Hyperpigmentation—the dark spots and patches that pop up most often on the face—isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s a completely harmless and natural skin condition and it’s really common, most of us will experience some level of hyperpigmentation at some point in our lives. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with it.
If you don’t like the look of this discolouration, there are plenty of treatments out there which can help to lighten dark spots. If you’ve tried at-home products and skincare, and they don’t seem to be working, it may be time to turn to something stronger.
In-clinic treatments target stubborn spots and patches with stronger treatments that penetrate deeper into the skin. With all the options out there, it can be difficult to decide what’s best. We’re here to help.
At Face Dr, our team of experts have decades of experience helping clients achieve the even complexion they’re after. So, we’ve rounded up the five best in-clinic treatments for hyperpigmentation to help you decide which one could work for you and your skin.
Want to skip the research and get personalised recommendations for your skin? We offer free online skincare consultations where you can do just that.
But first, what exactly are these dark spots?
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Before we dive into treatment options, it’s useful to know what hyperpigmentation is. It’s a natural, common and harmless skin condition that is caused by an excess of melanin—the pigment that gives our skin, eyes and hair its colour. When excess melanin is produced it can appear on the surface as dark spots and discoloured patches.
What causes this excess of melanin exactly? There are three main triggers:
- Sun exposure
- Hormones—such as from pregnancy or the birth control pill
- Inflammation—such as from acne, eczema or a cut or burn
The treatments for these three different types of hyperpigmentation are the same, as they’re all caused by the same thing—melanin.
The best in-clinic treatments for hyperpigmentation
What is it? Chemical peels sound scary but they’re a safe and effective way of lightening dark spots. While at-home chemical peels are available, they contain a weaker concentration of ingredients so are often not as effective. In-office chemical peels, on the other hand, use a stronger concentration of acids for more visible results.
Chemical peels work by exfoliating the skin with acids. These acids break down dead skin cells allowing them to come off of the skin easier. This reveals a lighter and brighten complexion underneath.
Where can I get it? Prodigy Peel P3 Pro. This peel treatment uses salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol to exfoliate the skin in a one-hour treatment. Skin may become slightly red and inflamed in the days following the treatment but should return to normal within a week. Although many clients see results after one treatment, you may need a series of peels for the best results.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
What is it? Intense pulsed light, or IPL, is a laser treatment that directs light at the skin to break down the dark pigment. The light is absorbed through several layers of the skin, so it’s a great treatment option for stubborn discolouration. These laser procedures target imperfections but leave the surrounded skin undamaged.
Where can I get it? IPL Smart Pulse Skin Rejuvenation Treatment. This IPL treatment zaps dark spots and discolouration. Most people need four to six treatments for the full results with each treatment lasting around 15 to 20 minutes. These are spaced four to six weeks apart.
What is it? Most of us have had a facial before, they’re perfect for unwinding and giving skin a dose of hydration and exfoliation while you relax. But did you know facials can also be used to treat skin conditions like hyperpigmentation? There are many different types of facials but those with exfoliating properties are the best for breaking down discoloured skin cells and revitalising the complexion.
Where can I get it? ZO Skin Brightening Treatment. This facial treatment includes an exfoliation to remove surface dirt and dead skin, acid-based products like citric, salicylic and lactic acids to exfoliate deeper layers of the skin, and a skin brightening mask to minimise excess melanin production.
LED Light Therapy
What is it? LED Light Therapy involves wearing a mask that emits different wavelengths of light to target different skin concerns like acne, signs of aging and hyperpigmentation.
For hyperpigmentation, the light reduces the look of dark spots and discolouration, reduces any redness and regulates melanin production, which stops new spots from forming and existing hyperpigmentation from getting darker.
Procedures vary but usually last about 20 minutes and multiple sessions are needed to make sure dark spots are reduced.
Where can I get it? Déesse Pro LED mask. The treatment involves wearing a mask on the face under the treatment mask which is set to specific light wavelength to target dark spots and patches.
What is it? Microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin with small particles, much like an at-home exfoliating product but stronger. These particles break down dead skin cells removing them to uncover the lighter and less discoloured skin underneath. As with many in-clinic procedures, you may need more than one treatment depending on how dark your hyperpigmentation is.
Where can I get it? Many clinics offer microdermabrasion procedures. Try the Sk:n clinics treatment which uses microcrystals to exfoliate the skin.
So, there you have it, our favourite procedures to lighten the look of dark spots and discolouration. Ready to try an in-clinic treatment to tackle hyperpigmentation but not sure which one is best for you? Our skin experts are on hand to help you decide. With decades of experience treating hundreds of clients, they know a thing or two about how to get clear, problem-free skin.
Plus, if you’re looking for skincare products to help with hyperpigmentation, we’re on hand with the best recommendations. We can even help you build an entire skincare routine around your specific concerns.