Clearing Hyperpigmentation in ANY Skin Type: From Birthmarks to Sun Spots


Brighten Those Dark Patches

By Dr. Daniel Levy, Cosmetic Dermatologist


Skin darkening, or hyperpigmentation, results from both genetic tendencies and environmental triggers. On a cellular level, hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes, located in the epidermis, produce excess melanin. In any skin type, ultraviolet light always stimulates melanocytes to produce excess melanin. When this occurs, sometimes a tan develops, but often there’s a residual, unwanted form of hyperpigmentation.

In people with genetically darker skin who experience UV exposure, hyperpigmentation often manifests as brown patches around the eyes, mouth, cheeks, and forehead. In genetically fair skin types, UV exposure results in small, scattered brown “sunspots.”
In certain parts of the face, the skin may project hyperpigmentation due to factors other than excess melanin production. For example, the typical “dark circles” around the eyes are caused by vascular leakage of red blood cells which, when reflected through thin eyelid skin, projects a purplish/dark hue, conveying a tired appearance. Rather than lightening the eyelid skin with a bleaching cream, the best approach is to build vessel and collagen strength (using a product like SkinMedica TNS eye repair) or to inject a filler (Restylane) which lifts the skin and shields underlying vessels. Around the mouth, the appearance of hyperpigmentation is sometimes due to excess hair production. Thus, the best treatment would be laser hair removal.

If you have, or are prone to, hyperpigmentation, schedule a consultation at The Medical Spa to discuss an individualized plan for treatment and prevention.

State-of-the-art skin lightening and rejuvenating cream

Over the past few years, I’ve researched many different combinations of skin lightening creams. Many don’t work at all and others offer a mild improvement. After attending the International American Academy of Dermatology Conference, it became clear to me that there are only a few key ingredients which can modulate melanocyte activity. These are hydroquinone, tretinoin, and kojic acid.
As a result of this research, we have customized a blend of these three essential ingredients (HQ/RA/KA) into an elegant and effective skin rejuvenating and lightening cream which is only available in The Medical Spa.


The following table summarizes common types of hyperpigmentation and appropriate cosmetic treatments

Type of Hyperpigmentation                 Mechanism                                 Medical Spa Intervention

Brown “sunspots”                    Induction of melanin by UV light                             IPL, Fraxel or FX Laser

Melasma (pregnancy mask)   Induction of melanin by hormone surges       HQ/RA, SkinMedica SPF 50, Vitalize Peel, IPL,Fraxel

Dark circles around eyes    Weak collagen and vessels, blood cell leakage     SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair, Restylane filler

Darkening of upper lip         Induction of melanin production by hormone surges     HQ/RA, SkinMedica Sunscreen SPF 50

                                        Excess hair growth                                                       IPL, Laser hair removal

Dark blemishes after acne,         Induction of melanin by inflammation                HQ/RA, SPF 50, Vitalize Peel, IPL

rash, or burn

Article by
Bellevue Dermatologic Surgeon