You might have heard about hyperpigmentation from your dermatologist or a skincare company. But if you didn’t completely understand this skin condition — and you want to know how it develops, how to remove it, etc. — or if you have questions about this skin condition, this article can be of help.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can be one or multiple skin patches or spots that appear much darker than your skin color. It is a cell mutation caused by changes in hormones, an injury like sunburn, acne, peeling from chemicals or any treatments, or inflammation. The darker areas of hyperpigmentation are excess deposits of melanin. And although it is harmless and common, having hyperpigmentation can make people more conscious about their looks. In fact, some people try to conceal it with cosmetic products, while some try to deal with it with professional help.
What are the Common Causes of Hyperpigmentation?
Age spots: As we age, brown, black or tan skin spots may develop on our hands, face, and/or head. These mostly affect light-skinned individuals and are caused by too much exposure from the sun.
Melasma: Usually caused by hormonal changes, melasma is common in women, especially those who are pregnant. It is composed of large patches of darkened skin that can appear on the face or stomach. Those with darker skin are more likely to have melasma.
Inflammation: This is caused by autoimmune reactions from skin conditions like acne and eczema or a skin injury. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears on the face and neck, and its appearance may vary depending on the skin tone. Inflammation can happen to anyone, regardless of skin color and origin.
How Can I Treat Hyperpigmentation?
There are different treatment options for hyperpigmentation, depending on your skin tone. Fair skin can be treated by most hyperpigmentation procedures, such as laser treatments and micro peeling. Medium skin usually reacts better with chemical peels and microdermabrasion therapy. Darker skin can benefit from using glycolic acid, kojic acid, microdermabrasion in a low setting, lower-strength chemical peels, and low-intensity laser treatments.
Some important things to watch out for when treating hyperpigmentation include:
- Take a lot of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps fight dark spots. Vitamin C helps prevent melanin production by inhibiting tyrosinase enzymes, causing lighten pigmentation and making normal skin brighter.
- Another way to treat hyperpigmentation is to re-injure the skin's affected area, flushing the pigment to the surface.
- There are topical creams or even home remedies (i.e., aloe vera, green tea, and licorice) that can be used to help heal hyperpigmentation. Some people find them effective, while others find other treatments with the same purpose as these treatments more effective. Red light therapy is one example.
- Dark skin should be treated more carefully to prevent hypopigmentation, development of white spots that cannot be reversed.
Is Light Therapy Effective in Treating hyperpigmentation?
Photobiomodulation is another name for red light therapy. It may help the body produce more energy and regenerate the skin by using natural light. This can also be used on hyperpigmentation and other skin injuries like acne, inflammation, burns, and scars. When used consistently, light therapy is highly effective in reducing and healing hyperpigmentation patches and helping them return to normal pigment levels.
Red light therapy is a powerful, advanced relief for skin inflammation. Skin cells heal and rejuvenate better when exposed to healthy wavelengths of light, which can help treat hyperpigmentation.
Why is Red Light Therapy Better than Near-infrared Light Therapy in Treating Hyperpigmentation?
There’s a study that shows near-infrared light can help produce tyrosinase enzyme, which prevents melanin production. This helps patients with vitiligo stimulate melanocytes, the same compound in vitamin C that helps lighten hyperpigmentation. But the truth is, there is no clear clinical consensus among photomedicine researches about using near-infrared light for hyperpigmentation.
Red light wavelengths are considered to be safe as it does not stimulate the production of pigment. It creates healthy wavelengths of light to help the skin cells heal and rejuvenate naturally.
When can Results be Seen After Doing Light Therapy to Treat Hyperpigmentation?
Results can be seen after several treatments done per week. The level of skin improvement depends on how consistently you use red light therapy. Also, the more consistent and the more careful you are in the process, the better the results you can see. Be sure not to pick or touch the treated areas to avoid infection or irritation.
Light therapy, especially when combined with other treatment options, can greatly help remove hyperpigmentation. To learn more benefits of red light therapy, you may reach out to us. We offer safe and easy-to-use light therapy devices that physicians use both for aesthetic and medical purposes. Meanwhile, if you have more questions about hyperpigmentation, please reach out to your dermatologist.