- Myth #1 – Lasers make hyperpigmentation worse
- Myth #2 – Hyperpigmentation can’t be treated
- Myth #3 – Hyperpigmentation only happens on skin of colour
- There is hope for treating hyperpigmentation!
In this article, we’re solving 3 common MYTHS about hyperpigmentation, and revealing TRUTHS about how it can actually be solved.
There’s a lot of buzz on the Internet about hyperpigmentation, melasma, brown spots and how they are treated (or not). Some say to use this treatment, or that treatment. Some say to avoid certain treatments. Some say those same treatments are fine. The list goes on.
But, the top three myths we usually hear are the following (and we’ll explain why they’re not true).
Myth #1 – Lasers make hyperpigmentation worse
Did you know that, despite growing beliefs, lasers CAN be used to treat hyperpigmentation and melasma?
It is very true that inappropriate use of lasers can burn skin, which can lead to pigmentation issues in any skin type (not just skin of colour).
However, when used correctly, lasers can help to reduce signs of melasma, brown spots, redness, sun damage and other pigmentation concerns. They do this by using targeted light to destroy pigments in the skin. They are specifically designed to do this.
The good news is that, whether with lasers, or other methods, there are treatments available that can help equalize skin discolouration – whether it is red, brown, beige, or otherwise.
The key is to always, always (and we mean always) choose a reputable, experienced, doctor-led skin clinic to treat your hyperpigmentation. That’s true even if lasers aren’t involved.
Myth #2 – Hyperpigmentation can’t be treated
As we alluded to above, there are actually multiple ways to treat hyperpigmentation, including brown spots, melasma, freckles and even birthmarks. Topical skin care, medical-grade facials and lasers can reduce discolouration significantly, or ‘erase’ spots altogether.
In fact, doctors and researchers have a whole method for measuring successful melasma treatments. You can read about it here.
So, you don’t have to live with those pigment concerns, if you don’t like them!
It’s important to note, however, that treating hyperpigmentation goes beyond what a clinic can do alone. A lot will depend on the added steps you take at home, and on the go.
For example, regular use of certain skin care products can keep your condition at bay in the long term. So can avoiding UV exposure.
Most of all remember this: when treating hyperpigmentation, SPF and sun protection will NOT be optional!
This means reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours (yes, really), avoiding mid-day sun, wearing sun-protective clothing (with a hat), and so on. You need to do this on all days – even cloudy days, and when indoors. If you can’t follow these foundational ‘basics’ to treating hyperpigmentation, then no doctor, aesthetician or ‘magic remedy’ can help.
Shop our high-quality, cosmeceutical sunscreens here.
Most notably, we recommend the Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-on Shield SPF 50. It’s a powder sunscreen that can go on over makeup. It helps a lot with the ‘reapply every 2 hours’ rule.
Myth #3 – Hyperpigmentation only happens on skin of colour
It is true that those who tan, instead of burn, in the sun can be more prone to hyperpigmentation. We explain the science behind this, here. However, anyone can develop brown spots or pigmented areas. It’s the same reason some fair-skinned people get freckle treatments.
Do you recognize any of the skin conditions below? They all have different root causes. But ALL are created by, or exacerbated by sun exposure.
Pigmentation can also happen on any skin tone due to inflammation and injury. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s how we get acne scars, or other types of visible scars (including stretch marks).
In some people, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation heals on its own. It depends on the severity of the initial injury. But in other people (notably, those with skin of colour), the pigmentation can remain long-term, if not treated.
There is hope for treating hyperpigmentation!
Hyperpigmentation can be greatly misunderstood. However, the thing to know is that it can be treated. Albeit, successful treatment hinges on choosing the right provider.
Treatments for hyperpigmentation can be mild or severe. It’s often about choosing the solutions that you need, with a custom skin care plan.
For example, prescription hydroquinone is popularly used as a skin lightener. But it can’t be used long-term. So, other solutions may be more suitable, if you do need long-term treatment.
You can try over-the-counter products aimed at hyperpigmentation. However, if you use them incorrectly, you could irritate your skin. This can lead to more hyperpigmentation. So, we recommend seeking professional help for this condition – even when it comes to using non-prescription products.
Professionals can use tools like the VISIA® UV scanner. It can take photographs under your skin, to reveal how much hyperpigmentation is just ‘waiting’ to surface! By using tools like this, doctors and aestheticians can see just how severe your condition is. They can then treat it accordingly.