Summer Hyperpigmentation Prevention and Treatment
Summer is upon us and the world is reopening: beaches, barbecues, and break-of-dawn drives to distant destinations. So here is your guide to doing all that and more while avoiding and eradicating the sunspots, age spots, and hyperpigmentation that can literally affect us all — male or female, fair-skinned, or otherwise.
Hyperpigmentation can result from a number of factors (we’ll cover the most common below) and typically isn’t harmful. It’s an ordinary occurrence for all of us. Being more than ordinary, however, we want both our beach and our beauty. And we can have them. Here’s how.
Common forms of hyperpigmentation
Let’s first look at some of the more common forms of hyperpigmentation. They include age or “liver” spots that occur due to sun damage and melasma or chloasma spots that look like age spots but are triggered by hormonal changes. Freckles are another usually more welcome form of hyperpigmentation.
In short, hyperpigmentation is the darkening of any area of the skin, caused by the overproduction of melanin. It can be caused by sun exposure that gives us those age spots and freckles, hereditary factors, hormonal fluctuations, and even some medications.
Common cause of hyperpigmentation
As the most common external cause of hyperpigmentation is ultraviolet radiation (i.e., sunlight), we’ll want to avoid overexposure after we’ve gone out and gotten our healthy dose of light and life. The most common internal cause of hyperpigmentation is hormonal changes.
Now you’re possibly asking, if hyperpigmentation is for the most part a natural reaction, why do anything about it? Glad you asked. Studies show that 80 to 90% of the aged look we see on our skin is attributable to sun exposure. If you think about this for a second it becomes quite practical: Areas of our body that look the most youthful are those not often exposed to the sun. Areas most prone to an aged look and hyperpigmentation are the areas of our body most exposed to sunlight and the UVA and UVB rays it perpetually emits: the face, the arms, legs, upper chest and neck.
So while avoiding overexposure to the sun can be a great way to prevent hyperpigmentation, that’s not always practical as we’re bound to get at least some exposure — some of which we do need.
Start by preventing overexposure
Here’s how you can enjoy the sun while avoiding its damage:
- Wear sunscreen, always. Aim for an SPF of 30 or above, and a “broad spectrum” sunscreen.
- Use sunglasses that block or filter UV light.
- Sun exposure damage is at its height from 10 am to 3 pm. Plan accordingly.
- Wear protective clothing when out.
Tackle them both: overexposure and hyperpigmentation
After a thorough review and comparison of sun protection products on the market, Dr. Rousso chose OBAGI for its three-decade focus on science and innovation and its use of safe and effective ingredients for radiant and healthy skin. Obagi Blender for example is a unique formulation of prescription-grade hydroquinone that gradually lightens hyperpigmentation and clears away dark spots, sun spots, age spots, and other skin discolorations.
Their wide range of sun protection products suits people of all skin types and colors to help prevent signs of skin aging. They also provide for both physical and chemical sunscreens, are well above the SPF threshold for UVA and UVB protection, and are available in different shades for different skin tones.
So you went full-on summer and brought back the sunspots to prove it? You’re not alone. And thankfully, they can be safely and easily reversed. Here are several of the pain-free treatments we offer for hyperpigmentation.
IPL, Intense Pulsed Light
Just as light causes us hyperpigmentation, the light of a different wavelength and at a different band of the RF spectrum can help us turn back those age spots for a healthy and even looking face and body. IPL harnesses the regenerative nature of specific lightwaves to improve skin quality and remove its flaws. IPL treatment is pain-free and effective at specifically targeting the darker cells and sunspots. It’s also adjustable and appropriate for a wide range of skin tones.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing
Yet again, light paves the way for removing those pesky age spots. Fractional laser resurfacing targets sun-damaged skin and hyperpigmentation by painlessly removing only the fine layer of skin subject to hyperpigmentation, to have it replaced by healthy, glowing skin.
Dr. Daniel Roussso specializes exclusively in facial cosmetic procedures and is the prolific author of a number of peer-reviewed scientific studies on skin and cosmetic surgery procedures. Beyond lecturing at and contributing to hundreds of post-graduate seminars as an instructor, he heads his own clinic in Alabama. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and trains physicians from around the country. If you wish to learn more, contact us today!