How to Reduce Pigmented Spots on Your Skin

Woman with pigmented spots on her face How to Reduce Pigmented Spots on Your Skin

Our skin is made up of a number of components that need to work in synergy to make sure things go right. When things go wrong, irregular pigmentation can occur. Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the appearance of pigmented spots on your skin with the help of a dermatologist.

How to Reduce Pigmented Spots

All About Skin Pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a term that describes patches of darker skin. They can appear on any skin type, and they’re noticeable on dark or light complexions. At their core, pigmented spots develop the same way, even though there are many different types of hyperpigmentation. Our skin produces melanin, which is what gives skin its pigmentation. When excessive melanin is created, these spots develop. The causes of excess melanin production include hormonal shifts (such as pregnancy or menopause), sun damage, and inflammatory skin conditions like acne or eczema.

Freckles are the most widespread form of hyperpigmentation. It’s exceptionally rare to not have any spots of pigmentation on your skin. Freckles are most common in people with light skin and fair hair. There are two categories of freckles: ephelides or solar lentigines. Ephelides are usually hereditary. If your parents or grandparents had freckles, you’re more likely to develop these in your childhood. Sun damage plays a factor in these, but even very well-protected skin can develop freckles. Solar lentigines are also known as age spots and usually develop in people over 40 as a result of sun damage. Another type of hyperpigmentation, called melasma, is characterized by larger patches of darkened skin that can appear for a variety of reasons. They’re more common in people with darker skin, as melanin is already present in higher levels. Melasma also often occurs in pregnant women because of surging hormones. Melasma most often appears on the face or stomach but can occur almost anywhere on the skin.


Microdermabrasion is a process in which the skin is lightly abraded. Microdermabrasion is effective in treating less severe cases of hyperpigmentation, as it doesn’t penetrate as deep as other treatments. The epidermis is removed by abrasion in sessions that are conducted in your dermatologist’s office. Multiple sessions are necessary as your dermatologist focuses on removing the affected skin. This process works best for people with fair skin, but it’s a good starting point for treating any light hyperpigmentation. Besides physically removing pigmented skin, microdermabrasion encourages healthier skin growth. Because this is technically trauma, the skin goes into overdrive to repair itself, meaning a smoother, clearer complexion will develop in the wake of treatment.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are like an extra intense facial. Instead of focusing on moisturizing and exfoliation, a chemical peel is designed to damage the skin. Acids like glycolic or salicylic acid are commonly used in chemical peels targeting hyperpigmentation. Depending on the intensity of your hyperpigmentation, stronger acids may be used that penetrate deeper than the epidermis. Removing even more melanin by penetrating the dermis is achievable with chemical peels. Chemical peels are a good choice for people of all skin tones, but people with darker skin often don’t need such intense chemical peels. Lower strength acids or concentrations of acids should do the trick.

Laser Therapy

There are a variety of laser treatments and devices that can reduce pigmented spots. Laser light is focused on the dark patches of skin, exposing the melanin to intense light and heat. This kills the melanin and the melanocytes that produce it. Slowly, following treatment, you will notice a lightening of the hyperpigmentation. Multiple sessions of laser therapy are required to produce the best results. Since lasers use intense light, it’s important to note that the opposite result can happen with laser therapy. Laser therapy can cause skin to darken in people who tan easily or have a darker complexion.

Reducing the appearance of hyperpigmented spots on your skin is possible, but there’s a lot of different ways to do it. If you’re ready to explore what treatment will work best for you, give the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates a call today.

Request an Appointment

Book Online