Non-Invasive Cosmetic and Laser Specialists in Irvine, CA

Having beautiful, healthy skin can help boost your confidence and help you achieve that glowing look you want. However, dark spots (hyperpigmentation) can get in the way of that flawless look you want.

The good news is that you can get hyperpigmentation treatment in Irvine, CA. But before we dig into the treatment specifics, let’s explore just what hyperpigmentation is and its causes. 

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin caused by an overproduction of melanin (darker pigment). It does not occur in a uniform manner but usually in patches.

Types and Causes of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation comes in various forms, from sunspots to melasma. Sun exposure, genetics, hormones, and age all contribute to the different types of hyperpigmentation. And contrary to popular belief, people of any skin color and type can have hyperpigmentation. 


One of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation is sun damage. After years of sun exposure, the damaged skin can produce melanin deposits or solar lentigines (also called sunspots, age spots, or liver spots). These melanin deposits are often called age spots because they usually occur in people over 50, although they can appear in patients much younger.

Sunspots typically appear in areas of the skin that are commonly exposed to the sun, like hands, arms and shoulders, and they don’t fade away naturally. While these spots usually occur because of UV ray exposure, genetics can also play a hand in who gets them. 


Speaking of genetics, some people are predisposed to excess melanin production whenever they are in the sun. This causes freckles, another type of hyperpigmentation. However, freckles are not a sign of skin damage and often fade on their own. 


Moles are another type of hyperpigmentation. Like freckles, they are usually benign, but they can be flat or raised. Moles are usually much darker than freckles because they are essentially a group of melanocytes, or cells that produce melanin. While usually harmless, they can develop into cancerous melanoma cellsespecially with overexposure to the sun. 


Melasma refers to brown patches of the skin, usually on the face. This type of hyperpigmentation usually occurs in women and can be caused by hormonal changes, although genetics, sunlight exposure, and thyroid disease can also contribute to the development of dark patches.

One of the most common causes of melasma is the hormonal change that occurs during pregnancy. In fact, up to 50% of pregnant women get melasma. Other causes include oral contraceptives (which contain hormones) and postmenopausal hormone supplements.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

As the name implies, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is when the skin overproduces pigment after it becomes inflamed. In other words, when the skin heals from injury and irritation it can start producing too much melanin. These darker patches may often look like acne scarring, but they don’t cause any damage and usually go away on their own. However, it can take years for the spots to completely fade.

Besides acne, things like eczema, impetigo, burns, rashes, bug bits, chemical peels, and psoriasis can all cause PIHespecially if people pick at them and cause further irritation. It’s also important to note that people with dark skin are more likely to experience PIH, especially in more severe cases. 

Hyperpigmentation vs. Hypopigmentation vs. Vitiligo

While hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin, hypopigmentation is the lightening of the skin caused by lower melanin production. Many cases of hypopigmentation are temporary. For example, when the skin heals after a burn, blister, or scar, it can become much lighter than normal until regular melanin production resumes. Tinea versicolor, a fungal infection of the skin, can also cause skin patches to become much lighter along the shoulders and back. With anti-fungal treatment, this typically goes away.

Vitiligo is a type of hypopigmentation that is semi-permanent. It’s an autoimmune disorder that damages the skin’s pigment-producing cells, causing white patches over the body. There are treatments to restore some of the pigmentation, but not a full cure. 

Can Hyperpigmentation Be Prevented?

Yes and no.

Patients can take a proactive approach by limiting sun exposure and regularly applying sunscreeneven if it’s to travel in the car. However, that doesn’t completely prevent hyperpigmentation. Remember that genetics and age also play a significant role in several types of pigmentation. Some people may develop freckles or moles even with limited time in the sun just because of their genetic makeup. In these cases, preventative measures can help limit hyperpigmentation but may not prevent it altogether.

Patients must also consider the hormonal causes of hyperpigmentation, which may not always be predictable. Some women may get melasma for the first time when pregnant, while others see it occur when starting or stopping hormonal contraceptives. Avoiding these hormonal changes is not always possible, so patients can take a proactive approach to reduce hyperpigmentation with regular sun protection.

