Hyperpigmentation can occur for myriad reasons, from pregnancy hormones, to age and genes and even drug side effects. If you notice patches of darker skin on your body, you may be suffering from hyperpigmentation, Luckily, some hyperpigmentation is easily faded and resolves with simple lifestyle changes. Otherwise, lightening creams and other remedies can help. Once you've tried various remedies, scheduling an appointment with your doctor may be the key to a more even and clearer complexion.
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Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week. What you may think of as hyperpigmentation can sometimes be a build up of dead skin cells in the folds of your skin, like your neck or armpits. Using an exfoliating scrub twice a week can help slough away dead skin cells to erase dark patches. Just squeeze a small amount of scrub solution onto a loofah or your fingers and rub the darkened area in a circular motion. Rinse and pat dry.
Apply a cream that contains hydroquinone, an ingredient which can effectively fade dark spots on the skin, notes the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Take care when using these products though. They should not be used for more than three weeks at a time without the direct supervision of your dermatologist, as they can cause severe skin irritation.
Wear sunscreen anytime you're exposed to the sun, suggests MedlinePlus. Hyperpigmentation can manifest as age spots, which are darkened spots on your face, neck and chest after you expose them to the sun. Wearing sunscreen can help stop darkening. If your hyperpigmentation is caused by melasma, sometimes called "pregnancy mask," protecting your skin from the sun can help fade the darker patches of skin around your nose.
Schedule an appointment with your general health care provider about the drugs you currently take. Some prescription drugs can cause hyperpigmentation, warns the Merck Manual. If your hyperpigmentation comes on suddenly and is the cause of prescription drug, your doctor can suggest other drugs or reduce your dosage to help fade your hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, so it's important to go in for a checkup.
Visit a dermatologist to talk about treatment options. Certain types of pigmentation, especially those that are genetic, cannot be treated with simple exfoliation and sun protection. Instead, your dermatologist can explain options like laser treatment therapy and chemical peels to you. Together, you can choose a treatment option that will work best for your skin type and help to fade patches of hyperpigmentation for a more even skin tone.