I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Emily Altman about what is the best solution to clear the skin of scaring and hyperpigmentation.
According to WebMD (2010), the definition of Hyperpigmentation is: skin that has had an increase in melanin, the substance in the body that is responsible for color (pigment). Certain conditions, such as pregnancy or Addison’s disease (decreased function of the adrenal gland), may cause a greater production of melanin and hyperpigmentation. Exposure to sunlight is a major cause of hyperpigmentaion, and will darken already hyperpigmented areas.
Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by various drugs, including some antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, and antimalaria drugs.
Dr. Emily Atman says this:
There are a number of different skin treatments for hyperpigmentation that would be a good place to start as treatment. Most often we start with a hydroquinone preparation, but the efficacy does depend on the reason for the hyperpigmentation. Melasma, even though a stubborn skin condition, does better with a hydroquinone and sunblock than let’s say post-inflammatory pigmentation from acne or a rash. That one is more difficult to treat. Several other treatments that are used in conjunction with a hydroquinone are retinoids and azelaic acid.
The most important thing about treating hyperpigmentation or melasma is that a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 50 or above needs to be used every day to prevent further darkening of the hyperpigmented skin areas. Also these medications are not intended for pregnant women, who often get hyperpigmentation due to hormones.
As far as scars are concerned, if it is just a discoloration, the same approach is used initially. If a scar is actually a change in skin texture, there are laser procedures to treat those.
Thank you for your time Dr. Altman. It has been a pleasure.