How to Treat Post-Summer Hyperpigmentation

Even if you apply sunscreen to your body every time you step outside throughout the summer, it’s not uncommon to detect some dark spots by the time autumn arrives.

“After summer, the majority of patients visit their dermatologists with concerns about hyperpigmentation. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and melasma are the most common culprits, both of which are caused by UV exposure and heat “Dr. Kathleen Viscusi of Dermatology and Surgery Specialists of North Atlanta confirms this.

While PIH resembles the annoying pigment spot that remains after a pimple heals, melasma (also caused by hormones) generates larger areas that are generally darker over the mouth, forehead, cheeks, and chin.

“Women with darker skin tones, specifically Fitzpatrick skin types III-VI, are the most affected by these due to increased melanin production,” Dr. Viscusi explains. “However, the mask has been a persistent concern in all of my patients, resulting in continuous PIH around the mouth.”

Dr. Viscusi notes that seeking for one or two important elements in a product will make a big impact in controlling black patches.

“Great options are available in a variety of product types, including moisturizers, toners, and serums – the components are the genuine deal when it comes to pigmentation. Look for azelaic, kojic, or glycolic acids, as well as retinoids and Vitamin C “she claims.

When it comes to treating black spots, shoppers may be overwhelmed by the variety of alternatives available in the skincare department. However, for optimal potency, many manufacturers mix chemicals with Vitamin C. “A serum with 10% to 20% Vitamin C concentration is often recommended,” adds Dr. Viscusi, “but combination serums that also include tocopherol (Vitamin E), ferulic acid (a pH-lowering powerhouse that enhances absorption), and hyaluronic acid are the best options.”

“When it comes to long-term skin care, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant since it guards against UV damage, reduces dark spots, and promotes an overall brighter complexion,” she adds.


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A good retinoid (Vitamin A) can also help. “It offers a variety of benefits ranging from acne therapy and cell turnover to allow for the improvement of pigment abnormalities,” Dr. Viscusi says. Your dermatologist can prescribe one, or you can buy Differin’s over-the-counter retinoid at the drugstore. Look for “retinol” (a more gentle Vitamin A derivative) on ingredient lists to ease into the substance, which can sometimes irritate the skin at first.

Of course, at-home remedies can only go so far in treating discoloration. So, if obstinate spots won’t go away, it’s time to contact your dermatologist for an in-office treatment.

“Chemical peels are an excellent first-line treatment for folks who want to target dark areas. Depending on your demands, you can begin with a very light peel and progress to a medium or deep peel “Dr. Viscusi explains. “Peels are used to balance out the tone and texture of the skin by removing layers of skin.”

Peels can cost between $150 and $350 each session, but for a “more aggressive approach,” Dr. Viscusi recommends a broadband light laser treatment that can cost between $500 and $750 for the entire face. “It is the world’s most powerful IPL (intense pulsed light) gadget. The treatment lowers undesirable melanin by gently heating the upper layers of skin and stimulating cell renewal using photothermal energy “she claims.

Whatever approach you use, one thing is always non-negotiable when treating hyperpigmentation: “It’s critical to shield it from the sun because UV rays can increase the discoloration on the skin,” explains Dr. Viscusi.

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is her go-to SPF advice for patients. “This one has DNA enzymes that have been clinically proved to heal UV damage,” she explains. “I recommend it to everyone, from the golfer who spends hours in the sun to the office worker who spends their day in front of a computer to the stay-at-home parent who feels like they never leave the house.”

Featured Photo source: iStock

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