Think those dark spots on your face or body have to be with you forever? Hyperpigmentation has a variety of causes. But with an array of treatments available, you can get rid of discoloration for good. In order to diminish hyperpigmentation you must always protect your skin from the sun, otherwise you run the risk of it returning. Once you find a regimen that works for you, stick with it—even if it requires a lifetime of maintenance— to prevent your discoloration from ever returning.
- Large dark patches are known as “the mask of pregnancy,” melasma is one of the harder types of hyperpigmentation to correct because it is tied to estrogen and progesterone and can affect the deep dermal layers of the skin.
- Isolated discoloration or sunspots appear from prolonged sun exposure over extended periods of time. In more mature skin, sunspots may be accompanied by skin that has a crinkly texture. Sunspots vary in size and color—they can be dark brown or gray, or almost black, and are usually flat, but bigger than a freckle. They’re normally found on the hands, sides of the face, chest and neck, and any other part of the body that’s regularly exposed to the sun.
- Clusters of small brown spots know as freckles, are small (about the size of a pinhead) and flat. They can vary in color from brown to red to tan and can be found on any part of the body that’s exposed to the sun, like the face, nose, shoulders and chest.
- Spots after breakouts are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Long after a breakout or inflammation has healed, its effects may linger with red or brown spots known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH appears as spots that can be brown (if the excess melanin is produced in the upper layers of skin or if your skin is naturally dark), red or pink (if your skin is pale) or gray or blue (if the extramelanin is made in the dermis). The skin is still smooth to the touch. The more inflamed the breakout the darker the spot; spots that fade in days or weeks contain less inflammation. The darker the scar, the longer it will take to heal.
The Kopelson Clinic recommends Pulsed Dye Cosmetic Laser treatment and IPL treatment all as excellent non-invasive ways to treat red spots and brown spots. Recently these procedures have been perfected in such a way that they do not injure the skin’s surface; hence, discomfort and downtime are kept to a minimum.