Hyperpigmentation – age spots, sun spots, brown spots or Melasma

Skin Pigmentation issues are common with people who spent a lot of time in the sun whilst growing up. They are called “age spots” for a reason – early skin damage can show up in your 30’s, 40s, and 50’s.  Other times, women and men get Melasma, sometimes but not always related to pregnancy in women, which is an unevenly darker pigmentation pattern on the face. Click here to read about the Dermamalen treatment for Melasma.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Human skin contains melanocyte cells that produce melanin, a chemical that gives skin its colour. Too much melanin leads to hyperpigmented skin and common examples include freckles and age spots. Hyperpigmentation can results from sun exposure, trauma to the skin or as a side effect of pregnancy and certain drugs. Hyperpigmentation can cause your skin to look uneven, sallow and aged. The most common types of hyperpigmentation include:

  • Solar/actinic keratosis (sun spots)
  • Lentigines (freckles)
  • Melasma
  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Treating hyperpigmentation often requires a multifaceted approach as there is no one single procedure that can resolve the pigmentation. It can affect the skins surface (epidermal), deep (dermal) or it can be both. A thorough skin assessment is important to establish the type of hyperpigmentation so a tailored treatment plan can then be recommended to achieve best results.

What are the main causes of excess pigmentation or hyper pigmentation or Melasma?

Ultra Violet Light (UVA/UVB) can harm the skin and lead to pigmentation problems, aged spots and Melasma as well as put you at a high risk of skin cancer (high levels of exposure or if you have a genetic risk).

  • One of the main causes of hyper-pigmentation is prolonged sun exposure.
  • Cumulative ultraviolet radiation(UV) can penetrate deep into the skin and cause pigmented lesions including liver spots, age spots, freckles and actinic keratosis.

Medications & Hormones can cause uneven pigmentation such as Melasma

  • This type of hyperpigmentation is caused by hormonal fluctuations, and is a normal occurrence during pregnancy.
  • It can also occur as a results of thyroid dysfunction and as a side effect of taking birth control pills or hormone therapy medication.
  • This type of hyperpigmentation is called Melasma and it appears as a butterfly-shaped darkening of the skin which often appears across the cheeks, upper lips and forehead.
  • Recommended Reading: Effective Treatments for Melasma

Trauma can lead to scars or other facial pigmentation differences or blotchy-looking skin

  • This type of hyperpigmentation is called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) and is caused by skin injury such as psoriasis, burns, acne and some skin care treatments.
  • It usually goes away as the skin regenerates and heals, however in darker skin types PIH can sometimes be permanently embedded in the skin.
  • Burns are a common trauma to the facial skin that patients want help with; ask us for details about potential therapies to reduce uneven skin textures; we may be able to suggest some treatments to try.
Facial Rejuvenation Guide Download

What treatments are available for pigmentation concerns, sun damage and Melasma?

There are many treatments that may help you reduce pigmentation and get a fresher, more-evenly skin toned facial appearance.

Phone us for an assessment consultation for details, and be sure you ask for a Canfield Reveal assessment.

A Canfield Reveal assessment during a consultation for skin care can help your Clinician know what to recommend in terms of treatments or home-care systems.

Canfield Reveal facial imaging

Laser Resurfacing

The Fraxel 1927nm and the CO2 Fractionated RF Dot Therapy are two great procedures that can dramatically improve sun damaged or hyper pigmented skin. The laser technology produces tiny dots of laser to treat “fractions” of the skin, removing the pigmentatation along with the top layers, allowing the remaining intact skin to heal and rejuvenate. These laser treatments have become the gold standard for the removal of pigmented skin compared to traditional lasers.

Limelight IPL

This treatment utilises Intense Pulse Light (IPL) to absorb the superficial pigmentation in the skin. It can also pick up any superficial redness and tiny little capillaries at the same time to refresh the skin.

Chemical Skin Peeling

Chemical skin peels that contain specific lightening ingredients can reduce hyperpigmenattion by exfoliating the layers of the skin where pigmented spots and discolouration are present. This treatment is more ideal for those with superficial (epidermal) hyperpigmentation. It also helps to improve skin penetration to further reduce and prevent pigmentation from coming back.


It is known that UV light from the sun can cause skin darkening and hyperpigmentation. Applying a good quality brad spectrum sunscreen everyday is the most important part in treatment and preventing discolouration and pigmented skin.

Medicated Skincare

These contain bleaching and pigment inhibiting ingredients including hydroquinone, kojic acid, retinol, lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid. These are effective topical preparations for hyperpigmented skin and to maintain a brighter complexion.

Next Step: Booking your Initial Consultation for Hyperpigmentation Treatments

Send us a confidential enquiry or call on (03) 8849 1400 to arrange your Confidential Consultation with one of our Coco Ruby team.

Want more information before scheduling your treatment consultation?

  • Request more information about any of our skin procedures including laser rejuvenation, Fraxel, Injectables or Healite II treatments – call or contact us
  • Attend our FREE Regular Practice Events and meet our Skin Treatment Experts and our team of Plastic Surgeons – learn more about non-surgical and surgical options for face, body, breast and skin

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