How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation: 5 Ways to Treat Discoloration

how to get rid of hyperpigmentation

With up to 40% of some populations affected by hyperpigmentation, it’s important to understand you’re not alone in your struggles. It’s a fact that nearly half of us will, at some point in our lives, face the discoloration of skin. Hyperpigmentation is, medically, the darkening of your skin in uneven patches.

This can be particularly troublesome when it appears on your face. Many of us want to know how to get rid of hyperpigmentation and there is good news. There are reviewed and effective solutions and preventative measures when it comes to hyperpigmentation and we’re going to explore them with you in this article.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a skin issue that causes some areas of the skin to darken while the rest of your skin remains its normal shade. These darkened spots are caused by melanin deposits. Melanin is the pigment in your body that gives your hair, skin and eyes their color. When excess melanin is produced, it can collect in various places on your body and cause discoloration on skin.Everyone produces melanin, which means that each of us is susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Your age, sex and ethnicity don’t come into play here. We can all experience hyperpigmentation and over time, it can get worse.Hyperpigmentation is identified as darker patches of skin surrounded by normal-toned skin. They can appear anywhere on your body and the sizes and shapes of these patches can vary greatly.According to the AAD and reviewed data, Medication, UV exposure and changes in your hormones are the main causes of hyperpigmentation. Pregnancy can be a trigger due to the hormone shift in your body, as well as some birth control. Sun exposure increases your body’s production of melanin which can result in hyperpigmentation, often called sunspots. Those who suffer from eczema often notice hyperpigmentation in their skin. In rare cases, these brown patches on skin can also be related medically to Addison’s disease.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

There are several different types of hyperpigmentation, but the three most common forms are:
  • Melasma: Most frequently appearing on your stomach and face, melasma is the form of hyperpigmentation caused by changes in your hormones. Hyperpigmentation around the mouth is often melasma.
  • Solar Lentigines (AKA Sunspots): Sunspots are exactly what they sound like: hyperpigmentation caused by prolonged sun exposure. These spots are more common in the areas of your body most often exposed to sunlight.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: This type of hyperpigmentation is caused by injury or inflammation. This can be a result of bug bites, acne, eczema, lacerations, and other injuries.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation has a few triggers. Anything that can cause an overproduction of melanin, which is the pigmentation in your skin, can trigger the formation of dark spots. Hormonal changes, medication, and exposure to our sun are the three main categories of causes but let’s take a closer look at more specific causes:

  • Acne – acne causes inflammation which can be a trigger for the overproduction of melanin at the site of the inflammation. Once the acne has healed and gone away, dark spots can remain as a result of this.
  • Sun damage – We can’t completely avoid exposure to the sun’s rays and, over time, this exposure can cause some unevenness in your skin’s production of melanin, especially on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun more often than others.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnancy causes major shifts in the hormones in our body. Even minor hormonal changes can trigger the overproduction of melanin. As such, pregnancy itself can cause the appearance of dark spots anywhere on the body.
  • Injuries to the skin – as with acne, injuries often cause inflammation which can trigger the collection of melanin at the site of the injury. The dark spots may remain long after the healing process has been completed.
  • Birth Control – some birth control causes shifts in our hormones, and those hormonal changes can trigger the overproduction of melanin.
  • Addison’s disease – this medical condition is quite rare and can trigger increased melanin in areas of the body exposed to the sun or friction.
  • Eczema –  inflammatory skin conditions like eczema can leave behind dark spots.

Best Ways to Treat Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be extremely frustrating but there is good news for those of you who struggle with it. There are several hacks for treating your dark spots. It is medically possible to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and prevent it from getting worse over time and here’s how:

Keep Skin Hydrated to Boost Cell Turnover

Hydration is key for most issues that affect the skin and hyperpigmentation treatment is no different. Every remedy for hyperpigmentation is going to be most effective on healthy, hydrated skin.

When choosing a moisturizer, look for a brightening product with moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid or retinol for an increase in cell turnover. Keeping your skin moisturized is also a great layer of protection from the sun and those rays that like to trigger melanin production.

