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What is the difference between Melasma and Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is often referred to as a general term for any discolouration of the skin, but there are subtle differences between the types of discoloration and more importantly, the causes of discolouration. Clients often ask me “Do I have Melasma or Hyperpigmentation?” It can be obvious which one a client has, sometimes they may have a combination of both.


What is Melasma?

Melasma is caused by hormonal changes and can occur during pregnancy, if you’re using hormonal birth control or due to other hormonal imbalances. The pigmentations typically develop on your forehead, cheeks, or around the mouth. It is sometimes referred to as ‘the pregnancy mask’. It is often symmetrical.


What is Hyperpigmentation?

This is where patches of the skin become darker or discoloured in randomised patterns. This can be due to excess melanin from sun damage, as a result of acne scarring or inflammation. Sun damage is the most common culprit. Changes to the melanocytes – the pigment-making cells produce extra pigment, spread the pigment to nearby cells, which eventually reach the surface of the skin and cause a visible discolouration.

How to treat hyperpigmentation

How can I treat Hyperpigmentation and Melasma?

 The more prolonged the damage, the deeper the discolouration and the harder it is to treat. So, the sooner you take measures to prevent further pigmentation from developing the better. This could include targeting your acne prone skin to try and reduce flare-ups, or trying to reduce inflammation of sensitive skin and in all cases, it should include a high SPF on a daily basis to prevent further sun damage.

There are multiple treatments for Hyperpigmentation and Melasma, but in my opinion the best treatment for Hyperpigmentation and Melasma and a product that I often recommend in clinic due to its proven results time and time again, is the Obagi Nu-Derm Skin System. The Obagi Nu-Derm Skin System is a multi-step system that specifically targets hyperpigmentation whilst simultaneously targeting ageing skin. There is a system suitable for normal to dry or oily skin.



Zo Skin Brightening ProgramI also recommend the ZO Skin Health Brightening Programme for clients that are keen to target their hyperpigmentation without the use of Hydroquinone. This can help visibly improve the appearance of the pigmentation over the treatment period.

Without SPF however, all other treatments are futile and the pigmentation will eventually return! It is absolutely essential that whatever treatment you choose, you find an SPF suitable for you. We have multiple products available and you should use a high SPF throughout the treatment and every day following your treatment, if you want to keep your pigmentation under control.


If you would like advice on how to best treat your hyperpigmentation or would like to discuss a skincare routine with our Aesthetic Doctor, please contact the Hedox Clinic to arrange a free remote consultation on 0208 185 7273 or email us at info@hedoxclinic.co.uk

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