What is Hyperpigmentation?
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation is a major and common problem for many people, which may be caused due to overexposure to the sun over a number of years, hormonal changes in the body or due to certain medications, and diseases such as Addison’s disease. People want even skin tone, but hyperpigmentation is very common in all skin types from fair to dark skin. Hyperpigmentation is known by various other names including dark spots, age spots, sun spots, brown spots and melasma.
Sun exposure stimulates melanocytes present in human skin, which in turn, produces pigment called melanin. Pigment formation by the skin is an attempt to shield skin from the sun. However, after years of sun exposure, this skin damage becomes visible in the form of pigmented spots called hyperpigmentation. It is difficult for people to prevent pigmentation, especially if it’s the result of having a genetic condition or hormonal changes.
Pigmentation caused by the sun exposure can be prevented by wearing sun protection factor (SPF) every day or by avoiding being in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Luckily, there are various non-surgical cosmetic treatments available that can reduce these dark spots.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment: IPL treatment helps to clear some types of hyperpigmentation. During the IPL treatment, a beam of light is transmitted, which is absorbed by melanin present in skin tissue. The procedure lasts for 30 minutes. Three to six treatments are required at an interval of 2-3 weeks. It is a non-invasive treatments and suitable for all skin types.
Q-switch , Ruby , Gemeni , Frazel , Erbium or Co2 laser treatments
Chemical Peels: In this procedure, acids are used to remove damaged top layers of skin and reveal the healthier skin cells underneath such as Cosmelan, TCA peel, Herbal Aktive Peel , etc .
Chemical peels are generally used for mild cases of hyperpigmentation. They also smoothens the skin, clear acne, shrink enlarged pores and improve Rosacea (redness).
Microdermabrasion: This gentle exfoliation process can improve milder cases of hyperpigmentation. A handheld device is used to remove the dead cells present in the top layer of the skin. Microdermabrasion stimulates skin to produce more collagen. It makes skin look fresher fast, but needs several treatments.
Bleaching Agents: Bleaching agents such as Hydroquinone is used for treating hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone inhibits the production of melanin in skin.
Hydrafacial: This treatment includes intense cleansing and hydration along with a mild acid peel and blackhead extractions. This treatment makes skin look refreshing and brighter. It is helpful for people to even out skin tone with mild discoloration. It is also called hydradermabrasion.
Who is the best candidate?
Darkened regions of the skin are caused due to tanning when skin is very sensitive to sun exposure. Above mentioned treatment methods are suitable for:
- People with sun damage and who desire more healthier and youthful skin.
- People who don’t want to take time off to heal from chemical peels can opt for IPL Treatment or Hydrafacial.
- People who want to improve their skin without interfering with social or outdoor activities.
- People who experience flushing and redness of their skin.
People with darkly pigmented skin should be very cautious about using chemical peels. In IPL treatment, one can feel a brief sting which has minimal discomfort. Redness occurs in the pigmented area, but this is temporary. Hydrafacial is relatively a fast treatment process, but people can feel soreness, if their skin is supersensitive. Psoriasis patients should not have microdermabrasions as the treatment can worsen their condition.
What is the Cost?
- The price of the mirco-dermabrasion treatment depends on the condition of the skin. On an average, the treatment can cost between $75 and $200.
- The treatment using chemical peels can cost around $100–$2000 depending on the type and complexity of the procedure.
- The non-invasive IPL laser treatment is recommended for people with more pronounced hyperpigmentation. It costs around $150 - $300 per session depending on the size of the area being treated.
- The average cost of hydrafacial treatment is between $160 and $220. To get the exact cost of each of these treatments, one should consult skin specialist or cosmetic surgeon.