Dark spots often make us feel imprisoned in our own skin—we have to cover up with makeup just to leave the house. And the spots only get worse in the summer!
Hyperpigmentation is more common than you might think. In fact, according to Merriam-Webster, the word hyperpigmentation is in the top 8% of words searched on their website, so we know it’s got people’s attention.
But if folks are turning to Merriam-Webster for beauty help, we know they’re desperate for simple, reliable information on hyperpigmentation.
If you’re just as dazed and confused, we got you! We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the skin condition and how to get rid of it.
Let’s start with the basics, like what on earth it is.
The word hyperpigmentation essentially means “an excessive amount of pigment.”
It’s used to describe spots or patches of skin that appear darker than the surrounding skin. It can develop anywhere on the body, from your face down to your legs.
This may take some people by surprise: there’s more than one reason we get hyperpigmentation.
For example, the most common form of hyperpigmentation, what you probably refer to as “age” or “liver” spots, develops from sun exposure. Essentially, they are signs of sun damage.
Those dark spots under your eyes? It might not be from a lack of sleep like everyone keeps telling you.
We have tons of clients come to us for help with “blotchy” skin. They don’t know what to call their dark spots or why they have them—they just know they want even and youthful skin.
Knowing the problem helps you make the right plan for solving it. So we’re going tell you about the top four most common forms of hyperpigmentation our clients come in to treat and why they develop.
The 4 Most Common Forms Of Hyperpigmentation (Why They Develop and How To Eliminate Them Forever)
When you find out what is causing your hyperpigmentation, you will have clarity on how to begin your plan to eliminate it forever.
Which one of these sounds most like you?
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that is caused by hormonal changes.
Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of hormonal changes, so it’s not a shocker that this is when most women develop melasma. Those fluctuating hormones can trigger an overproduction of melanin that will often result in dark patches on their faces, abdomen, and elsewhere.
Women on birth control have been known to develop melasma as well. That’s because the pill creates hormonal changes similar to pregnancy.
Sometimes extra melanin is created after your skin has been irritated or injured to help protect and heal the skin—this is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
This kind of hyperpigmentation can happen to anyone, but it seems to plague darker skin tones more often and more aggressively.
PIH can be a side-effect of a burn due to a skin treatment gone wrong, like laser therapy. It can also creep up after infections, eczema, and acne (as you’ll learn in the next section).
Acne causes inflammation—which you now know is a trigger for hyperpigmentation. That’s why those with acne often get dark spots where pimples heal.
The more inflamed the breakout is, the darker and larger the spot is. Clients are always telling us they can’t help picking at their acne. If you fall into that camp, this might motivate you to quit: picking at acne inflames it even more and only makes hyperpigmentation worse.
Everyone complains about dark circles around their eyes, but what people are referring to isn’t always the same thing. For example, some people have purple and blue shades under their eyes that drive them crazy. Others are referring to tan or brown circles around their eyes—this category of people is talking about periorbital hyperpigmentation, also known as periocular hyperpigmentation.
Periorbital hyperpigmentation can develop for a variety of reasons. It can be a side-effect of the natural aging process, and other times it’s a form of PIH. But more often than not, it’s a hereditary condition your ancestors passed on to you (you can thank mom and dad after you’ve finished reading this blog post).
Now that we’ve covered a few of the main forms of hyperpigmentation that people deal with, let’s get to the section we know you’re dying to get to—how to get rid of the dark spots
Does skincare actually help? Yes! High quality skincare like this one can absolutely help with hyperpigmentation, the only downside is— it can take months to see results and requires frequent and consistent use (which can get expensive).
With Lasers on the other hand, you will see immediate results with 1-3 treatments and the results are permanent.
Becuase of this, most of our patients wisely opt for lasers rather than the skincare.
The next question is…
Which Laser Treatment is Right for You?
Trying to choose from an abundance of treatments can leave you more confused than when you started.
So here are our top 3 most popular and effective treatments for hyperpigmentation.
IPL uses highly filtered and controlled bursts of light in different wavelengths to zap away hyperpigmentation.
We recommend three sessions of IPL to effectively break down hyperpigmentation because larger and darker spots fade in degrees.
Each session takes anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes, and most patients describe the light pulses as feeling like a warm rubber band snaps. After the session, you’ll notice the brown spots getting darker. Don’t freak out! This is the normal process. Dark spots will look like fine coffee grounds for a few days and then slough off.
Not only will you see your hyperpigmentation fade, but you’ll also notice burst capillaries and rosacea fade. And we know you’ll love that it requires no downtime! So, if you don’t have time to set aside for recovery, this is a great route to take.
However, there is a condition; IPL is best for light skin tones. Because IPL targets pigmentation, it can irritate dark skin tones.
If you want to treat hyperpigmentation more aggressively and don’t mind some downtime, CO2 Laser Resurfacing is for you.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing is the most effective non-surgical method to improve the appearance of your skin overall and hyperpigmentation specifically. It uses highly specialized lasers to remove dead and damaged skin cells and stimulate collagen production. Who doesn’t love a collagen boost?
A CO2 treatment takes between 30 to 45 minutes. You can expect it to take at least two weeks to heal.
So far, we’ve gone over treatments that are recommended for lighter skin tones. But what if you’re darker in skin tone and want to treat hyperpigmentation? You’re not without options!
The Pico laser works wonders and is safe for all skin types! Usually, lasers are not recommended for darker skin tones because they can cause burns and PIH. But the Pico laser converts the laser energy into gentle ultra-short pulses.
The Pico seeks out hyperpigmentation and sends out pulses that shatter pigment build-up. The pigment is broken into tiny particles that your body then removes. On top of that, it also stimulates new collagen production, treats fine lines, and improves scarring.
You’re probably wondering about downtime. We’re happy to say that there is none with Pico. It’s non-ablative, so it doesn’t break the skin; the most you’ll deal with after treatment is looking like you have a mild sunburn.
That's a great question and an important one. We won’t be able to give you an exact answer without a consultation (everyone’s skin and goals are different), but most people get started for as little as $460.
When you compare that price to skin care which requires a $645 subscription, and months to see results, you begin to see why most of our patients decide to go the laser route.
But, If that price still seems daunting, please ask us about our interest-free payment plan options so you can get freedom from the insecurity now, and pay later.
A quick phone call or text message is all it takes to take the next step on your journey to living completely confidant in your appearance. We would be honored to be a part of your journey.
If you have any questions or would like to see our availability, give us a call or text at: (916) 472-2736