Hyperpigmentation of the skin is one of the most difficult conditions to completely reverse on your own. Whether triggered by sun exposure, fluctuating hormones, or an inflammatory response, these dark spots often need a professional-strength treatment to achieve the results you want.
Because of the aesthetic consequences and impact on self-esteem, skin hyperpigmentation is a common condition treated at our practice. When melasma, freckles, or sunspots are recalcitrant and increasingly bothersome, it's time to see a board-certified dermatologist at Dallas Dermatology Partners.
We customize a treatment protocol based on skin tone, sensitivity levels, and the particular kind of hyperpigmentation you have-- solar lentigines, melasma, or another condition that causes uneven pigmentation. IPL and resurfacing lasers are excellent modalities for treating photo-aged skin and removing hyperpigmentation on the face, neck, hands, and chest. Professional-grade chemical peels are also effective for clearing unwanted pigmentation and promoting a radiant, even-toned complexion.
What causes skin hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation affects all skin types and occurs when the body produces excess melanin-- the pigment cells that give skin its color. It creates spots or patches that are darker than the surrounding skin. There are a variety of external factors that cause the skin's melanocyte cells to go into overdrive. The most common culprits are free radical damage from UV exposure, changing hormone levels, and trauma to the skin.
Post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) is a darkening of the skin that follows a cutaneous trauma or injury such as a burn, acne lesion, or allergic reaction that causes inflammation. PIH can occur with all skin types but is more prevalent in darker skin tones. Advanced lasers and chemical peel treatments safely target PIH in light and deeper-toned complexions.
Melasma is more common in women and is also known as the "mask of pregnancy" since the condition is tied to rising hormone levels. This type of hyperpigmentation can also be triggered by oral contraceptive use and hormone therapy, but chronic sun exposure may also play a role.
Using a broad-spectrum SPF35 or greater is recommended, even if you are staying indoors. Melasma is characterized by patchy, well-demarcated areas of hyperpigmentation on the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, and upper lip. The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. It is often a combination of brightening topical agents and low energy laser treatments.
Solar lentigines are harmless areas of pigmentation that are also called "age spots" or "liver spots." With age and prolonged UV exposure, these pigmented spots become more noticeable. Whereas freckles typically develop before three years of age, lentigines form later in life. They are flat, well-demarcated spots that usually develop on the face, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of skin. Their color varies from a light brown to a deeper black, and the spots can be over one inch in diameter. Age spots can be removed with any number of the following treatments: cryotherapy, laser therapy, chemical peel, or topical peels and lotions.
How We Treat Hyperpigmentation
Randomly sprinkled liver spots, melasma patches, and discoloration can age the skin considerably. That's why hyperpigmentation treatment has such an immediate rejuvenating effect. Depending on your condition, our dermatologists may recommend medical-strength topicals such as vitamin A, kojic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, or hydroquinone—all clinically proven to diminish dark pigment or inhibit melanin for a brighter complexion. Other potential treatment modalities are discussed in detail below.
Topical products may be used in conjunction with a chemical peel for optimal results. Peels are formulated with potent actives like Glycolic, Salicylic, or Trichloroacetic acid. They are used to exfoliate surface layers to remove brown spots and encourage cell turnover. Chemical skin peels can be mild to very deep and are concentrated to suit different skin types and concerns. In addition to helping lighten age spots, chemical peels help improve skin texture and signs of sun damage. Learn more about a chemical peel for hyperpigmentation.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy can tackle everything from freckles and age spots to pigmented lesions during a 30-to-60-minute session. This hyperpigmentation treatment is virtually painless and can be used on the face, chest, and hands. You can expect clearer skin several days following the treatment without any downtime.
Different types of lasers target melanin in the superficial or deeper layers of skin, causing the spots to darken, flake over, and eventually fall off after the therapy. Our dermatologists use non-ablative resurfacing lasers that create micro-injuries in targeted skin areas-- correcting pigmentation and promote collagen remodeling.
After a laser or chemical peel treatment, a good skincare regimen and daily sun protection are crucial to maintaining the results. Keep in mind that sunspots and other types of hyperpigmentation can continue to develop over the years-- arising from environmental exposure, your genetic makeup, and even certain medications.
Hyperpigmentation Dermatologist in Dallas
Hyperpigmentation of all types can be reversed with the right treatments-- mild chemical peel, skin resurfacing laser, or potent brightening agent. Because all dark spots are not created equal, our dermatologists develop a personalized treatment plan that can target everything from hormone-induced melasma to stubborn patches of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Many of these treatments have the added benefit of triggering collagen production and giving the skin a dewy, radiant glow.
Schedule your Dallas dermatology appointment to learn more about treating your hyperpigmentation for a beautiful, more even-toned complexion.