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Hyperpigmentation

Medical Dermatology

Find out what treatment options are available

Age
or "liver"
spots are
a common
form of
pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that causes patches or larger areas of skin to darken. Common and mostly harmless, it occurs due to an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their natural colours. Hyperpigmentation can affect anyone regardless of their race and skin colour. Its causes range from sun damage to skin disorders. Age, hormones and pregnancy are also factors that increase one’s risk of developing this condition.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

  • Liver Spots – Also known as age spots, liver spots are caused by aging and sun damage, and typically appear on the areas of the body most exposed to the sun, including the face, shoulders, arms and hands. These blemishes are harmless and come in a range of light to dark colours.
  • Freckles – Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body, but especially on the face, shoulders and arms, which get the most sun exposure. This skin trait tends to be hereditary and is caused by a combination of genetics and prolonged exposure to UVB rays.
  • Melasma – This is a harmless condition that causes dark, discolored patches on the skin, often on the face. Most people develop melasma on the forehead, cheeks, chin, bridge of the nose and upper lip, though it can also appear on the neck and forearms. Pregnancy, sun exposure, hormones, stress and thyroid disease are said to trigger melasma.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation – This type of discoloration is caused by inflammation, irritation, friction and trauma resulting from acne breakouts, burns, use of chemical exfoliants, and cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion, deep chemical peels, IPL and laser.

Treatment Options

While skin discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation is harmless, it can seem unsightly. There are numerous safe and effective treatments available to address pigmentation, which include:

  • Sunscreen – Hyperpigmentation is commonly caused by damage from too much exposure to the sun. Sunscreen can minimize the formation of dark spots and pigmentations, as well as prevent existing spots from becoming darker and more noticeable.
  • Whitening Creams – Containing ingredients such as hydroquinone, niacinamide, kojic acid and licorice extract, prescription and over-the-counter creams can help whiten skin and lighten pigmentation over time.
  • Microdermabrasion – This method uses tiny crystals to exfoliate the skin, which is further “sanded” away using a special instrument. It is minimally invasive and does not use any chemicals, and works to remove dead skin cells and other impurities to make way for newer and healthier skin.
  • Chemical Peels – This treatment involves applying a special chemical on the desired area, causing the epidermis to peel off. More intensive treatments use stronger concentrations to penetrate the dermis for more dramatic outcomes.
  • Ablative Laser Treatments – This method uses a special laser to remove targeted aged and sun-damaged layers of the skin. Considered as one of the most effective means to reduce hyperpigmentation, it can also be used to treat wrinkles and acne scars.

LL Cheong Skin & Laser Clinic is an established provider of medical, surgical and aesthetic dermatological treatments in Singapore. It is led by Dr Cheong Lai Leng, an MOH-accredited Singapore dermatologist with over 20 years of experience in the treatment of numerous skin conditions, from pigmentation problems to skin cancer. Call 6836-1480 to schedule an appointment today.

Dr Cheong La

Meet yourDermatologist

Our skin physician, Dr Cheong Lai Leng, is a Ministry of Health certified dermatologist who emphasizes an individualized approach to address your specific concerns whether they are medical, surgical, or cosmetic while maintaining the highest standards for quality and attention to your comfort.

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