Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin.
Before / After
It affects all skin types regardless of age and ethnicity but higher pigmented skins have an increased risk. Pigment spots such as age spots or freckles develop due to sun exposure, and can vary in size.
Melasma or Chloasma is often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”, as it a high percentage of pregnant women. It occurs as a result of hormonal influences such as pregnancy and birth control pills, and causes dark and irregularly shaped areas on the face or arms that can be quite large.
Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation can occur when an injury or trauma to the skin heals and leaves an area of discolouration behind. It’s commonly found among acne sufferers, and can also be caused by cosmetic procedures such as dermabrasion, laser treatment and chemical peels.
Treatment with Obagi Nu Derm is very effective for reducing the pigmentation the skin treatment kit contains Hydraquinone which is a prescription only treatment.
The Obagi Nu Derm is an 18 week skin transformation treatment kit, the kit has to be ordered for the individual and the instructions for use will be explained in full. You will also be expected to attend the clinic for a review at 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 18 weeks.
You will expect to see some side effects in the first 2-4 weeks which will then settle, these include redness and dry flaking skin, this is normal. Some products in the kit may need to be replaced dependent upon your individual prescription and can be purchased separately.
Once the 18 week treatment phase is complete the hydraquinone will be gradually reduced until the therapeutic level is reached, to ensure that you do not experience rebound pigmentation, at this time some patients chose to move onto the CRx kit, which also contains hydraquinone. There are patients who will not require on-going treatment with Hydraquinone this can be omitted from the CRx kit and replaced with a standard Vitamin C Serum if you chose to continue to use the Obagi range of products.
Other causes of skin darkening include moles, scarring, birthmarks, solar or actinic keratoses and skin cancers but these aren’t considered to be forms of hyperpigmentation. See your doctor or pharmacist if you’re concerned about any of your dark spots, or if they are new, start to bleed, itch, or change in size or colour.