While the warmer months are known to bring on an increase in pigmentation, facial discoloration is one of those pesky skin issues that can occur at any time in the year. Below is everything there is to know, from the key causes to treatments.
What is pigmentation?
Pigmentation, or hyperpigmentation, is the darkening of the skin in patches on the face or body. The causes include aging, certain medication, frequently moving hormones, inflammation, sun exposure, and the overproduction of melanin.
Sun spots and age freckles
Sun spots and age freckles result from over exposure in the sun and aging. You will typically see this on the face, hands and feet. To combat, always wear SPF.
Those brown or dark spots and patches on your forehead, mustache and cheeks are discoloration called melasma. Typically found in darker skin tones, it develops after hormonal factors, genetics, and sun exposure.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is traditionally due to acne and the legions that it leaves if you pick, scratch, or irritate the acne.
Unfortunately, certain medications can cause pigmentation. If you start to notice changes when you go on a new prescription, always consult your doctor.
Do I need a different treatment for each?
Short answer: Yes. Each pigmentation could lead to different treatment options, which your doctor or dermatologist will share with you. The best way to combat pigmentation is to use sun protection so you don’t further irritate the pigmentation. You can also use topical creams, like kojic acid, azelaic acid and arbutin to help with extreme cases. Below are some of the treatments you can take.
Prescription topical and oral medications
This is one to speak to your doctor about, as there are a number of medicines that can help to reduce the appearance of facial discoloration, and are best curated specifically for you by a dermatologist.
Chemical peels can either be strong and harsh, or effectively gentle. The gentle ones have Vitamin C, lactic acids, and retinods to help with pigmentation. These light peels help to break down the pigment and even out your complexion.
Light and laser treatments
The most effective way to treating hyperpigmentation is with light and laser therapy, like Fraxel, or Broad Band Light. These treatments use high intensity light to rejuvenate the skin from the inside out.
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