According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, hyperpigmentation, characterized by patches of dark skin surrounded by lighter skin, has a number of causes. Among them are sun damage, aging and hormonal changes such as those that accompany pregnancy. Because some birth control pills cause similar hormonal changes, hyperpigmentation may occur. So what do you do to abate unwanted spotting, aside from tossing out your birth control? Here are a few suggestions.
Things You'll Need
- Products with at least 2 percent hydroquinone
- Moisturizer or sunblock with at least SPF 15
Try skin-lightening beauty products that contain hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching agent. The maximum allowed without a prescription is 2 percent, so look for products with that amount for increased effectiveness. These are usually a serum or gel worn underneath your moisturizer. Follow the product’s directions and precautions, and as with any new product, do a patch test for allergies. You should see some change after four weeks of treatment, but if after three months you see no change, discontinue use.
Get prescription-strength hydroquinone or bleaching products. Talk to your dermatologist about getting products with 4 to 6 percent hydroquinone.
Know the difference between “lightening” and “brightening.” Some products claim to be “lightening,” while others are merely “brightening.” Lightening products usually contain hydroquinone, while brightening products simply add a shiny luster to the skin.
Wear moisturizer with SPF every day. The American Melanoma Foundation recommends using a sunscreen with at least SPF 15, higher if you’re fair-skinned. Sun exposure can exacerbate already existing dark spots and create new ones.
Wear extra sun protection. Nothing protects your skin better than a hat and sunglasses.
Consult your doctor about laser resurfacing treatment. Although this is an effective treatment that is often done on an outpatient basis, there are still some risks, as well as long preparation and recovery times. Talk with your doctor about whether laser resurfacing treatment is right for you.