Hyperpigmentation can present with dark patches, melasma, tanning or dark spots. Sometimes, they are quite resistant and need constant skin care in the form of sun protection and use of the right kind of skin lightening cream that works as listed in this article. I would request you to try the skincare routine for hyperpigmentation given below for at least three months before judging the response.
Recently, I have worked on further customization of skincare regime and I would like you to visit these links based on your skin type, to find clear cut skincare regime:
- Skin care regime for pigmentation with oily skin type
- Skin care regime for pigmentation with combination skin type
- Skincare regime for pigmentation with dry skin type
If you don’t know your skin type, please see this video, UNDERSTAND SKIN TYPE. If your skin is sensitive, red and irritated now, then your skin might not tolerate skin lightening regime. You should first calm down your skin by following this sensitive skin care regime.
Read further to know the basic of skin care regime for pigmented skin!
Step 1 Wash your face:
The choice of face wash depends on how oily your skin is. Do not overspend money on a face wash that claims to reduce your dark spots or patches because the contact time of face washes with skin is not enough for absorption of skin lightening ingredients. Read this article, Which Is Best Cleanser For My Skin- Know From Dermatologist to find out the brand recommendations for face wash.
Tip: Friction can increase dark patches, always pat dry (rather than rubbing) your face with a soft towel after washing.
Step 2 Apply Sunscreen:
Sun protection is paramount because your dark patches might not respond, or recur despite treatment if you do not stick to sun safe behavior all lifelong. Sunscreen should be part of your daily skin care routine. SPF of 15 is enough for indoors. However, SPF of at least 30 is required once you step out. You can either use the regular sunscreens or choose from this list of sunscreens that have skin lightening ingredients.
Step 1 Wash your face:
It is important to wash your face at night to remove the dust and dirt accumulated during the day.
Step 2 Apply Skin lightening moisturizer:
Skin whitening cream or serum is the most important part of your skin regime. Prefer airtight opaque bottles/ tubes over open jar because most skin lightening ingredients lose their potency on exposure to sun or air. Make sure that you scan the label for the presence of skin lightening ingredients like glycolic acid, kojic acid, licorice extract, niacinamide, etc. or else, take advantage of Dermatocare Reviews on Top Skin-lightening creams.
On the weekend, gently scrub your face followed by application of a face pack.
Step 1 Scrub:
Gentle scrubbing help in exfoliating dead pigmented skin cells. You can either buy one of these scrubs from the market of make one at home; the recipes are listed below:
- Homemade Facial Scrub For Oily Skin
- Homemade Facial Scrub For Dry Skin
- Homemade Facial Scrub For Combination Skin
Step 2 Face pack:
After scrubbing, apply face pack with skin lightening ingredients like papaya, saffron, etc. You can either buy one of these face pack from the market or make at home:
- Skin lightening face pack for OILY SKIN
- Skin lightening face pack for DRY SKIN
- Skin lightening face pack for COMBINATION SKIN
- Discard skin care products that contain deep colours, multiple preservatives, and fragrances.
- Discontinue skin care product or cosmetics that cause burning, stinging or redness on the application.
- If above regime does not help, better fix an appointment with your Dermatologist for prescription of more cost effective yet stronger skin-lightening creams.
How is hyperpigmentation treated at dermatologist clinic?
As already pointed, the dark patches are quite stubborn, and regular treatment under Dermatologist is recommended. The treatment option can be divided into:
Topical creams: There is a range of cost-effective yet stronger creams available under prescription like:
- Skin-lightening medicines: Hydroquinone 2-5% is the best and most popular skin-lightening drug, However, prolong use beyond few months should be avoided. Discard the cream if it turns yellow or brown and discontinue use it if redness, irritation, or burning occurs. Other less potent skin lightening agents are Kojic acid dipalmitate (0.75%-3%), Azelaic Acid 10-20%, Arbutin 0.5-5%, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 0.5%, etc. They can be used for sensitive skin or as maintenance.
- Antioxidants: Vitamin C in pure form and in the concentration of 5-10% is an excellent anti-oxidant, however, such composition is available only in capsule formulations. Most of Vitamin C formulas available in OTC cream is though stable but are not that effective.
- Hydroxy acids: Glycolic acid 8-12% causes exfoliation and removes excess melanin from epidermis but can cause irritation and redness, more so in the sensitive skin. If glycolic acid irritates your skin, other alpha hydroxyl acids like lactic acid or mandelic acid can be tried.
- Retinoids: Retinoic acid 0.25-0.1% in addition to skin lightening, it also promotes penetration of other agents. Discontinue use if you observe signs of retinoid dermatitis like redness, irritation, flakiness or rough skin. Anti-ageing is an additional advantage.
- Steroids: Corticosteroid cream reduces irritation because of the presence of other agents and is widely used in combination. However, we do not favour its use because, after the initial dramatic response, most patients relapse and patients tend to re-apply themselves leading to steroid-induced sensitivity, thin skin, increase hair growth, etc.
Oral medications: Beside topical medication, certain oral medications like Tranexamic acid are also under trial. Iron and Vitamin supplements are prescribed if needed.
Chemical Peels: Biweekly peels under dermatologist supervision are recommended in recalcitrant cases. Peels help by exfoliating the pigment-containing cells in the epidermis and rejuvenates your skin. There are hundreds of peels available today. Your dermatologist will decide which is best for your skin type.
LASERS: They can be used for resistant dark patches. However, the results are still under scrutiny.
All said and done! The bottom line is that dark patches might not fade away completely or recur even with the best of treatments unless sun protection is practised stringently!