5 Treatments for Hyperpigmentation



5 Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

Are you embarrassed about baring your skin or tired of concealing your hyperpigmentation with tons of make-up? Do you want to do something about them before they start to get worse and mark you permanently? Don’t fret. Our ultimate guide to everything about hyperpigmentation is here for you! We’ll cover the definition, different types, and several hyperpigmentation treatment options.

Woman with a before photo of hyperpigmentation

Let’s get started!

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation refers to the noticeably discoloured spots or patches of skin as a result of excessive production of melanin in the area that could be triggered by inflammation from sun damage or stubborn scars from a bout of severe acne that never faded on its own. It can affect all skin types, even individuals with naturally darker skin colour. Some forms of hyperpigmentation can also be hereditary.

Despite the fact of being a highly pervasive medical condition, hyperpigmentation is considered relatively harmless on its own, unless it was identified as a mere symptom of an underlying illness. It can, however, make you extremely conscious of your appearance, which can negatively impact your confidence and self-esteem, and eventually, prompting you to seek possible hyperpigmentation treatments.

Close up photo of woman with freckles all over her face

Types of Hyperpigmentation

Correctly classifying the triggers of your symptoms is a crucial aspect in effectively addressing and determining the appropriate hyperpigmentation treatments for you. Let’s delve deeper into the different types of hyperpigmentation.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Also known as PIH, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation describes the flat spots or maps of blemishes that can be either brownish or reddish in appearance and develop in varying sizes, depending on the cause. PIH becomes visibly prominent once your acne, pimples, scrapes, burns, cuts, or insect bites start to dry and heal. If you have eczema or atopic dermatitis, you may also be prone to this condition. All of these skin irritations are forms of inflammation that trigger the melanocytes to boost melanin synthesis, leaving the area darker than the rest of your skin. Individuals with darker skin tone are more susceptible to PIH and tend to have it more intensely.

Age Spots

Age spots hyperpigmentation is otherwise known as sunspots, solar lentigines, or liver spots. They are characteristically depicted as flat, uneven skin tone or clusters of dark blotches on the skin that are bigger than freckles. They appear in shades of brown.

Generally seen on the face, shoulders, hands, and arms, age spots are an obvious consequence of sun damage. Continuously exposing your skin to direct sunlight for extended periods, especially at high noon, without wearing sunscreen with a reliable SPF protection, can further aggravate your condition. People in their late 30s or early 40s who take sunscreen use for granted are most predisposed to this kind of hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation treatments for age spots are mainly for cosmetic purposes since they are not severe. Nevertheless, if your hyperpigmentation has significantly changed in appearance or has become black, it is strongly encouraged that you get it properly checked by a dermatologist, as there’s a risk that it could be a developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Close up photo of young female with facial hyperpigmentation


Hyperpigmentation from melasma, also called chloasma spots, can create grayish-brown maps on the cheeks, chin, upper lips, or the forehead. This chronic skin condition appears in women who may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance due to pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills. Sometimes, it just shows up out of nowhere even if your hormones are perfectly fine.

Melasma may be mistaken as another type of hyperpigmentation. Your doctor may have to conduct a skin biopsy to rule out other conditions and make a definitive diagnosis for you. In most cases, melasma can clear out on its own as soon as you have given birth or stopped taking the pills, without requiring any hyperpigmentation treatments.


Ephelides or freckles are hyperpigmentation that you are born with. They are prevalent among individuals with a lighter complexion. They are a constellation of pale brown spots scattered across the bridge of the nose and cheeks and sometimes, the back and shoulders. You can see freckles in childhood, but you will notice that they can get pretty intense and much darker when subjected to harsh sun exposure.

Top Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

Luckily, there are now promising hyperpigmentation treatments that you can explore with the guidance of your doctor, who may implement a combination of two or more procedures. Here are some that we love here at McLean Clinic.

