4 Ways to Treat Hyperpigmentation so It Never Comes Back

One of the most common misconceptions about discolored skin is that it will fade away by itself and that no treatment, of any kind, is necessary. Some types of pigmentation, like those caused by acne, can eventually lighten up over time (keep in mind this doesn’t happen overnight, but can take a few months, if not longer before you see a difference). But, the majority of discoloration needs to be treated with high-powered active ingredients and in-office treatments to fully eradicate spots on the surface. Not sure what to get done to banish your spots once and for all? We’ve got the answers here.

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If You Have Minimal Darkness, Try Microdermabrasion
During microdermabrasion, the uppermost layer of skin is gently removed to get rid of sunspots, darkness and other types of superficial and minimal discoloration. There are some versions of microdermabrasion, like DermaSweep, that offer a secondary step where specialized anti-pigment ingredients are infused into the skin to further brighten it.

If You Have More Stubborn Spots, Try a Chemical Peel
Salicylic acid, glycolic acid and TCA chemical peels are often recommended to banish discoloration. Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Zein Obagi, MD, says that chemical peels are powerful at speeding up results and removing deeper pigment. “Their potency can be manipulated to suit the type and depth of pigment.” However, not every skin color is suitable for a peel, and if you have a history of scarring, you may want to find another option.


If You Have Discoloration From the Sun, Try Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
A popular choice for targeting sun-induced discoloration, IPL involves light-based energy pulsed onto the skin while simultaneously targeting blood vessels. The light seeks out the discoloration in the skin to lift it up and out. Expect for the treated areas to turn dark and flake off in a few days. “We sometimes do an IPL treatment following two laser treatments to really clean up the skin,” says New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, MD.

If You Have Serious Discoloration That Won’t Budge, Try Fractional Laser Resurfacing
The most intense option available, fractional laser resurfacing treatments work wonders at erasing more stubborn pigmentation. Lasers like Fraxel, Halo and Clear + Brilliant, among others, create safe and controlled microinjuries in the skin to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process. As a result, discoloration is diminished as new, fresh skin comes to the surface.

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No matter what course of treatment you go with, it’s important to avoid the sun and shield your skin with sunscreen every day. “Choose formulas that protect against high-energy visible rays, as melanocytes are particularly sensitive to these,” says Dr. Obagi. 

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7 Comments
  • Marcus
    Posted on

    hi I have a question. Do you have any idea of how I could get rid of my dark spots? Because I have oily and sensitive skin, including hyperpigmentation and I've been having dark spots for 4 or 5 years. I've used several products to get rid of dark spots on my face throughout a few years. So I can have an even skin tone. But none of them really helped me at all. I used one product for about 2-3 years and only saw 1 dark spot clear up and that was it and my sister said the product stopped working a long time ago(I was unaware until she told me) and lately, I've been using baking soda and lemon juice together to get rid of dark spots(because online they say that's a way to get rid of them). But today when I wiped my face off, I saw red spots on my face like I got a reaction from using baking soda and lemon juice but I followed the steps accordingly on the website I found it on. And today I decided to cease using baking soda and lemon juice because im worried that if I continue to use it, I will get more red spots(they didn't look right). I've got some of my dark spots from acne(I'm thinking I got some from the sun as well since its possible). I just don't want to be in a position where its several years or a decade later, and I'm still having this problem. I don't want to keep having to use different products and try different remedies overtime throughout the years and then I may come across another situation where I get another bad side effect or reaction to another product or remedie. I hope you see this. but if you don't have a suggestion or anything, its fine.

  • Esther
    Posted on

    1) use a 20 dollar titanium dermaroller use a 0.5mm ( will be safe) anything like 1mm on senstive skin can cause hyperpigmentation.. 2) hydroquinone i found Obagi's worked well better than normal hydroquinone. 3) moisturize and put a silicone mask on ur face - sleep in it..( acts like a bandaid and seals mositure in ) 4) try fraxel at a reputable place and use a lower frequency - they probably had it turned up to high best of wishes i know how it feels ..dont' give up ..so many things out there now for melasma

  • Rachel Lakhi
    Posted on

    I have given up. I am Colored and had Fraxel. My face was so burnt and red. I then went to another doctor. I had Halual injections, light peels, then the Red, pulsed light, deep peels and it made my pigmentation worst. I am now again on injections and waiting to go for the light again .I spent so much and I am giving up. I also use DEMAQUEST Britee serum and cream.Please is there a way that will clear my skin? I am depressed

  • Elias
    Posted on

    Elias Dermatology in South Florida has Picosure.

  • Claire
    Posted on

    The doc recommended Picosure for my melasma. Waiting to get enough money for it.

  • Ethel Ramjit
    Posted on

    Which treatment would you recommend for melasma. Thanks

  • Yomara Ortiz
    Posted on

    Which treatment would you recommend for Melasma?

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