Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin compared to its normal color. The origin of color change is highly varied. The causes can range from the benign e.g. a freckle – a reaction to medication (e.g. minocycline) to a systemic disease such as Addison’s, to a potentially life threatening condition like Melanoma. In general, hyperpigmentation of unknown origin should be evaluated by a dermatologist before any treatment is undertaken.
Cosmetic cases of hyperpigmentation, such as a dark mark left by a pimple, brown patches occurring during pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, or liver/age spots from sun exposure, can be improved by a variety of treatments. These include topical bleaching agents, chemical peels and laser/light treatments.
Where to begin depends on the specific condition, its extent and/or severity, and the desired level of aggressiveness.
In general, application of a topical medicine (e.g., cream/lotion) is a simple way to start. Some products require a prescription and others are over-the-counter. For patients whose condition does not adequately respond to topicals alone, a combination of peels, microdermabrasion, and laser/intense pulsed light may be used. In most cases of hyperpigmentation, the sun is a causative or exacerbating factor, and thus strict sun protection is an absolute must.
For before and after images please contact Dr. Romita at 212.772.3220.