Medical-Grade Skincare

For mild hyperpigmentations that are flat and not raised from the skin, using medical-grade skincare products may deliver the results you want after a specific period of consistent use.
They usually contain one or two active ingredients that are primarily known for whitening properties that can be used in targeting and enhancing areas with hyperpigmentation.

  • Hydroquinone
  • Vitamin C
  • Glutathione
  • N-acetylglucosamine
  • Vitamin B3 (niacinamide)
  • Licorice extract
  • Kojic acid

We swear by the benefits of the Obagi Nu-Derm System not only for the treatment of hyperpigmentation but for achieving a flawless and healthy glow. The 7-Step Nu-Derm System Kit features the Clear and Blender products with four (4) percent hydroquinone for exceptional skin lightening and blemish-free results.

 Woman applying skincare product

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels or epidermal peels are another highly recommended hyperpigmentation treatment by most experts. Contrary to misconception, it’s a safe and non-invasive procedure that you can schedule and get over and done within 30 minutes. You have the option to choose the level of your chemical peel, from light, medium, and deep. Your choice should depend upon your pain tolerance level and your expectations, too. The most effective types of chemical peels for hyperpigmentation treatment include:

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, or tartaric acid)
  • Salicylic acid
  • Trichloracetic acid

It is an excellent strategy to improve skin discolouration and acne scars or to rejuvenate a lack-lustre skin from dryness or stress. This treatment for hyperpigmentation will scrape off the outermost layers of your skin to create a superficial wound. In the end, it will reveal a brand-new layer that is brighter, younger, and plumper, too! In the process, the scars and discoloration will fade out as the skin becomes lighter.

But the benefits of chemical peels don’t stop there. It also replenishes and stimulates healthy collagen production in the skin, which means you’ll be reaping your rewards of a beautiful skin longer. Chemical peels address hyperpigmentations and other skin concerns in the face, neck, arms, hands, feet, or back.

If you would like to go with chemical peels, then you should be extra mindful of your sun exposure because it increases your risk of photosensitivity. You may have inflammation or permanent pigmentation when you go out in the sun without wearing sunscreen.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Many skin experts have also documented remarkable improvements when using gentle laser treatments for skin resurfacing. Here at McLean Clinic, our clients are most satisfied with our Clear + Brilliant Laser, a type of low-energy fractional laser technology that guarantees impressive results with relatively no downtime. It is excellent for addressing melasma, sun damage, and skin ageing. Treatment areas include the face, neck, decolletage, hands, and almost any part of your body.


The process of microneedling is a non-ablative laser device that involves puncturing the skin with minuscule sterilized needles to induce trauma and stimulate the skin’s natural healing response and encourage the production of collagen. Aside from being a viable treatment for hyperpigmentation, microneedling is also known to reverse the visible signs of ageing by improving fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. It delivers remarkable results in managing rosacea, alopecia, stretch marks, and scars.

McLean Power Facial

Brightening facials have beautiful results when it comes to minimizing the appearance of all types of hyperpigmentation. Our favourite is our signature McLean Power Facial, which is a multi-step treatment that combines five different non-invasive techniques. Touted as one of Kim Kardashian’s beauty secrets, the Power Facial is perfect if you are looking for instant gratification minus the downtime and post-treatment redness. Aside from being an effective hyperpigmentation treatment for freckles and sun damage, it is also ideal for:

  • Reducing the size of your pores
  • Enhancing under-eye circles and eye bags
  • Smoothing and tightening the skin that has sagged a bit because of ageing or weight loss
  • Restoring your skin’s natural radiance

Book A Treatment With McLean Clinic

As with all procedures, all of these hyperpigmentation treatments can run potential risks and complications. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) emphasizes the importance of consulting a medically trained expert, such as a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon, who has the full capacity to walk you through and competently perform all these treatment processes without compromising your safety.

Dr. Hugh McLean is a highly respected plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery. If you are interested to know more about our treatments for hyperpigmentation or to schedule an appointment with Dr. McLean, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you immediately.

Book a consultation now!

March 5, 2020

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