The desire for even skin tone drives many people to their dermatologist or skin care specialist seeking help. The majority of clients I see daily have hyperpigmentation (also called age or brown spots)  caused by overexposure to UV light from the sun or from tanning beds. It can also be hormonally induced, as in melasma, or due to acne and the discoloration left on the skin after blemishes heal, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Age, genetics, lifestyle choices, and some chronic health conditions can all be factors is in the development of hyperpigmentation.

Melanogenesis is the name of the process that results in pigment formation and its deposits within the skin, and is triggered by either inflammatory or hormonal stimulus. A complex chain reaction of chemical processes within the skin occurs as it tries to protect DNA within the cell from damage, eventually leading to pockets of pigment and hyperpigmentation.

Clients ask me regularly, “Are there any good products to help with the brown spots?” The answer is yes, there are some products formulated containing ingredients effective at improving hyperpigmentation. A short list of ingredients known to be good lightening agents include hydroquinone, L-ascorbic acid, kojic acid, lactic acid, and retinoids. The most effective methods combine a number of lightening ingredients. Patience and proper product usage are key to achieving results. It may take a number of months to see the full benefit of a lightening skin care program or treatment.

Once the hyperpigmentation is improved, it is critical to maintain the results with products to support healthy skin. This means daily use (yes, 365) of a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30spf, and containing a proper amount of physical barrier, like zinc and or titanium dioxide. When summer finally does arrive in Minnesota, large brim hats and sun protective clothing can also help minimize overexposure to UVB radiation.

Solutions to improve and manage hyperpigmentation do exist. Skin care products, specialized peels, and certain types of laser treatments can be effective methods to treat the condition. I recommend booking a skin care consultation to begin the process of choosing the right treatment method for you.


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