Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham offers treatments for patches of dark skin known as “hyperpigmentation.” Because the skin discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors, the residents of Columbus and Upper Arlington rely on her expertise for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin that is caused by higher levels of melanin, a derivative of an amino acid that is responsible for the color of your eyes, skin, and hair. Hyperpigmentation describes patches of darker skin versus the overall change in skin color that results from tanning. The most common types of hyperpigmentation are:
Some types of hyperpigmentation, such as small freckles, do not require treatment if you are comfortable with the size and location. For age spots, sun spots, melasma and other patches of dark skin, men and women may consider treatment for cosmetic reasons. The dark areas are usually very easy to see and can be embarrassing, especially if the spot is on the face or hands.
Hyperpigmentation treatment can be applied on the face and body. Dr. Hicks-Graham chooses a topical treatment that takes into consideration the delicate nature of the skin, such as the skin on your face, as well as the proximity to sensitive areas, such as around the eyes.
Hyperpigmentation can be treated with topical medications or lasers to lighten the darker skin. The creams that Dr. Hicks-Graham prescribes for hyperpigmentation contain hydroquinone, which helps to decrease melanin production. As the darker skin cells die, they are replaced with lighter, new skin cells. The process does take some time, so you should expect to see results in three to six months.Laser treatments produce quicker results, but may not be covered by medical insurance, so the cost may be a barrier to treating hyperpigmentation in this manner. Laser treatments work by removing the excess pigmentation from the skin.
Hyperpigmentation treatment requires no specific preparation, but you should take steps to prevent the area from getting darker prior to and during your treatment. Dr. Hicks-Graham will recommend a sunscreen that you should use each time you are outdoors, even for short periods of time.
When using bleaching creams to lighten the areas of hyperpigmentation, you will need to be patient as the development of new skin cells can take some time. Keep the area protected from sun exposure. If you opt for laser treatment, your skin will be red and especially vulnerable to sun exposure for one to three days.
Some treatments for hyperpigmentation may be covered by your medical insurance. We can help you determine which treatments are covered, as well as the level of benefits. You may be responsible for all of the cost or just a portion. Payment is to be made at the time of treatment, and we accept cash, checks, and major credit cards. If you would like to make monthly payments on your hyperpigmentation treatment, we accept CareCredit®, a special financing program for medical expenses.
In most cases, areas of dark skin are purely cosmetic and do not indicate a medical condition that requires treatment. Hyperpigmentation treatment is primarily to help you feel more confident about your appearance.
If you are embarrassed by patches of dark skin on your face, hands and other parts of your body, contact us to schedule a consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham. She will determine what is causing the hyperpigmentation on your skin and advise you about treatment options.Liver spots, age spots and other types of hyperpigmentation can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. At Downtown Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham specializes in treatments for hyperpigmentation that lighten the area of darker skin.