Last updated on November 28th, 2023 at 07:56 pm
We all have flaws. It’s part of what makes us all beautiful. But sometimes, a flaw can leave us feeling so self-conscious we avoid having our photo taken at a party or covering our skin in long, easy-to-hide layers.
Hyperpigmentation is the technical term for dark patches of skin on your body. It’s a common issue, but for some people, the effects are more noticeable.
If that’s you, you might find yourself thinking: how long does it take for hyperpigmentation to go away? Fortunately, we have some answers here. Read on as we explain the causes, treatments, and length of time it takes.
Table of Contents
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition and a relatively common one. It causes dark patches of skin on the body, leaving your skin tone uneven.
It’s caused by excess melanin.
Melanin is a brown pigment that controls our natural skin color. But it can form deposits on the skin and cause a patchy effect. This can happen to any skin type, but you’ll notice it more on fairer skin.
Excess melanin happens for several reasons.
Too much sun exposure is the primary factor, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can have too much melanin because of hormonal changes. Sometimes, the root cause is an injury around the skin.
Hyperpigmentation may be harmless. However, many people experiencing this prefer to treat it for aesthetic reasons.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
There is more than one type of hyperpigmentation. In this section, we’ll describe the most common to help you identify the one that’s most likely the issue for you. Knowing that will help point to the best hyperpigmentation treatment.
Melasma often appears on the face. It will show as patches and be a grey or brown tone. Hormonal changes cause it, so it’s most likely to occur in pregnant women or those on birth control.
PIH (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)
Skin inflammation can happen after an injury or skin condition like acne. Hyperpigmentation occurs as the skin heals. New skin cells can appear darker because there is excess melanin as the body recovers.
Sunspots, or age spots, are one of the most common forms of hyperpigmentation.
As the name suggests, sunspots happen after too much sun exposure. They’re found on any part of the skin but often on the face. They appear as flat, dark spots on the face and body, becoming more common as we age.
Freckles are common in lighter skin tones and are genetic. They appear after light sun exposure and will start during childhood.
As we age, the freckle count will increase, even more so after sun exposure. However, they fade during darker winters if you live in colder climates.
You need to know the cause of your hyperpigmentation to determine how to treat it and how long it will take to go away. Here are the main reasons for hyperpigmentation.
Exposure to the sun plus UV damage will leave you with more hyperpigmentation.
The sun causes our bodies to produce more melanin. UV damage affects our skin cells; when that happens, our bodies go into defense mode. That defense is to increase melanin production.
Hormones and Medicine
Our bodies’ hormone levels fluctuate. The two hormones that can impact melanin products include estrogen and progesterone.
These both stimulate melanin when those hormone levels are high. That’s why pregnant women are more at risk.
The use of medicine that changes hormones – like hormone therapy and the birth control pill – has the same impact. Other drugs, including chemotherapy and antimalarial medications, can also impact melanin production.
Acne, burns, cuts, and grazes all leave the skin with the job of healing. Sometimes the body around the injury will have inflammation. That’s when hyperpigmentation occurs.
Addison’s disease is a specific medication condition that impacts melanin production. This disease can leave you with hyperpigmentation in patches around the body.
How Long Does It Take for Hyperpigmentation to Go Away?
There is no set time for getting rid of hyperpigmentation. It depends on the treatment and other factors that impact the timeline.
Before exploring treatment options, we’ll explain some factors influencing timescales in this section.
Your Skin Type
Hyperpigmentation may be more noticeable in light skin tones. Nevertheless, it takes longer to heal in darker skin tones.
However, it’s important to note that everyone is different.
Some skin textures plus genetics will also determine the hyperpigmentation duration. If you continue to have lots of sun exposure, healing will also take longer.
The Hyperpigmentation Depth
Hyperpigmentation can happen at the upper layers of skin or melanin deposits can happen further down. It’s easier for hyperpigmentation to disappear on the upper layers.
That’s because our skin cells on the top layers continually renew. Deeper into the skin, that’s not so frequent.
In those circumstances, hyperpigmentation will last longer. It may also require a different type of treatment, which we’ll explore later in the article.
Large patches of skin will be noticeable for longer. A small patch of hyperpigmentation will gradually shrink and not be apparent to the eye.
Treatment Options and How Long They Take to Work
If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, you have many treatment options to help speed up the healing process. Here are some of the most effective.
Topical treatments refer to any cream or ointment that you add to the skin. It’s most effective when hyperpigmentation is on the upper layers of skin cells. It’s the best at-home treatment for hyperpigmentation.
Topical treatments include active ingredients such as retinoids, glycolic acid, and hydroquinone.
These ingredients help to lighten skin patches and slow melanin production. You’ll need to use these daily to see a result.
If your hyperpigmentation is mild, you could see results in as little as two to three weeks.
However, most people see results in several months. Hydroquinone creams will take around four weeks, and acids and retinoids around two to three months.
A professional applies a chemical peel in a beauty salon, and it’s not a typical at-home treatment. It involves adding chemicals – acids – to the skin. This kick-starts the skin’s natural regeneration process, removing old layers.
