little while ago, we wrote a blog post on hyperpigmentation – what causes it and what it means for your health. We received an overwhelming response to that article, so we wanted to follow it up with a deeper dive into dark spots: what treatment options are available and how you can address your uneven skin tone.
If you need a refresher on what hyperpigmentation is and what causes uneven skin tone, start with our past post. Then, read on here for a more in-depth look into the issue. We asked our in-house experts, the Obagi Education team, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we get about hyperpigmentation:
Can I get rid of the dark spots I have on my face?
The recommended option to treat dark spots and pigmentation is the use of hydroquinone, a tyrosinase inhibitor2, which is found in products such as the Obagi Nu-Derm® System and Obagi-C® Rx System. A consultation with your skin care physician can help you decide which treatment plan is best for you.
Should I consider an in-office treatment to help my hyperpigmentation?
In office treatments, such as lasers and chemical peels, can provide additional benefits.3 Your doctor will know best which treatments may be right for your skin type.
Can I spot-treat dark spots on my face?
We recommend that you do not spot treat hyperpigmentation, but rather apply topical treatments to your entire face, blending into the neck area. Should you choose to spot treat, you may be only treating one area of hyperpigmentation on your skin, while other visible or non-visible pigmentation may be ignored. Exposure to the sun and other factors may also contribute to ongoing uneven pigmentation, which may not be visible for weeks, months, or years. That said, please always use your products as directed by your doctor.
Should I use hydroquinone, or a system like Nu-Derm, in the summertime?
Many of our practices and patients have reported using Obagi Nu-Derm, Obagi-C Rx, and other Obagi products and systems during different seasons, with great success. Your doctor can provide you with tips and tricks on how to help keep your unique skin healthy during the warm summer months or colder winter months. Your doctor can also help you learn how to incorporate your chosen Obagi products and systems into your lifestyle.
What’s the #1 thing I can start doing today to help prevent any future skin discoloration or dark spots?
The number one thing you can do today to help prevent future skin discoloration is to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, every single day, rain or shine.3* UVA (aging) rays can penetrate through clouds, haze, and most glass, so remembering to apply your sunscreen is your best defense for helping to prevent future pigmentation concerns. Obagi has a wide variety of broad spectrum sunscreens to suit a variety of skin types and skin tones. Talk to your skin care physician to find out which one is right for you!
Did we answer your pressing question about hyperpigmentation? If not, tell us yours in the comments below.
1. Mammone T, Muizzuddin N, Declercq L, Clio D, Corstjens H, Sente I, Van Rillaer K, Matsui M, Niki Y, Ichihashi M, Giacomoni PU, Yarosh D. "Modification of skin discoloration by a topical treatment containing an extract of Dianella ensifolia: a potent antioxidant." J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010 Jun;9(2):89-95.
2. "Topical Treatments for Melasma and Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation." Medscape website. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/549273_5. Accessed January 29, 2015.
3. "Variety of options available to treat pigmentation problems." AAD Website. https://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/variety-of-options-available-to-treat-pigmentation-problems-. Accessed January 29, 2015.
*Using a broad spectrum sunscreen like Obagi® Sun Shield SPF 50 together with a comprehensive sun protection program including wearing sun protective clothing and sunglasses and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.
Important Safety Information for Nu-Derm Clear and Blender; and Obagi-C Rx C-Clarifying Serum and C-Therapy Night Cream
(contains 4% hydroquinone)
People with prior history of sensitivity or allergic reaction to this product or any of its ingredients should not use it. The safety of topical hydroquinone use during pregnancy or in children (12 years and under) has not been established.
Avoid contact with eyes, nose, mouth, or lips. In case of accidental contact, patient should rinse eyes, nose, mouth, or lips with water and contact physician.
Sunscreen use is an essential aspect of hydroquinone therapy because even minimal sunlight exposure sustains melanocytic activity.
Contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.
PRECAUTIONS (ALSO SEE WARNINGS):
Treatment should be limited to relatively small areas of the body at one time since some patients experience a transient skin reddening and a mild burning sensation, which does not preclude treatment.
Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with topical hydroquinone. It is also not known whether hydroquinone can cause fetal harm when used topically on a pregnant woman or affect reproductive capacity. It is not known to what degree, if any, topical hydroquinone is absorbed systemically. Topical hydroquinone should be used on pregnant women only when clearly indicated.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether topical hydroquinone is absorbed or excreted in human milk. Caution is advised when topical hydroquinone is used by a nursing mother.
Pediatric Usage: Safety and effectiveness in children below the age of 12 years have not been established.
Use of the product should be discontinued if hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients is noted.
Not available in select states including MA, MT, NH, NY, and TX, due to state regulations regarding the ability of physicians to dispense prescription drug products in their offices. Obagi Nu-Derm Fx System, an effective, non-prescription alternative, is available for residents in these 5 states.
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