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Hyperpigmentation: Causes and Treatment Options

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Hyperpigmentation is not at all uncommon, but that doesn't make the condition any less frustrating. These areas of darkened skin, often referred to as "age spots" or "liver spots," rarely have anything to do with your age or liver. Rather, hyperpigmentation's main causes are skin injury, such as an acne blemish or psoriasis patch; UV exposure, which results in patches called "lentigines" that are found on 90% of light-skinned individuals over the age of 60 (but are certainly seen on younger individuals); and hormonal fluctuations, such as during pregnancy or following use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Regardless of the cause, hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes - the cells responsible for giving our skin its pigment - become overactive and produce more melanin. It can also occur due to a proliferation of melanocytes in the skin. 

Hyperpigmentation treatment falls into two main camps: topical treatments and professional procedures. In particularly stubborn cases, best results are achieved when a combination of the two are used.

Topical Treatments

Among the ingredients found to be most beneficial in the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation are hydroquinone, azelaic acid, mandelic acid and kojic acid, the latter of which is used in Lexli Lightening Lift, an aloe vera face mask beneficial in improving hyperpigmentation. Also helpful is niacinamide, which is found in Lexli Acne Moisturizer with Sunblock, a product that not only moisturizes the skin, but also aids in the reduction of hyperpigmentation caused by blemishes.

Professional Treatments

To minimize hyperpigmentation more quickly and effectively, professional treatments are highly recommended. For best results, consult a licensed esthetician to have your skin evaluated. He or she will determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific skin type and the degree of hyperpigmentation on your skin. Among the procedures that may be utilized are non-ablative treatments (which do not remove the top layer of skin) like microdermabrasion, laser, Thermage®, intense pulsed light and superficial chemical peels, as well as ablative treatments (which do remove the top layer of skin) including dermabrasion and medium to deep chemical peels. While ablative procedures often provide better results more quickly, the inflammation they cause can occasionally result in worsened hyperpigmentation.

At-Home Hyperpigmentation Treatment

Depending on the degree of hyperpigmentation, it is possible to improve its appearance with an at-home regimen that includes effective chemical exfoliation with a product like Lexli AloeGlyC, the glycolic acid exfoliator that features a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera. Additionally, consistent use of hyperpigmentation treatment products should be incorporated. Look for products that feature some of the ingredients mentioned above.

As is usually the case when it comes to skin care, prevention is key. The most important tip we can provide is to apply sunscreen every single day and to be especially diligent about sunscreen application if you exfoliate your skin. For most individuals, this simple practice will minimize the potential of developing new areas of darkened skin. 

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