How to Treat Hyperpigmentation: Sun Spots, Age Spots, and Melasma!

How to treat sun damage, how to treat melasma, summer skin care tips, Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Nicholas Vendemia


Summer is in full-swing! All those BBQ’s, picnics, and beach days mean lots of overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can lead to a major summer-bummer: sun damage.

After years of soaking up the sun, it is not uncommon develop dark “sun spots” on your face, chest, shoulders, etc. Those pesky spots are caused by hyperpigmentation, and can be quite difficult to get rid of.

What is hyperpigmentation and how can you treat it?  Keep reading to find out more!

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation refers to darkening patches of skin that are caused by an increased production of melanin (the cells that give skin it’s color). Hyperpigmentation can be localized to small areas (like small sun spots), or can affect entire areas, such as the face (like Melasma).

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Excess sun exposure is the most common cause for hyperpigmentation.

Sun exposure actually stimulates the body to produce melanin which is why you get a tan. As the body ages, the distribution of pigmentation cells in the body becomes less regulated, and as sun damage sets in, those cells (melanocytes) become less uniformly distributed in the skin. This leads to dots and spots (aka hyperpigmentation) instead of a uniform color.

Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by skin irritation from certain medications (antibiotics, the Pill, Retin A, etc) , pigmentation disorders like melasma, hormone fluctuations, or even by using laser treatments in people with darker skin types.

Is hyperpigmenation harmful?

Hyperpigmentation itself is not necessarily harmful, but it is extremely important to keep a close eye on any changes in your skin.

Sometimes, those dark sun spots can be pre-cancerous, so it is a good idea to have a dermatologist or plastic surgeon check them out. Hyperpigmentation can also be related to certain medical conditions, (diabetes, hormone deficiencies, pregnancy, and certain fungal infections), so it’s always a good idea get regular check ups with your primary care doctor if you develop new changes in your skin’s tone and texture.

How do you treat hyperpigmentation?

Stay out of the sun!

Since that’s not always that practical (or fun!), using a good sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 is the best way to prevent hyperpigmentation. I like Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55, because its lightweight and easy to wear every day. You can also protect your skin with clothing, hats, and umbrellas to minimize the amount of rays that reach your skin.

If you already have sun spots, there are treatments available. Keep in mind that the damage didn’t happen overnight, and neither will reversing it. Plan on a few months of using regular use of lotions, serums, and other treatments before noticing a result.

skin lightening, melasma, skincare, sun spots, age spots, wrinkles, liver spotsThere are many choices on the market for treating hyperpigmentation, so it’s important to know what works. Look for products that use hydroquinone, kojic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid), azelic acid, ascorbic acids, or tretinoin. I find that a combination of targeted ingredients helps reduce spots more effectively than one ingredient alone. Most “spot treatments” and skin lightening products available over-the-counter do not have any of the known skin lightening ingredients, so make sure to check the labels! Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel has both glycolic acid and 2% hydroquinone to help exfoliate and treat areas of hyperpigmentation (Sephora, $60). Products available from a doctors office have stonger concentrations of these skin lightening ingredients, so its always a good idea to see what your Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist recomment. It is also extremely important to use a high SPF in conjunction with the use of any treatments!

At Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery, we offer a series of MAS Magnifique facials for hyperpigmentation using professional grade concentrations of glycolic acid, kojic acid, and azelic acid (not available over the counter or at Day Spas). For the best results, we recommend a series of 3 treatments with use of our Sunspot Series Skincare packages with a Skin Lightening Serum in between treatments.

Hyperpigmentation treatments, sun spots, acne, melasma, MAS Magnifique Facialskin lightening, melasma, skincare, sun spots, age spots, wrinkles, liver spots

For more information about treating hyperpigmentation, schedule an appointment with the MAS team at or give me a call at 917-703-7069. We love to answer your questions and help you stay well-educated on looking and feeling your best!

Plastic Surgeon New York City, MAS, Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery, Dr Nicholas VendemiaShea Slaymaker, PA-C
Physician Assistant, Beauty Expert
Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery


Filed under Facials, Melasma, Sun Protection

4 responses to “How to Treat Hyperpigmentation: Sun Spots, Age Spots, and Melasma!

  1. very good information here . Learned a lot really. thanks so much

  2. Besides the chemical treatments, you should’ve mentioned a few natural treatments. They’re safer and a lot cheaper, however not quicker in treating age spots.
    Otherwise, its very well written and quite informative post!

  3. Hi, Thanks for sharing your lovely blog with us, I really like it very much. Actually, I am a mom of the 9-year daughter and she is also suffering from Pigmentation problem and all of sudden I found your blog. I definitely going to follow your advice for my daughter health and hope she will be fine soon.

  4. Finally, I found a place where I can share my experience of hyperpigmentation problem with you guys.I am 39 years old and I am had skin pigmentation problem from very long time.I tried many things to get rid of it but I can’t see the results.After that, I consult to a dermatologist and he advised me to use “Cysteamine Cream”. I used that cream and I can see the results of that cream within 6 weeks.I suggest if someone had the same problem like me.They can also use this cream.

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