However, when they appear on your face, you’re far more likely to pay attention to them. Luckily, there are multiple effective ways to help support treatment for hyperpigmentation around the mouth.
Let’s dive in and look at a few of them in more detail.
Exfoliation is one of the best tools that we have for a variety of different skin care concerns. The technique is so effective because it helps remove the top few layers of the epidermis, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation around the mouth (as well other concerns like fine lines and wrinkles) and stimulates the quicker replenishment of new skin cells.
When it comes to using exfoliation to treat hyperpigmentation, what is happening is that the pigmented cells that exist on the skin are being broken up. Over time, as the process continues, the dark spots fade more and more until the areas are far less noticeable (or even disappear entirely).
Many different exfoliants can be used to treat the hyperpigmentation around mouth concerns most people have. It can often feel a little bit like trial and error finding the right one — and you need to stick with it for at least a few months to see a noticeable change. Some people prefer to head to the dermatologist for a prescription option, like prescription-strength retinol, but that isn’t always necessary.
If you want to take your skin renewal up a level, microneedling is the perfect option. Like standard exfoliation, microneedling helps with many common skin complaints. The treatment can help with both the look and the feel of your skin, while also tackling scars, stretch marks, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness and overall skin dullness.
While microneedling devices are sold for at-home use, we strongly urge you to avoid these products and have your treatments performed by one of our licensed providers. (Using them at home can lead to less than optimal results and may even cause more harm than good.)
As a whole, microneedling has shown its effectiveness time and time again. The procedure has been the focus of enough scientific research to prove that it can get results, and it doesn’t take very long to perform. Microneedling is just mildly uncomfortable, as the needles used are tiny enough that the procedure feels similar to a pinch or cat scratch.
Side effects of microneedling include mild redness, swelling, peeling and sensitivity, which shouldn’t last for more than a week at most.
Another cosmetic treatment that has proven itself effective is the chemical peel. Chemical peels are the third most commonly-performed cosmetic treatment in the United States. Like microneedling, the reasons patients schedule chemical peels are varied, but hyperpigmentation is at the top of that list.
Essentially, chemical peels are a more intense form of exfoliation. When you get a chemical peel, your provider will brush a combination of acids (AHAs/BHAs, retinoic and trichloroacetic) onto your face.
The skin flakes and peels, taking the top few layers of the epidermis with it. Like traditional exfoliation, this starts to fade dark spots, making them appear less and less visible over time.
Chemical peels take between one and two weeks to recover from completely, during which time your skin goes through various phases of healing. Many people need multiple treatments to reach their goals, especially when treating hyperpigmentation around the mouth area.
Appointments can be scheduled four to six weeks apart, and it usually takes four to six treatments for optimal results.
Another cosmetic treatment we’d like to feature is the BBL photofacial — BBL, or BroadBand Light. BBL photofacials are non-invasive procedures that help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and broken facial vessels, rosy cheeks and rosacea, dullness and the visibility of scars and stretch marks.
They are also an excellent treatment to help slow down the visible aging process.
BBL photofacials involve targeting your dark spots (and other areas of concern) with a concentrated, high-intensity light. The skin absorbs this light, which then helps break up and push out areas of pigment. It can take about a week to see results (like it does with a chemical peel). It may also take more than one treatment to reach optimal results, but more than any other treatment, BBL photofacials can be targeted to small, specific areas.
Side effects of BBL photofacials include skin redness (similar to a sunburn), swelling and tenderness, which should all resolve a few days after your treatment.
Gold Infusions are similar to microneedling, with a few key differences. Like microneedling, Gold Infusions involve making controlled wounds in the skin. However, while microneedling can vary in depth (from 0.1 - 2.5 mm), Gold Infusions are only made to a depth of 0.6 mm.
Gold Infusions also have a slightly shorter recovery time, especially when made deeper into the skin.
Gold Infusions tackle many of the same skin issues that the other procedures on this list can — dullness, fine lines, enlarged pores, loss of skin firmness and sun damage (including hyperpigmentation). A proprietary cocktail of vitamins and super hydrating antioxidants are “stamped” into the skin, allowing them to get deeper into the skin than just applying skin care products to the outside layer.
What makes this cosmetic treatment “gold” is that the tool providers use is made from 24-karat gold mini needles. Immediately after the procedure, the skin will appear noticeably firmer and more radiant, and the results will continue to improve over the next several days and weeks.
The best treatment is prevention. Understanding why you may be dealing with hyperpigmentation around the mouth and other areas of your face can help you reduce your risk.
The primary component of dark spots is a pigment known as melanin. You’ve likely heard of melanin before, as it’s the part of the skin that gives us our skin color. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin.
However, skin color tends to be more consistent across all of your skin, which is what sets areas of hyperpigmentation apart.
When you have hyperpigmentation, you have concentrated areas of melanin mixed into your overall skin color. These deposits make your skin appear browner and appear individually or in clusters.
Generally speaking, there is no one specific cause of hyperpigmentation. It can be related to pregnancy (a condition known as “melasma”), a side effect of certain medications (like doxycycline or oral contraceptive pills) or a reaction to trauma in that particular area.
However, in many cases, areas of hyperpigmentation are the result of chronic sun exposure. While many of us are fairly consistent about wearing sunscreen, it’s not uncommon to miss the areas around the sides of the mouth.
Over time, the UV light from the sun can make changes to the pigment, making it appear darker than the rest of the skin. The next time you apply sunscreen, make it a point to be thorough and prevent your hyperpigmentation around the mouth issues from recurring.
Areas of hyperpigmentation around the mouth may also be related to smoking. Tobacco smoke negatively impacts the ability of the skin to get oxygen, which is crucial for replenishing skin cells and encouraging quicker turnover. The areas around the mouth are even more vulnerable to this lack of oxygenation due to their proximity.
Smoking also develops fine lines and wrinkles more rapidly than they usually occur because of the repetitive motion it takes to put your mouth around a cigarette.
Treating hyperpigmentation around the mouth and other areas of your skin starts by knowing what causes the dark spots to occur in the first place. That way, after treating your hyperpigmentation, you’ll also have a head start on understanding how you can prevent them.
Ready to book your treatment or consultation? Come see us at Skin Pharm!