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27 Sep, Monday
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How To Treat Skin Hyperpigmentation [Singapore Edition]

It’s one of the leading concerns as we grow old, and it’s not an easy problem to solve. Dark spots and skin pigmentation can’t just be solved with a nightly skincare routine and a barrage of brightening creams and face masks. Tropika Club finds out more about how to treat skin hyperpigmentation below.


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Why are Dark Spots and Skin Hyperpigmentation More Prevalent on Asian Skin?

t’s actually more common than you think. We all have cells (melanocytes) that produce the melanin, a natural pigment in our skin. Melanin gives our skin its colour, especially when we’re exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. It’s a defence mechanism against UV rays since it blocks the radiation from UV rays, preventing the oxidative damage to DNA of the melanocytes. This protects you from skin cancer too.

Your skin type and the ethnic group you belong to can affect the number of melanocytes on your skin. So that’s why our Asian skin condition is more prone to skin hyperpigmentation and discolouration compared to Caucasians since they usually have lighter skin tones. With our darker skin tone, there are more melanocytes that could produce excess melanin. 

After melanin is produced, your body has the ability to spread out the melanin throughout your skin. But it’s not. a perfect process. Some melanin pigments may not be spread out properly and so they clump together, forming the dark spots and hyperpigmentation on you see on your skin. And as we age, the body’s ability to spread out the melanin weakens. So the excess accumulated melanin will stay in your skin unless you treat it.

Other Causes of Skin Hyperpigmentation

Changes in the Body’s Hormones – It’s commonly seen during pregnancy. You may experience skin hyperpigmentation as well if you’re taking birth control pills, hormonal contraception, or if you’re undergoing hormone replacement therapy.

Skin Irritation – Those with sensitive skin may know about this, especially when they take a chance on a new cosmetic or skincare product. Even hair products can irritate the skin and cause dark spots too.

Lesions on the Skin – Dark spots may appear after a cut, burn, or an insect bite on the skin. Though some of these spots do fade in time.

Inflammation – Inflammation due to certain skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, could cause dark spots to appear your skin too.


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Treating Skin Hyperpigmentation

Prevention is Key

n sunny Singapore, sunscreen should be one of your best friends. After all, exposure to the sun’s UV rays is one of the leading causes of skin hyperpigmentation. Wearing protective clothing when you’re out might just be the easiest step to prevent dark spots from forming.

Here’s another important tip: apply sunscreen every day, even if you’re indoors. If you’re out in the sun all day, re-apply sunscreen every two hours.

As for the type of sunscreen you should use, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 50. If you have skin disorders that will worsen after exposure to visible light, look for mineral sunscreens with iron oxide since it can block some visible light.

Skincare Products

You can reduce the appearance of pigmented skin with skin care products too. If you have chronic acne and eczema, apply anti-inflammatory skincare actives regularly to prevent inflammation.

Brightening serums are a great place to start since they are less potent than acids and retinoids. They are usually rich in antioxidants too, improving your skin’s radiance while reducing the damages by free radicals. You can use them even as you’re treating your acne. That way, you can treat your dark spots before it develops, avoiding skin hyperpigmentation as a result.

You could also get over-the-counter skin acids to exfoliate your skin and evens out your skin tone as new skin cells replace the old ones. You can look for products with azelaic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, or vitamin C (in the form of l-ascorbic acid. If you have darker skin, you could benefit from products with glycolic acid or kojic acid.


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Chemical Peels

For a more potent treatment, try chemical peels to treat the dark spots on your skin. Chemical peels reduce hyperpigmentation by removing the epidermis layer of the skin. There are some that penetrate deeper, targeting the dermis layer of the skin. They typically use a higher concentration of acids, be it alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids. 

Although there are plenty of over-the-counter options now, its best to get a professional dermatologist to apply chemical peels. And, there may be side effects, such as irritation and blistering, as well.

Chemical peels aren’t the best solution if you’re the outdoorsy type, since it may cause your skin to be more sensitive to UV rays. To prevent your skin’s hyperpigmentation from worsening, apply sunscreen, as well as other UV protection, and take extra precautions for at least a week after your chemical peel.

Laser Peels

This treatment utilises targeted beams of light to treat skin hyperpigmentation. It usually comes in two types of lasers: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. Ablative lasers are more powerful and it removes several layers of your skin. 

On the other hand, non-ablative lasers usually only target the dermis later, promoting the growth of collagen and skin tightening. One of the more common non-ablative laser treatments you may now is the intense pulse light therapy.

If you have darker skin, its best to seek professional advice before resorting to laser skin treatments, as you may be at a higher risk of hyperpigmentation and inflammation after the treatment.


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Microdermabrasion

If you think your skin hyperpigmentation is on the outer layer of your skin, this could be an effective treatment for you. This treatment removes the epidermis layer of your skin with a handheld drill-like tool with an abrasive attachment. It may take more than one session to achieve your ideal complexion. Microdermabrasion usually works better for people with paler skin too.

During the allergic reaction, you may have the urge to rub your eyes and scratch the itch around your eyes. If you do scratch it, it could cause inflammation and swelling. You might be damaging the blood vessels as well, which causes the dark shadows in your under-eye circles.

Dermabrasion

This procedure is similar to microdermabrasion, but it also targets the deeper layers of your skin, such as the dermis. It may work faster than microdermabrasion, but it’s more effective for people with fairer skin. But if you have medium skin tones, you may develop further hyperpigmentation after the dermabrasion treatment, and it may lighten around 8 weeks.


Meanwhile, check out Tropika Club’s Ecosystem of Websites

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A curious wanderlust at heart, Benedict is always out to explore the world around him, and share his discoveries.