Have you tried treating dark spots on your own and not gotten the desired results? Do you notice new dark spots appearing as old ones fade?
If you said yes, you are not alone. One of the most common reasons that people with darker skin tones visit a dermatologist is for dark spots and patches. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the medical term for one of the causes of these dark spots. Some people simply refer to it as hyperpigmentation.
Finding out why you have these dark spots or patches is the first step in getting rid of hyperpigmentation. Many spots will clear on their own if the cause is removed, and you can prevent new ones from appearing.
What factors contribute to hyperpigmentation?
People with medium to dark skin tones develop dark spots and patches as a result of something causing their skin to produce an excess of melanin, the substance that gives skin its colour. Many everyday things can cause extra melanin to be produced in people with darker skin tones.
- When a psoriasis pimple or patch clears, dark spots and patches frequently appear.
- An insect bite, cut, burn, or other type of injury heals.
- You use (or apply) specific medications.
- Your skin is irritated by a skin or hair care product.
- Hormonal changes occur, for example, during pregnancy.
How do you treat hyperpigmentation in people with darker skin?
Treatment is determined by the cause of your hyperpigmentation. The treatment for each cause is explained below:
A skin condition such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis: To get rid of pigmentation caused by a skin condition, the skin condition must first be effectively treated. When the breakouts or flare-ups stop, you’ve eliminated the source of the hyperpigmentation.
Most dark spots will eventually fade on their own, but it may take a long time.
Skin injury: As the wound heals, you may notice a dark spot or patch on your skin. If you don’t re-injure your skin, the hyperpigmentation will fade over time.
Skin care product: When a skin or hair care product irritates your skin, it can result in dark spots.
If you notice dark spots, use gentler products. They are less prone to causing skin irritation.
Skin-friendly products are frequently labelled “for sensitive skin.” On the label, you may also see the phrase “fragrance-free.”
When your skin is no longer irritated, new dark spots stop appearing and existing spots often fade on their own.
How long does hyperpigmentation take to fade?
Once the source of the dark spots or patches is identified and eliminated, fading can take some time. A few shades darker than your natural skin colour will usually fade in 6 to 12 months.
However, if the colour is deeply embedded in your skin, it can take years to fade. Deep-seated discoloration in the skin is frequently slate blue to grey in colour. It could also be brown, but it will be much darker than your natural skin tone.
Treatment can hasten the disappearance of dark spots and patches.
What are dermatologists’ recommendations for hyperpigmentation treatments?
Sunscreen is the first step in treating dark spots and patches.
When you’re going to be outside, whether you’re treating the dark spots on your own or seeing a dermatologist, it’s critical to wear sunscreen. When used on a daily basis, sunscreen can help to prevent the formation of new dark spots and patches. It can also aid in the removal of existing ones.
Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin that clothing will not cover.
Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside for the best results.
Use a sunscreen that contains all of the following ingredients to get the protection you need to prevent (and help clear) dark spots:
- SPF 30 or greater
- Broad-spectrum defence
- Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, one (or both) of these active ingredients
- If you have oily skin, look for a non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) formula.
Use a product that will help to even out your skin tone.
Once you’ve eliminated the source of the dark spots and protected your skin from the sun, a product that can fade dark spots (or even out your skin tone) is more likely to be effective.
You might find success with a product that is available without a prescription. If you go this route, make sure to use a product that contains one of the following ingredients:
- azelaic acid
- kojic acid
- vitamin C
- glycolic acid (AHA)
These ingredients have the ability to lighten existing dark spots. In some cases, the ingredient can also slow down melanin production, which causes dark spots and patches.
Some products designed to remove dark spots cause more harm than good.
You should exercise caution when purchasing a product that can fade dark spots. Some products contain ingredients that can be extremely damaging to your skin and health.
Researchers discovered steroids or mercury in skin care products imported from other countries that were not listed on the product label.
These products’ steroids can cause pimples and rashes. If you unknowingly apply it to your skin for an extended period of time, the steroids can cause it to become thin and fragile, as well as permanently discoloured.
Is hyperpigmentation a treatable condition?
While you can remove the dark spots and patches, new ones can appear.
Although you cannot cure all forms of hyperpigmentation, you can keep it from returning. Here’s what dermatologists suggest:
- Sunscreen should be applied every two hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat when going outside.
- Avoid being outside when the sun is at its brightest, which is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Make use of skin care products that are gentle on the skin. Stop using a product if it burns or stings you when you apply it.
- Continue to look for the source of the dark spots. For example, if you have a skin condition, you should continue to treat it.
What can a dermatologist do to help with hyperpigmentation?
If the treatment you’re using isn’t producing the desired results, you should consult a dermatologist. Pigmentation treatment in Mumbai can be difficult due to the heat and pollution. A prescription-strength treatment may be required to remove some dark spots or patches.
A good dermatologist has the knowledge and expertise to combine treatments safely to help you achieve the best results.