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How Professionals Treat Skin Discolorations

The treatment of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) tends to be a difficult and prolonged process that often takes 6-12 months to achieve the desired results of depigmentation. Each of these treatment options potentially improves epidermal hypermelanosis, but none is proven effective for dermal hypermelanosis. Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (sun protection factor [SPF] 15 or greater) is an essential part of any therapeutic regime

A variety of topical treatments have been used to treat epidermal postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, with varying degrees of success. These agents include hydroquinone, tretinoin cream, corticosteroids, glycolic acid (GA), and azelaic acid. [5] Lightening of hyperpigmented areas may be achieved with one of the previously named topical agents; however, a combination of topical creams and gels, chemical peels, and sunscreens may be necessary for significant improvement. They are only effective for epidermal hyperpigmentation.Topical applications containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids, which exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin, are helpful in treating hyperpigmentation of all types. The following types of topical applications are available:
Hydroquinone. This topical application is the most commonly used, and it’s the only skin lightening treatment approved by the FDA.
Kojic acid. This acid is derived from a fungus and works similarly to hydroquinone.
Azelaic acid. Developed to treat acne, this has been found to be an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation as well.
Mandelic acid. Derived from almonds, this type of acid is used to treat all types of hyperpigmentation.
Pigmented makeup creams have also been successfully used to camouflage hyperpigmented skin to a hue similar to that of the surrounding unaffected skin.