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How Do I Reduce Back Hyperpigmentation?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Back hyperpigmentation, or dark spots located on the back, develop from sun exposure, hormone changes, or as a reaction to certain types of medicine. Treatment for back hyperpigmentation includes medical treatment, such as laser therapy or microdermabrasion, skin lightening, and exfoliation. Regardless of the type of treatment used, it is important to follow up with the regular use of sunscreen to prevent the condition from recurring.

Using creams to lighten dark spots is an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation. Look for active ingredients such as hydroquinone or azelaic acid in the lightening cream. Hydroquinone cream is available over the counter in a 2 percent solution, and by prescription in a 4 percent concentration.

These creams work by halting the body's production of melanin. They work best if applied only to the areas that are discolored. If applied to the entire back, like lotion, the skin may develop lighter spots, from lack of pigmentation.

Exfoliation is the second method of treating back hyperpigmentation. Exfoliation removes the excess melanin already in place on the skin. There are two methods to exfoliate, physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation uses crushed seeds, small beads, or even a washcloth to scrub the skin.

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Chemical exfoliation uses products such as alpha-hydroxy acid to break down the chemical compounds in the skin, allowing the dead buildup of excess skin cells. Salicylic acid is a particularly effective chemical exfoliant for treating hyperpigmentation caused by problems with back acne. It contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which make it an effective treatment for acne as well as exfoliating agent.

To effectively treat back hyperpigmentation, use a combination of lightening creams and exfoliating agents. This provides quicker results than either product on its own. The lightening cream will halt the production of melanin in trouble spots, while exfoliation will speed the turnover of dead cells, removing the discolored skin.

Stubborn cases of back hyperpigmentation may require treatment from a healthcare provider. There are several medical procedures that can fade dark spots, including laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels. A healthcare professional can also prescribe stronger lightening creams than those available over the counter.

The best treatment for stubborn cases of hyperpigmentation depend on the skin type, extent of the discoloration, the sensitivity of the skin, and the patient's budget. The skin may be sensitive, red, or inflamed for days or weeks after one of these procedures. As with over the counter treatments, it is important to follow up the treatment with consistent use of sunscreen.

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