You can choose various strengths of chemical peel.
A light peel is best if the hyperpigmentation is mild and on the upper layers of the skin.
You’ll need a deeper peel treatment for more noticeable hyperpigmentation or if the melanin production has reached the lower skin layers.
This treatment is quicker than a topical treatment, but you will need more than one session to see results. Regular chemical peels could eliminate hyperpigmentation in around four to six weeks.
Another more intensive salon treatment is a laser.
Here, a laser will blast light onto the skin cells to break down melanin deposits. It’s, therefore, a helpful treatment if your hyperpigmentation affects deeper layers of your skin.
Depending on the severity of your hyperpigmentation, you could start seeing results after one session.
For more severe hyperpigmentation, expect results within about three months. That often means getting a laser treatment at least once a month and more intensive treatment.
A micro needling treatment is another option you’ll find in many beauty salons.
The beautician will use a microneedling tool to create microscopic holes in the skin’s surface.
This treatment helps to boost collagen production, so it’s popular for those looking for more youthful skin. Yet it also targets hyperpigmentation.
The collagen will reduce melanin production and the appearance of dark patches. Microneedling is a viable option if you are wondering how to treat dark spots on buttocks and other areas of the bodyYou’ll start to see results within three months. However, you’ll need monthly or six-weekly sessions to see noticeable changes.
LED Light Mask
You can do an LED treatment in a salon or home with the right equipment like the Cleopatra LED light mask. It uses different light wavelengths to treat various skin conditions.
For hyperpigmentation, you’ll see an improvement with blue or red LED light masks.
The LED light slows melanin production. Plus, it will also reduce inflammation around the skin.
However, you’ll need to use it regularly to see a change, and it usually takes around four weeks or more. That depends on the severity of your hyperpigmentation.
Maybe chemicals and acids aren’t right for you, and you prefer the natural approach. Fortunately, there are home remedies you can use to reduce hyperpigmentation. Here are some of the most effective.
Aloe vera soothes skin and has been a popular natural and safe remedy for decades. This natural ingredient has properties that can help lighten dark patches of skin.
You should apply this daily for the best results. For mild hyperpigmentation, you’ll see a difference within a few months with consistent use.
Vitamin C as a topical treatment helps stop melanin production in the affected area. It boosts antioxidants, which lower inflammation and help contain skin damage.
Vitamin-C-enriched skin creams can help reduce hyperpigmentation over several months of daily use.
An ancient spice is a surprisingly effective natural remedy for hyperpigmentation. Tumeric contains something called curcumin. This counters the production of melanin.
To use it on your skin, mix a small amount of turmeric with natural yogurt. However, don’t use too much at once, as turmeric is a natural dye that could stain your skin.
It’s important to take steps to prevent further hyperpigmentation during treatment. That will stop the problem from getting worse and counteracting your remedies.
Further damage could lengthen the time it takes you to get rid of it. Here are some sensible ways to help prevent hyperpigmentation.
Staying Out of the Sun
Continual sun exposure will worsen your hyperpigmentation. The best option is to avoid the sun while you are undergoing treatment.
If you must go out in the sun, use a high SPF sunscreen, whatever the weather.
You should also use clothing to boost that protection, including hats and long-sleeved garments. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming.
Change Your Skincare Routine
Some harsh chemicals can make your skin more inflamed when you have treatment for your hyperpigmentation.
It’s best to avoid potent skin products until you get rid of hyperpigmentation. That includes chemicals and exfoliators, both of which could irritate the skin.
Cleanse and Moisturise
You must use gentle products on your skin to keep it clean and well-moisturized. As we mentioned in the previous section, avoid chemicals and strong products.
Focus on gentle cleansers and moisturizers made with natural, organic ingredients. Any product with vitamin C is a good choice, as that will help the healing process.
Managing the Emotional Side of Hyperpigmentation
While waiting for your skin to heal, it’s essential to handle the emotional side of hyperpigmentation. Here are some helpful tips.
Self-Esteem and Body Image
You may find that having hyperpigmentation affects your self-esteem. Use meditation or mindfulness to help address these feelings.
Avoid social media, as the beauty industry on these apps can often damage your self-esteem.
It’s essential you feel comfortable living your life as usual. Don’t avoid social interaction or let hyperpigmentation get in the way of important parts of your life, such as job interviews.
If you find it hard to handle self-esteem issues from hyperpigmentation, seek help. An online support group or professional counseling could offer advice.
It will also give you tools for boosting your body confidence and self-image. Talk to trusted friends or family about your feelings and concerns.
Dealing With Hyperpigmentation
If you have hyperpigmentation, you might find it often plays on your mind. Perhaps you often wonder: how long does it take for hyperpigmentation to go away?
If so, we hope this guide helped to answer those questions. There are plenty of natural remedies and beauty treatments available for you. Choose one and use it consistently to start seeing some results.
If you enjoyed this beauty article, keep reading other helpful tips on our website. We have many health and beauty guides to answer your other pressing questions.
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