Understanding Hyperpigmentation and How to Treat It

There are many reasons why you might experience a change in your skin's appearance, such as disease, aging, or sun exposure. If you notice a change in your skin, you may be concerned as to the cause. Especially if you develop blemishes on your face, this can change your appearance and affect your self-image.

One such common condition that manifests with darker areas of skin on the face and other regions is hyperpigmentation. Although it is most often harmless, hyperpigmentation can be a source of stress because of its effect on one's appearance. Fortunately, there are several treatment methods. Below we will share ways to treat hyperpigmentation and how to prevent this condition by protecting your skin.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is when the skin produces excess melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), resulting in darker patches of skin. As previously indicated, this condition is usually not cause for alarm, though at times it can indicate another medical condition.

Although hyperpigmentation occurs more frequently in women, it affects men as well. It is also more common in persons with Hispanic, Asian, and African heritage. Specifically, for men, researchers have found that it occurs more often in dark-skinned men of African and Asian descent than was previously thought.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

There are different types of hyperpigmentation, including melasma, sunspots, and post-inflammatory.

  • Melasma – This type of hyperpigmentation may be caused by hormonal changes, especially for women, and is commonly found on the face, stomach, arms, and legs.
  • Sunspots – Also referred to as liver spots, this kind of hyperpigmentation results from chronic sun exposure. Anywhere the body has been exposed to the sun over time can develop sunspots such as the face, arms, legs, and hands.
  • Post-inflammatory – Hyperpigmentation can also occur after an injury or skin inflammation. Cuts, burns, bruises, or acne are factors that can cause hyperpigmentation to appear in various areas on the body.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Usually, a doctor can determine if you have hyperpigmentation by looking at your skin. He may also use a light called a Wood's light to examine your skin further to make a diagnosis.

Stereotypically, it is believed that men are less concerned about issues related to their skin as compared to women. However, as more men are taking an interest in skincare for health and appearance reasons, understanding how to best treat hyperpigmentation in men is essential.

Prevention

Studies have shown that for melasma patients, males report more sun exposure than females. One of the main approaches to preventing hyperpigmentation is reducing sun exposure. For this reason, it is recommended that persons with this condition or those who may be genetically disposed to hyperpigmentation always protect their skin with sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher and to decrease time spent in the sun during peak hours.

Treatment

There are many treatments for hyperpigmentation, including products you can use at home or therapies available in a doctor's office.

Here are some approaches for managing hyperpigmentation that are available over the counter:

  • Lightening creams – These can be used to help lighten the skin over time. They are most effective for age spots and melasma. You can purchase a topical cream at a store, or there are more potent prescription-strength formulas.
  • Face acids – These acids work by exfoliating the skin, giving you a smoother, more toned appearance. Look for products that contain glycolic, lactic, kojic, salicylic acid, or vitamin C.
  • Retinoids – Products containing retinoids (a derivative of vitamin A) can penetrate deep into the skin. Consider products with a combination of retinoids and hyaluronic acid to combat age spots, dryness, and wrinkles.
  • Chemical peels – Peels use acids that are more strongly concentrated. By removing the top layer of the skin, a chemical peel can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. A peel that contains glycolic acid may help to reduce age spots and wrinkles.

Other techniques for treating hyperpigmentation are performed by a doctor:

  • Laser peels – Also referred to as skin resurfacing, in this method, a doctor uses lasers to remove layers of your skin to reduce hyperpigmentation.
  • Intense pulse light therapy – Another type of laser treatment, intense pulse light therapy (IPL), helps to stimulate collagen growth and works well for pigmentation issues that are relatively flat areas.
  • Microdermabrasion – This technique reduces hyperpigmentation by removing the top layer of the skin.
  • Dermabrasion – Similar to microdermabrasion, dermabrasion removes the top layer of skin and part of the second layer. This treatment can be particularly useful for acne scars, age spots, injury scars, and sun damage.

Improving the health of your skin begins with knowledgeable skincare advice. Whether you are dealing with hyperpigmentation or simply want to find out how you can better care for your skin, contact HIMistry Naturals to learn more about skincare specifically for men.