Asian and Hispanic skin is darker than northern European skin due to the increased amount of melanin present. Melanin is the pigment in the skin which protects it from sunlight. Because of the melanin concentration, they tend to have a more youthful appearance for longer periods of time. The melanin pigment in the skin protects the skin from sunlight and slows down the aging process.
However, this is a benefit as well as a disadvantage in some cases. As Asian and Hispanic people age, their skin often becomes irregularly pigmented. This shows up as dark patches on the skin.
Irregular pigmentation can also be caused by inflammation. If an area of the skin becomes inflamed or red from an insect bite or from an acne pimple, a brown area can be left behind as the redness or inflammation subsides.
The picture above shows Asian skin before with irregular pigmentation and dark spots. The after photo shows lightening of hyperpigmentation with the Obagi Nu-derm System.
What Causes of Irregular Pigmentation?
There are several factors that can lead to irregular pigmentation. These include sun exposure, pregnancy, birth control pills and hormone treatment with estrogen.
Any one of these on their own can contribute, and a combination of them can exacerbate the issue further.
Treatment Options For Irregular Pigmentation
There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to treating irregular pigmentation. Do not use skin lighteners or bleaching creams containing steroids.
These can cause permanent skin damage including permanent redness, thinning and blood vessel streaks. Also avoid skin lighteners or bleaching creams containing mercury as this is a poison.
Tretinoin applied daily for many months will treat irregular pigmentation. Daily use of sunscreen will help prevent irregular pigmentation form occurring.
Jessner’s solution applied once a week for several months to the dark areas will lighten hyperpigmentation.
Products which contain hydroquinone will lighten dark areas. The Obagi Nu-derm System treats hyperpigmentation very well.