The Best Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation causes patches of skin to become darker than the surrounding skin. But, the condition is generally harmless. And, with the right treatment, the condition can quickly and safely be addressed.

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs due to an increase in melanin in the body. Melanin is a dark biological pigment that determines a person’s skin and hair color. The body increases its production of melanin due to pregnancy, Addison’s disease (a disorder that prevents the adrenal glands from producing sufficient hormones), or other medical conditions.

Pigmentation can cover large portions of the body or occur in small patches. Those dealing with pigmentation can experience skin discoloration on the face, arms, and legs. In some instances, the condition occurs after an injury or skin inflammation and can affect skin on any portion of the body.

Will Pigmentation Disappear on Its Own?

Pigmentation can cause permanent skin discoloration. Conversely, pigmentation can disappear on its own, regardless of whether the condition is treated by a dermatologist. 

Skin discoloration can improve over the course of three to 24 months without treatment. Yet, discolored skin can be a serious problem if it persists for an extended period of time. 

People who experience long-term skin discoloration can meet with a dermatologist to undergo an evaluation. A dermatological evaluation can be beneficial for anyone who is concerned about common risk factors associated with pigmentation on the face.

Pigmentation on the Face Risk Factors

Sun exposure and inflammation are the two biggest risk factors associated with hyperpigmentation. In either instance, people can experience increased melanin production that causes skin discoloration. Other risk factors associated with the condition include:

Dark Skin: People with dark skin are more prone than others to hyperpigmentation.

Drugs: Certain drugs can increase a person’s sensitivity to sunlight.

Skin Trauma: A skin burn or wound can lead to discoloration.

Understanding the risk factors associated with hyperpigmentation is key to address the condition in its early stages. So, if skin discoloration occurs, visit a dermatologist. At this point, the dermatologist can determine if a patient is dealing with hyperpigmentation and review different treatment options.

How Do I Get Rid of Pigmentation on My Face?

A dermatologist can evaluate a patient’s face any time pigmentation occurs. Then, the dermatologist can provide a personalized treatment. 

Many treatment options are available to treat pigmentation on the face. These include:

Topical Creams

Topical creams often include azelaic acid, corticosteroids, and other ingredients that help lighten the skin. The effectiveness of topical creams varies, and it may take a patient several months before a topical cream delivers the desired results. 

Consult with a dermatologist before using a topical cream to treat hyperpigmentation. This ensures that a patient can find a topical cream that accommodates their skin type and limits the risk of side effects.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is a non-surgical procedure used to address facial wrinkles, scars, and other skin damage. It involves resurfacing the skin to remove surface-level and deep lines and facial wrinkles. 

Laser treatment of pigmentation on the face has minimal side effects. It delivers results that can last up to five years. Also, laser skin resurfacing can be completed in conjunction with facelift surgery and other facial rejuvenation procedures.

Chemical Peel

A chemical peel involves the use of acids to remove the surface layer of the skin. 

Over-the-counter chemical peels are available. However, if these chemical peels are used incorrectly, they can cause blisters or scarring. 

Comparatively, dermatological chemical peels can provide viable alternatives to over-the-counter chemical peels. They tend to be stronger than over-the-counter chemical peels, which can increase their effectiveness. On the other hand, the strength of dermatological chemical peels also increases the risk of side effects in contrast to over-the-counter varieties.


Microdermabrasion involves the use of a drill-like handheld tool that features a wire brush or other abrasive attachment. During a microdermabrasion procedure, the tool is swiped across a patient’s skin to remove the surface layer. A typical microdermabrasion treatment requires multiple sessions to correct pigmentation on the face.

The best treatment for pigmentation on the face depends on the individual, the severity of their skin discoloration, and other factors. To determine the best course of action to address hyperpigmentation, it is important to consult with a dermatologist who understands the ins and outs of various treatment options. By meeting with this dermatologist, a patient can receive comprehensive insights into pigmentation treatment. Plus, the patient can ask questions regarding treatment and decide which one is both safe and effective to address their skin discoloration. 

What At-Home Treatments Are Available to Address Pigmentation on the Face?

In addition to the aforementioned hyperpigmentation treatments, many at-home options are available to address pigmentation on the face, including:

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera helps heal wounds and relieve sunburns. In one study, researchers found that aloe vera lightens the skin and provides a non-toxic hyperpigmentation treatment. In certain instances, doctors recommend applying aloe vera to pigmented areas of the skin before bedtime, removing aloe vera with warm water in the morning, and repeating this skincare regimen until the skin improves.

Licorice Extract

Licorice extract helps lighten dark spots and balance skin tone. It can be used as a topical solution applied via cotton swab. Or, some people use a licorice extract face mask.

