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    Patchy skin and darks spots are hardly the kind of skincare concerns that go away with a weekly face mask. And when left untreated for a long time, they simply get worse. Hyperpigmentation is today one of the biggest skincare concerns of Indian women, and often those who have it, don’t fully understand what its treatment should be so that it disappears for good. Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, founder and medical director at ISAAC Luxe, gives us the complete 101 on banishing hyperpigmentation.

    What is hyperpigmentation?

    Simply put, hyperpigmentation is when your body produces excessive melanin. This includes redness and inflammation, and can happen on any part of your body. Types of hyperpigmentation include age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

    How is it caused?

    Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) is caused by an excessive production of melanin in the skin. Asian skin tends to have more melanin than Caucasian skin, and as a result, Indian skin is more prone to skin discolouration.

    What are the best ways to treat hyperpigmentation?

    Hyperpigmentation is not permanent and can be treated with use of right products and a few preventive steps. Since we live in a tropical country, it’s imperative to protect your skin at all times from UVA and UVB rays, as well as pollution. Make sure you apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more with PA ++ and your skincare routine includes double cleansing to get rid of the pollution residue.

    Heliocare Purewhite Radiance, an oral sunscreen, is a combination of patent fern block complex with white tech complex, and comprises of pomegranate extract, vitamin B3, cystine, vitamin C, and other ingredients that reduce oxidative damage from free radicals and limit melanin production. It works from the inside to protect from hyperpigmentation.

    Using creams, cleansers, or serums with vitamin C, hydroquinone, and kojic acid have also proven beneficial to treat hyperpigmentation. Start with lower concentrations and introduce these ingredients slowly into your skincare regime. A combination of DIY remedies (potato skin, tomato juice) may work on areas with thicker skin like the neck, elbows, and knees.

    Acid Toning for beginners

    Does hyperpigmentation require frequent dermatological treatments?

    Both hyperpigmentation or melasma, aka blue or grey-brown patches usually found on the face, can be corrected with a clinical treatment combination of laser toning, microdermabrasion, and glow infusion facials. Theycorrect skin pigmentation at the surface and those deep in the dermal layers.

    Laser toning is performed using non-ablative lasers, which trigger a natural response in the body to produce more collagen and elastin. When the laser comes in contact with the dermal layers, it creates a ‘controlled thermal injury’, triggering a natural response in the body to produce more collagen and elastin. The number of sessions will depend on your skin concern. There is also Q-switch laser, which works effectively in treating stubborn patches of pigmentation. The laser energy is absorbed by the pigments (usually brown, or grey in colour), which break off into smaller fragments and are naturally cleared away by the body and facial skin.

    Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment performed by introducing tiny [tear-like] particles that helps improve the appearance of skin discolouration. There are also chemical peels with azelaic acid that help correct brown spots and pigmentation. They are to be combined with your at-home skincare routine, which includes the C-T-M routine with a day cream, sunscreen, and night cream.

    GG glow is a new, exclusive treatment at ISAAC Luxe, and involves usage of growth factors along with natural pigments, which are infused in the skin with nano needless to give skin a flawless, even tone instantly.

    Skincare

    Do you have any other skincare advice for someone managing hyperpigmentation?

    I strongly believe in the motto “prevention is better than cure”. Hence, following a good skin regimen with sun protection goes a long way. Understanding and treating hormonal imbalances also helps in avoiding skin pigmentation and chloasma (melasma in pregnancy). If your skin tans easily, then you can also start taking oral sunscreen to avoid photo damage-induced hyperpigmentation. Use skin protective scarfs or hats to block sun damage. Also, consume a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, green, leafy vegetables, berries, tomatoes, pomegranate, and fish.

    Here’s our edit of 7 products that can help tackle hyperpigmentation effectively.

    Where to buy

    Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum

    Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

    Forest Essentials Lightening & Brightening Tejasvi Emulsion

    Anjan Sachar

    While Anjan’s week is made up of writing and talking about everything from glycolic acid to the best new red lipstick, the weekends are spent testing them all, with Gossip Girl reruns on the side. When she isn’t reviewing a new face mask, you’ll find her sipping on mimosas with a side of truffle fries. Her daily essentials: Iced latte with a side of J Balvin and Prateek Kuhad.