Treating dark spots & pigmentation irregularities

Some patients who have experienced prolonged sun exposure can suffer from inconsistencies in the color of their skin. Areas of darker skin are referred to as hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is the result of excess melanin production. Melanin is the pigment in the body that gives it color. This condition can cause your skin to look uneven and can be difficult to conceal with make-up. To treat hyperpigmentation, we offer a range of options at Hess Medical Spa.

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when your skin produces an excess amount of melanin, the component that gives your skin its color. The result is skin that looks blotchy. Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that most commonly appears as somewhat symmetric darker areas of the cheeks, forehead, nose and upper lip.

This type of hyperpigmentation is most commonly associated with pregnancy, women taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. While the most common risk factor for hyperpigmentation is sun exposure, other causes of the condition can be:

  • Skin trauma (surgery)
  • Acne
  • Darker skin color
  • Numerous diseases

Can hyperpigmentation be prevented?

Hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure may be prevented but skin care must start early. Even if you already display the effects of hyperpigmentation or melasma on your skin, you can take steps now to avoid future damage. Wearing a daily sunscreen is important to shield your skin from sun damage. You should also wear long sleeves and hats outdoors whenever possible, which will help protect your skin. Of course, limiting the sun exposure of your skin is one of the best ways to prevent damage.

How can I correct hyperpigmentation?

One of the most common corrective treatments for hyperpigmentation is clinical exfoliation. This can come in the form of demabrasion, microdermabrasion and chemical peels, like the Vi Peel. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion treatments mechanically slough off the damaged older layers of skin, revealing newer skin beneath. In addition to exfoliation, chemical peels act to disperse the melanin in the skin while promoting the generation of new skin collagen.

Microdermabrasion and light chemical peels can be used to treat minimal hyperpigmentation, while dermabrasion and deep chemical peels are often prescribed for more severe hyperpigmentation. The stronger the treatment, the longer the healing time.

Bleaching and lightening products such as kojic and azelaic acids, arbutin, vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids (lactic and glycolic acids), tretinoine and hydroquinone work by inhibiting the production of melanin.

These products tend to be less aggressive than dermabrasion and peels. Thus reduction in hyperpigmentation will be a smooth and steady process over the course of several months. However, once these agents are stopped, the hyperpigmentation will return. This is why our master aestheticians at Hess Medical Spa will help you address your hyperpigmentation through a combination of lightening products, peels, and microdermabrasion.

Call Hess Medical Spa in Fairfax, Northern Virginia at 703-752-6608 to discuss treatments for hyperpigmentation or inquire about an appointment. You can also email us with questions or comments.
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