Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common reasons that patients consult the office of dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. There are a number of reasons for hyperpigmentation ranging from sun damage (whether overexposure or lack of sunscreen / sun protection use), to melasma, to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, to side effects of lasers such as the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), Fraxel and Picosure Laser. All too often it’s not the laser, but rather the mismatch between laser and skin type which is the cause of this skin condition. When the incorrect laser is matched with wrong skin type, and too much energy or Joules are used to treat these patients, the result is hyperpigmentation, which can also cause irritation on more sensitive skin types. One of the most common problems that patients seek out Dr. Green is the treatment of this hyperpigmentation and its removal.
Hyperpigmentation caused by Sun Exposure
Patients who have hyperpigmentation from the sun can manifest itself in several ways. Melanin is responsible for creating the skin tone, as well as patchy areas of darker skin / pigmented tissue. Some patients have overall skin discoloration and others have discrete sunspots that need to be treated. Whether it is overall skin lightening or discrete areas of the face or body that need to be treated, the best way to treat this hyperpigmentation (overproduction of melanin) depends largely on the skin type of the patient.
In type I and II patients, hyperpigmentation from sun damage can be safely treated with the Fraxel Dual laser, at the 1927 setting, or with Chemical Peels which consist of active ingredients such as Glycolic acid and Salicylic acid, using hydroquinones and Retin-A or Retinols to expedite this process. Discrete sun spots can be safely and effectively treated with the Candela Alex-Trivantage laser and typically it takes only one or two treatments to remove these spots on the face, chest, or body.
Female 35-44, Cosmelan, 2 & 1/2 months post treatment
Sun damage exposure can also be treated with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy. This uses a special pulse laser approach which helps to damage the melanin (skin pigmentation) responsible for causing skin discolorations such as age spots.
Treatment of Melasma
Melasma is more difficult to treat, especially if patients had previous laser treatments. Over the past few years with the increase expansion of the cosmetic laser market I have seen too many patients with melasma being treated with these lasers. Typically these patients have a skin type III or darker and are told that the laser is safe for their skin type. Sadly, the melasma or post-inflammatory pigmentation is more difficult to treat in these instances and can take several months or longer to clear. Cosmelan peels in conjunction with compounded Retin-A and Hyroquinones is the best way to treat this hyperpigmentation and I have had great success with this method. Once a patient suffers from hyperpigmented as a result of one of these lasers, strict sun avoidance is necessary and they should not attempt any other of these types of laser treatments.
Treatment for hyperpigmentation from acne
Treated for Hyperpigmentation from Acne – 1 Month
Many acne patients also suffer from hyperpigmentation as a result of the way the acne itself heals. Sometimes the acne causes scars and depressions and at other times the acne results in pigmentation, or dark marks, which appear as scars. The MGSKINLABS, Inc. product line has a unique set of compounded products replete with Vitamin C serums, hydroquinones, sunblocks, and retinoids that will resolve and treat these dark marks from acne. This post-inflammatory pigmentation can also treated effectively with both Trichloroacetic acid peels and Cosmelan peels to make the skin smooth and even and remove the dark spots.
Hyperpigmentation due to pregnancy and hormonal changes
Another occassional hyperpigmentation issue is known as the “mask of pregnancy.” During pregnancy, your body produces more hormones, which causes hyperpigmentation in some women. However in most cases, these dark areas of skin will fade in the months after delivery. This is known as chloasma, and is triggered by hormones that cause an over-production of melanin. If the pigmentation doesn’t clear on its own, Dr. Green has found Cosmelan to be the most effective treatment in her practice.
If you are suffering from hyperpigmentation as a result of acne, melasma, the sun, or lasers, contact us online today or call our NYC based office at 212-535-3088 to learn more about why Dr. Michele Green is a trusted dermatology expert in facial hyperpigmentation and other types of skincare treatment.