Hyperpigmentation goes by many names; liver spots, sun spots, or melasma to name a few. Almost everyone has some form of hyperpigmentation, but good news! There are treatments and topical products to help prevent and control hyperpigmentation. This pigment is caused by an excess production of melanin, which gives your skin and hair its color. There are many triggers for melanin production including genetics, changes in hormones, medications, and sun exposure.
There are 3 types of hyperpigmentation – melasma, sun spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma is caused by hormonal changes usually during pregnancy, with the use of birth control, or hormone replacement therapy. Sunspots are caused by prolonged UV exposure. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) usually follows an inflammatory wound like acne. PIH normally presents itself as small red spots where breakouts occur.
Preventing hyperpigmentation is as easy as wearing your SPF every day. Yes – that easy! The best SPF is made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Our favorite SPF here at ZONA is Revision Skincare’s Intellishade; it’s an anti-aging moisturizer with SPF and a little bit of tint. Nothing you do will be effective if you aren’t protected from the sun! Other UV protection can be a hat, umbrella, or clothing.
Thankfully, there is an array of in office treatments that can help with hyperpigmentation. Our favorite treatments are the VI Peel Precision Plus and Microneedling. The VI Peel Precision Plus is formulated with hydroquinone and kojic acid to inhibit pigmentation while exfoliating your skin to reveal new, glowing skin. This peel is the ultimate treatment choice when it comes to treating Melasma. Microneedling is another great option. Microneedling uses an automated pen with tiny needles to create micro-injuries to the skin to produce a trauma response. These tiny needles break up the pigmentation below the skin’s surface. Many spas will treat Melasma with laser treatments, but here at ZONA we highly advise against laser treatments for Melasma specifically. Heat often triggers Melasma. So the laser treatment may take away the pigmentation temporarily, there’s a high possibility that your pigmentation will come back just as bad, and in some cases even worse! Laser treatments like an IPL Photofacial or Pixel Resurfacing can help to reduce and eliminate sun/age spots and freckling, just not solid pigment like melasma.
There are many topical treatment options, but it’s really important that you pick one and commit to it. Results don’t happen overnight and it’s crucial to have realistic expectations when treating hyperpigmentation. Key ingredients include hydroquinone, glycolic acid, retinol, vitamin c, and kojic acid to name a few. Many of these ingredients act as a tyrosinase inhibitor, meaning they slow down the production of melanin in the skin. Hydroquinone is the most used ingredient, but it’s very important to know that hydroquinone can only be used for a short period of time.