dark spots occur when your skin produces more melanin, which gives our skin its color,” he explains.
“There are a wide range of treatments for hyperpigmentation. “The success depends on the cause of the hyperpigmentation. Strict sun protection and use of sunscreen are required in order to prevent worsening and recurrence of hyperpigmentation before, during and after treatment,” explains Dr. Ostad, who recommends seeing a dermatologist to assess the extent of your hyperpigmentation so he or she can customize an appropriate treatment plan which may include some of the following:
Topical medications such as hydroquinone and Retin-A are commonly prescribed for hyperpigmentation. “These bleaching and retinol creams do not work for all types of hyperpigmentation and they can take up to six moths to visibly lighten, results may not always be noticeable,” Dr. Ostad adds.
Hyperpigmentationis often treated with the Fraxel laser, which Dr. Ostad says is very effective. “This treatment targets the pigment in the skin that causes skin to appear darker. Two to three treatments may be required to achieve the desired result. There is usually minimal downtime that lasts about three to five days with this treatment.”
Chemical peels can be a good option for those with hyperpigmentation. “Peels like the LUMA peel which uses vitamin A and arbutin or a TCA peel (trichloracetic acid) are available for all skin types and are highly effective in reducing pigmentation. There may be some downtime of a few days to a week,” says Dr. Ostad.
And last but not least, a good foundation will help conceal dark spots day to day. Covergirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation ($16) provides hydrating coverage that hides discoloration and spots.
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