Your skin is the first thing people see and while beauty goes more than skin deep, you want your skin to make a good first impression. Discolored skin can occur any place on your body and appears as areas of skin that are a different shade, texture or color, than your natural skin tone. In the medical profession, this is commonly referred to as hyperpigmentation.
There are three primary types of hyperpigmentation:
- Melasma: this usually occurs during pregnancy as a result of hormonal fluctuations. It can also present as a result of a thyroid dysfunction and as a side effect of some birth control or hormone therapy medications.
- Lentigines: what we call dark spots, caused by overexposure to UV rays. This type mostly affects people over 60.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): this is caused by damage to the skin such as acne, burns, psoriasis and as a reaction to some skin care treatments.
Although there are different types of hyperpigmentation, and you should consult a dermatologist to determine which type you have, the treatment for all types is relatively the same. There are two treatment routes you can take to treat skin discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation: Do-It-Yourself and Professional Treatment.
DIY: Do It Yourself
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Skin Brightening Cream
You want to look for a product that reduces skin pigmentation by preventing skin reddening and limiting melanin production. The product should contain peptides to boost collagen and antioxidant ingredients. A good example of this is SkinAgain’s Youth Anti-Wrinkle Brightening Cream. This cream contains both green tea and ginkgo biloba extracts to prevent premature aging and restore damaged skin. It also contains Rumex Occidentalis, a powerful natural color corrector.
Vitamin C and Tea
Foods rich in Vitamin C contain antioxidants that have been proven to restore collagen. Research also shows that Vitamin C can help to treat sun damaged skin. If you want to double your antioxidant intake, drink tea made from red clover, milk thistle and burdock. These properties help to reduce the appearance of discolored skin.
Hyperpigmentation is treatable but the best treatment is prevention. Never go outside without proper sun protection and prevent indoor sun exposure by slightly lowering the blinds and installing sun shades in your car. Moisturize daily and drink plenty of water. Do these things and your skin will always make a great first impression.
Ask your doctor for a prescription for retinol A cream or Topical hydroquinone. These creams contain alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) and retinoids. Their application helps to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin, resulting in a gradual improvement of all types of hyperpigmentation.
Chemical peels are an effective but expensive and sometimes painful way of removing discolored patches of skin. Salicylic acid or glycolic acid is applied to the skin which causes the skin to loosen, allowing it to be peeled off. After this procedure your skin may be extra sensitive to the sun and some skin care products.
A q-switch or intense pulse laser treatment can be used to lighten darkened skin areas. The treatment works by delivering laser energy to the discolored areas in short bursts. The laser energy forces the darkened cells to break up and dissipate. However, several treatments may be needed for complete removal. This process reduces redness and improves your skin’s fine lines, wrinkles and overall feel.
Microdermabrasion involves a “sanding” procedure, whereby a technician removes the top, affected layer of skin, allowing for a new, polished layer of skin to emerge. Tiny exfoliating crystals are sprayed onto the skin, resulting in subtle changes to the skin. The process is gradual and several treatments, spaced several weeks apart, is required.
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