An effective brightening moisturizer can reduce the appearance of dark spots if used consistently every day. You may not see the full effects of these products for up to two months, so patience and consistency are key and it’s always good practice to find a product that has been reviewed and scored top marks.

Sun Protection

Daily use of SPF 30 or higher is recommended in the prevention of further darkening of your hyperpigmentation. This creates a barrier between your skin and sunlight, preventing the triggering of more melanin production.

While sunscreen won’t get rid of hyperpigmentation, it will help to prevent them from getting any darker. For best results, say experts, don’t skip cloudy, winter days! Whether it’s cold or hot, you’re inside or outside, put your sunscreen on every single day and make sure you’re hitting all the areas of your body that are exposed to sunlight.

Cosmeceuticals in Skin Care

Cosmeceuticals are cosmetics that have medically active ingredients in them. Some cosmeceuticals contain ingredients that can help with getting rid of hyperpigmentation. Antioxidants like Glabridin in your cosmetics can slow down free radical damage, according to research, while products that contain retinoids can help boost cell turnover.Skin lightening cosmeceuticals can be effective when used in conjunction with retinoids. Find reviewed products that others have given a high rating. Depending on which products you’re using and their strength, results will appear in different time frames. As a general rule, however, skincare takes a month to show results.


Exfoliation can do wonders for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Gentle exfoliators can break away pigmented cells which will reduce the saturation of color in your dark spots. Look for products that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid and work them into your daily skincare routine.They will gently exfoliate dead skin cells, and break apart the pigment that makes up your dark spots.  These products are great for your skin in general and will help improve its overall health and appearance. With regular use, you should expect to see positive results within a month.

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Topicals

Both over-the-counter and prescription-strength products are available to help with hyperpigmentation. Skin brighteners and lighteners can be purchased over the counter, along with gentle exfoliants, all of which can reduce or lighten hyperpigmentation.However, if you’ve been trying these remedies to cure your dark spots for months without much success, you might need something a little bit stronger. Speak to your doctor or dermatologist about prescription products with hydroquinone. This is a powerful ingredient in skincare. It’s important to follow the advice of your doctor before using this potent ingredient as there are several possible side effects that may be unpleasant, including heightened sun sensitivity. However, this ingredient works in most cases of hyperpigmentation and you should be able to see results within about four weeks.

Lasers and In-Office Treatments

As a powerful alternative to topical treatments and other brightening hacks, hyperpigmentation can also be tackled medically through in-office treatments by professional and experienced dermatologists. At Refine Aesthetics Med Span, we offer chemical peels in Austin that can help by removing pigmented cells, revealing brand new skin underneath, lightening your dark spots. Our patients report pleasing results as soon as the following day.Microneedling is a powerful tool in the Refine Aesthetics repertoire that forces the skin into repair mode, promoting the production of new cells. Reduced pigmentation can be noticed within a week, with the full power of the treatment becoming apparent in up to four weeks.At Refine Aesthetics we also offer several laser treatment options that will do wonders for reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Results from such treatments can be visible almost right away. If you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, reach out to our friendly and knowledgeable practitioners for your complimentary consultation today, and learn more about various treatments.

FAQs About Getting Rid of Hyperpigmentation

The time it takes to see dark spots lighten will depend on which treatment you’ve chosen. If you want to know how to get rid of hyperpigmentation in a week, your best option is in-office treatments offered by dermatologists.
In some cases, hyperpigmentation may not go away completely. It depends on what caused the hyperpigmentation and how severe it is. It’s best to discuss expected results and get your condition reviewed by your dermatologist. Prevent your dark spots from worsening with hydration and sunscreen.
The fastest way to get rid of hyperpigmentation is through dermatologist treatments such as chemical peels, microneedling, and laser treatments. In some cases, you can expect to see results within just a day or two.
Picture of Courtney Gill, PA-C

Courtney Gill, PA-C

Courtney Gill is a Master Licensed Aesthetician at Refine Aesthetics, renowned for her expertise in skincare and dedication to personalized treatment plans. She strives to enhance her clients’ natural beauty using advanced aesthetic techniques.

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