Green Tea Extract

Research shows that green tea extract delivers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic effects. It also indicates that green tea extract provides a depigmenting effect when applied to the skin.

Black Tea Water

The benefits of black tea water to treat pigmentation are reflected in a study of the skin of guinea pigs. In the study, researchers found that black tea water used twice a day, six days a week for four weeks helped reduce the appearance of dark spots on guinea pigs.

None of the aforementioned at-home skin discoloration treatments offer any guarantees. To address hyperpigmentation, meeting with a dermatologist is ideal. Together, a patient and their dermatologist can explore ways to treat different types of hyperpigmentation.

What Are the Different Types of Hyperpigmentation?

Common types of hyperpigmentation include:

Age Spots

Age spots are small, discolored patches of skin. They appear on the face, hands, and other parts of the body due to excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Research shows that age spots are most common in people over the age of 40, but they can appear on individuals of all ages.


Melasma causes tan or brown patches to form on the skin, most often on the face, forehead, and stomach. The condition can also affect pregnant women but disappear on its own after a woman gives birth.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation refers to spots or patches of dark skin that occur due to an inflammatory condition. For instance, some people experience pigmentation caused by acne, which results in spots or patches on the face or neck. Hyperpigmentation can also occur due to eczema, which makes the skin itchy and red.

For people who believe that they are dealing with any of the aforementioned types of hyperpigmentation, don’t wait to meet with a dermatologist. That way, a patient can receive a proper diagnosis and find the best way to alleviate their symptoms.

How Is Hyperpigmentation Diagnosed?

To diagnose hyperpigmentation, a dermatologist first conducts a physical exam and reviews a patient’s medical history. The dermatologist may request a skin biopsy; this assessment helps the doctor pinpoint the cause of their patient’s symptoms.

If a dermatologist believes a patient is dealing with hyperpigmentation, he or she then develops a treatment plan based on the patient’s symptoms. Sometimes, a dermatologist prescribes medication that contains hydroquinone, which helps lighten the skin, to treat pigmentation. A dermatologist may also recommend topical retinoids, which can lighten dark spots on the skin over the course of several months.

A dermatologist can provide tips to help their patient minimize the risk of future skin discoloration as well. These tips often include:

Apply Sunscreen Regularly: The use of sunscreen that contains zinc oxide as a primary ingredient and has a sun protection factor of 30 or higher helps protect the skin against overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation. It is crucial to apply sunscreen approximately every two hours when going out in the sun. People should apply sunscreen more frequently if they plan to go swimming or high temperatures increase the risk of sweating.

Use Skincare Products: Many skincare products are available to help prevent pigmentation. Meet with a dermatologist before using a skincare product. A dermatologist can teach a patient about different skincare products, how they work, and their benefits. The doctor can also examine their patient and help him or her find a product that can deliver the optimal results.

Wear UV-Protective Clothing: Wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV-protective clothing and accessories to safeguard the skin against excess exposure to UV radiation that can otherwise lead to pigmentation.

Develop an Effective Skincare Regimen: Work with a dermatologist to develop a skincare regimen to guard against pigmentation. A dermatologist can provide skincare product recommendations that help their patient maintain healthy, beautiful skin.

There is no need to leave anything to chance, particularly when it comes to hyperpigmentation. By meeting with globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, those dealing with skin discoloration can take the necessary steps to treat their symptoms.

Dr. Azizzadeh’s Approach to Hyperpigmentation Treatment

As a dual board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Azizzadeh understands the challenges associated with treating hyperpigmentation. Dr. Azizzadeh also recognizes that the condition can cause a wide range of symptoms. Thus, to correct skin discoloration, Dr. Azizzadeh takes a holistic approach to treatment.

Dr. Azizzadeh provides a custom treatment plan for each patient. First, Dr. Azizzadeh learns about a patient and their pigmentation symptoms. Dr. Azizzadeh then develops a unique treatment plan for his patient. Next, Dr. Azizzadeh and his patient can put their plan into action. Dr. Azizzadeh then monitors his patient’s progress and ensures that he or she can achieve the best-possible treatment results.

Schedule a Hyperpigmentation Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today

Although many pigmentation treatment options are available, their effectiveness can vary based on the severity of the patient’s skin discoloration and other factors. By meeting with Dr. Azizzadeh, a patient can explore options to treat pigmentation on the face and find ways to prevent it from recurring. 

Dr. Azizzadeh is available to discuss different options to treat skin discoloration on the face. To schedule a treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us online or call us today at 310-657-2203.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today

Dr. Azizzadeh offers in-person and virtual consultations to people who are considering a cosmetic procedure. To find out more, please contact us today at 310-657-2203 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh.

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