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How to Treat Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is the development of excess pigmented cells in certain areas of the skin.  Hyperpigmentation can be the result of inflammation in the area (a very common form of hyperpigmentation that is referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition that we often see after acne resolves), melasma (a condition that results as a combination of sun exposure and hormones), or even sun exposure. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be very troubling, as it can occur after any insult that causes inflammation on the skin.  We see post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after not only acne, but scratches on the skin, rashes, and burns.  Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be treated in a variety of ways.   Dr. Schweiger explains that, "While fractional laser resurfacing with the Fraxel laser is the most effective way to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, we often try other methods first.  Topical creams can sometimes make a big difference with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, though for a dramatic improvement we recommend them in combination with laser treatment." Here are a few treatment options for improving post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation:
  • Tazorac - Tazorac (the brand name of a medication called tazarotene) is a topical retinoid used for the treatment of acne.  It has been shown in some studies to lighten post-inflammatory pigmentation while simultaneously treating active acne.
  • Hydroquinone - Hydroquinone blocks an enzyme that is necessary for the production of pigmented cells in the skin, which leads to the breakup of excess pigmentation on the skin.
  • Chemical Peels - Chemical peels can help to lighten post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while also helping to address active acne.
  • Fraxel Laser Treatment - The Fraxel laser treatment uses microscopic columns of laser energy to stimulate the turnover of pigmented skin cells and promote the production of healthy skin cells.
Click here to learn more about the Fraxel laser for the treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
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Schweiger Dermatology

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New York, NY 10022

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