Hyperpigmentation Treatment For Black Skin: What Causes?

Melasma is a common condition affecting black women. Melasma is caused by excess melanin (dark pigment) production in the epidermis (upper layer of skin). It may appear as dark patches or spots on the face, neck, chest and arms. There are many different types of melasma and they vary from person to person. Some people have no signs at all while others develop them gradually over time.

There are several factors which contribute to melasma development. These include genetics, sun exposure, hormonal changes and environmental factors such as pollution and stress. Melasma is not contagious so it does not spread through casual contact between two individuals with the same type of melasma. However, some research suggests that certain genetic variants increase your risk of developing melasma.

The most common cause of melasma is sun damage. Sun damage can occur when you spend too much time in the sun without proper protection. The skin produces less melanin (the pigment responsible for making the skin darker) if there is too little ultraviolet light reaching it. Melanin helps protect your body against harmful UV rays and keeps your skin healthy. When the amount of melanin decreases, so do your defenses against sunlight damage and other damaging effects of the sun.

In addition, a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can occur after an injury or other trauma to the skin. This causes small, dark spots to form on the skin and often occurs after an injury, such as a cut or an insect bite. As the skin heals, it may leave behind small darkened spots in the affected area.

There are several types of melasma which can affect your body. These melasma types are divided into epidermal, dermal, and mixed. The names refer to the level at which the skin condition is developing.

Epidermal melasma forms on the surface of the skin, particularly on the face. It is typically a yellow or brownish color and may resolve on its own without treatment.

Dermal melasma develops a few layers beneath the skin’s surface and is more difficult to treat than epidermal melasma.

Mixed melasma involves both epidermal and dermal components and is the most severe type of melasma.

There are several ways to manage and even prevent melasma from developing. If you have a family history of melasma, you may want to consider using sun protection methods to keep your skin healthy. Melasma can also be triggered by hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause. If you experience any of these changes in your life, you may want to see your doctor about medication that can help ease your symptoms.

Melasma commonly appears in pregnant women due to hormonal changes and increases in blood flow. Sunscreen is a vital part of preventing melasma when you’re pregnant because UV rays can have a significant impact on the condition. If you notice melasma beginning to develop or worsen, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible. Melasma can become more difficult to treat if it’s allowed to linger for too long.

There are several treatments for melasma, most of which are topical. Your doctor may recommend a medicated cream or lotion to help fade the appearance of your melasma. There are also prescription pills you can take orally to help fade your melasma. It’s important to remember that these medications don’t work overnight and it can take several months for you to see results.

There are also procedures you can have done to help fade the appearance of your melasma. Your dermatologist may do a procedure known as an esthetic laser or a chemical peel on your skin. Dermatologists also have a tool called a “microneedling pen” which helps raise the appearance of your skin for a temporary period of time.

It’s important to remember that melasma doesn’t pose any threat to your health, it’s a purely cosmetic concern. However, keeping your skin as healthy as possible with proper nutrition and sun protection can help keep melasma from developing in the future.

One of the most popular treatments among dermatologists involves a series of brightening injections. The injections are composed of a diluted concentration of the chemical composition of melasma. As they are injected into the skin, the skin absorbs the solution and fades the appearance of melasma on a short-term basis. These injections are typically done on a quarterly basis until the desired effect is reached and then maintained with a less frequent schedule.

If you’re interested in this treatment, be sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist who has experience with this method of treatment.

Another popular treatment option is a series of brightening laser sessions. The laser helps to refresh the skin and fade the appearance of dark skin cells. The laser also helps to encourage new, lighter skin to rise to the surface. This treatment typically requires 4-6 sessions to see results, however it shows better results on people with lighter skin tones.

This method also works well in conjunction with skin creams and lotions that can help fade the appearance of melasma.

Using a skin cream or lotion to fade the appearance of melasma is perhaps one of the most common treatment methods available. Many of these creams and lotions are designed to refresh your skin and lighten dark spots on a short-term basis.

While these products work well on dark spots caused by things like acne, the long-term effect isn’t enough to fade melasma. However, many dermatologists recommend using these types of lotions and creams in conjunction with laser or medicated treatments for better results.

The last common treatment option includes having a series of microneedling injections. These injections can help to fade the appearance of melasma by refreshing the skin and encouraging new cells to rise to the surface.

These injections are typically done quarterly until the desired results are reached, and then maintained on a less frequent schedule.

While there is no cure for melasma, there are many treatment options available that can help fade its appearance and keep it from darkening as quickly as it used to. If you’re looking for relief from your condition, we recommend consulting with a board-certified dermatologist who can assess your skin condition and provide you with a personalized solution.

If you’re ready to take the next step, please contact us or book an appointment online today.

Sources & references used in this article:

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color by EC Davis, VD Callender – The Journal of clinical and aesthetic …, 2010 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation by S Taylor, P Grimes, J Lim, S Im… – Journal of cutaneous …, 2009 – journals.sagepub.com

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation by VD Callender, SS Surin-Lord, EC Davis… – American journal of …, 2011 – Springer

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: A comprehensive overview: Treatment options and prevention by S Chaowattanapanit, N Silpa-Archa, I Kohli… – Journal of the American …, 2017 – Elsevier

Lasers for treatment of melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by P Arora, R Sarkar, VK Garg, L Arya – Journal of cutaneous and …, 2012 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

4‐n‐butylresorcinol, a highly effective tyrosinase inhibitor for the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation by L Kolbe, T Mann, W Gerwat, J Batzer… – Journal of the …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Facial hyperpigmentation: causes and treatment by NA Vashi, RV Kundu – British Journal of Dermatology, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Topical agents used in the management of hyperpigmentation by RM Halder, GM Richards – Skin Therapy Lett, 2004 – skintherapyletter.com

Fractional photothermolysis for the treatment of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after carbon dioxide laser resurfacing by CK Rokhsar, DH Ciocon – Dermatologic Surgery, 2009 – journals.lww.com