For post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, patients can take several preventative measures. The simplest one is to not pick at any spots, whether they are acne or mosquito bites. While tempting, touching or picking at the skin can cause irritation, inflammation, and a resulting buildup of melanin. People should also avoid chemical peels and harsh acne treatments, replacing them with soothing, anti-inflammatory products. And, of course, patients should avoid excess sun exposure, which can also irritate the skin.

How is Hyperpigmentation Assessed?

Skincare professionals typically perform a physical exam to assess and diagnose hyperpigmentation. They may look at the skin under ultraviolet light or take a small biopsy if there is a concern about cancerous cells.

The assessment also usually includes a discussion of the patient’s medical history and symptoms. The specialist may ask about when the symptoms started, what medication the patient is taking, and if there is a history of skin conditions in the family. 

Treatment Options for Hyperpigmentation

hyperpigmentation There are several treatment options for hyperpigmentation, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion. However, these processes can be very harsh on the skin and are not recommended for everyone. A chemical peel uses acids to remove the topmost layer of the skin, while microdermabrasion involves a physical tool that removes that same layer of skin. In other words, it’s very harsh on the skin and can cause unwanted side effects.

Another option is medication, like azelaic acid and retinoids. The issue again is that they can cause skin irritationespecially in people with sensitive or already irritated skin. 

The best alternative is a laser skin hyperpigmentation treatment in Irvine, CA. Instead of harshly removing skin layers, the laser treatment uses energy beams to reshape the skin. This prompts the natural process of waste elimination to remove those highly pigmented areas while also stimulating new cell growth.

Depending on the patient and their specific hyperpigmentation case, a specialist will use layers that penetrate different layers of the skin. This approach allows for more through hyperpigmentation rather than just removing the outermost skin layer.

Can Hyperpigmentation Be Completely Eliminated?

The answer depends on the patient and the severity of hyperpigmentation. With a safe, effective approach like laser skin treatment, most patients can see a significant reduction in melasma, sunspots, scarring, and even rough skin. However, results may vary, and some patients may need more treatment sessions than others. That’s why it’s important to discuss a treatment option with a specialist.

Once a patient has undergone laser treatment and seen incredible improvement, it’s essential that they take preventative measures to ensure that hyperpigmentation doesn’t returnor worsen. The best way to do this is to protect the skin from excess sun exposure. 

Home Remedies and Skincare Tips for Hyperpigmentation

Aside from proper sun protection, patients can also implement a nourishing skincare routine. While common home remedies often include vitamin C, lemon juice, and aloe vera, they have been known to cause skin damage and irritation. Patients should instead look for gentle products to help cleanse and exfoliate while also moisturizing.

Of course, this routine should be paired with proper sun protection and a healthy diet. People should avoid items that cause inflammation, like processed foods, and instead opt for things rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and tuna. Natural sources of vitamins E and C are also good options, like almonds, broccoli, and citrus fruits.

Keep in mind that stress also affects the skin. While some life events are unavoidable, patients can implement relaxation techniques and even seek counseling to help manage their stress before it manifests in their skin’s health and appearance. 

When Should I Seek Professional Help for Hyperpigmentation?

If you are unhappy with your dark spots, no matter how minor or severe, you can seek professional help from a hyperpigmentation clinician who specializes in aesthetic treatments. With a simple consultation, they can assess your skin and hyperpigmentation issues, then recommend a treatment plan.

Hyperpigmentation is usually not seriousalthough not ideal. However, some forms of hyperpigmentation can become cancerous. If patients notice changes in moles or experience painful patches, they should get medical attention for a full diagnosis. 


While extremely common, hyperpigmentation can affect people’s confidence and self-esteem. If that resonates with you, know that there are ways to help reduce and eliminate these concerns and more.

With minimally invasive procedures like laser skin treatments, you’ll notice significant improvements in your skin’s health and appearance. Talk to a professional today to discuss hyperpigmentation treatment in Irvine, CAand don’t forget to apply regular sunscreen!