Hyperpigmentation affects many people and can include a range of conditions such as sunspots or melasma. While not typically of medical concern, hyperpigmentation can cause self-consciousness in your appearance. Dermatologists like Dr. Damstetter understand the various causes of hyperpigmentation and the best treatment options to safely and effectively achieve a more even skin tone. While treatment is not usually medically necessary, you can choose to address your hyperpigmentation through various treatment options at Reserve Dermatology in Glenview, Illinois.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a very common skin concern that is usually harmless. Hyperpigmentation will cause patches of the skin to appear darker in color than the surrounding skin due to excess melanin.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

There are several types and causes of hyperpigmentation. The most common include:

  • Age-related hyperpigmentation, referred to as sunspots, age spots, or liver spots
  • Melasma
  • Freckles
  • Scarring (including acne scars)


“I had a recent visit to Dr Damstetter’s clinic and would like to share my experience. I am a Navy vet(corpsman) and usually get seen at the VA but since we don’t have a Derm provider right now, I was fortunately sent out to her clinic to be evaluated. It’s a nice clinic in a nice area and was relatively easy to find. A pleasant Ms. Nancy at the front desk was helpful in completing the check-in process. Easy day. I did not have to wait long and was soon met by Dr. Damstetter’s assistant, who for classified reasons I will refer to as “Agent 8”. I am sure if she gets tired of providing excellent medical care, her slick-ninja skillset could get her a job with the CIA or MI6 maybe. Short story long, Agent 8 brought me back to the patient area, where I was introduced to Dr Damstetter, who was all the things you would want in a doctor: a knowledgeable provider with a great bedside manner. She gave me a thorough exam which did end up showing that I needed a minor procedure. No worries. I felt well taken care of throughout my visit. No one likes to have to see the doctor, but if you have a dermatological concern, this is a good place with good people who did great by me, and I am thankful to have been sent here.”

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation has several causes, depending on the type of hyperpigmentation you are facing.

Many types of hyperpigmentation are caused by sun damage over time. For example, age spots are more likely to develop as a result of excess sun exposure over the course of your lifetime. Other types of hyperpigmentation, like freckles, can be caused by a combination of genetic factors and sun exposure. Freckles are an inherited trait and may be present at all times for some patients, while others may develop freckles in warmer months as a result of sun exposure.

Damage to the skin can also result in hyperpigmented scars. This applies to traumatic injuries, surgeries, or skin conditions including acne.

Finally, hormonal changes can cause hyperpigmentation. This is especially true for patients who take hormonal birth control or during pregnancy. Melasma is especially common as a result of hormonal changes.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options

Hyperpigmentation does not require treatment for medical reasons. However, some patients may choose to address their hyperpigmentation for cosmetic purposes. They may feel self-conscious about the appearance of dark patches, scars, and other unwanted pigmentation.

In some cases, topical lightening creams can be beneficial. These creams contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, or cortisone, which can reduce melanin in the cells where they are applied. The appropriate topical treatment will depend on factors like the severity of the hyperpigmentation.

Laser treatments can also be beneficial for hyperpigmentation. Lasers and light therapy, like IPL, work to break apart pigmented cells, resulting in a smoother and more even skin tone.

Chemical peels are a popular treatment for various forms of hyperpigmentation. A peeling solution is applied to the area of concern over a series of in-office treatments. This is best done in combination with an appropriate skincare regimen.

Finally, microneedling can be beneficial for some patients dealing with hyperpigmentation. This treatment option is common for those who have acne scars, for example. Microneedling stimulates new collagen growth for a rejuvenated look.

In addition to these treatment options, Dr. Damstetter can give you advice and recommend products that will prevent future skin damage and hyperpigmentation. Wearing SPF 30+ daily is especially important to avoid sun damage. This also protects your skin from an increased risk of skin cancer.

Pigment Correction Products

Effective products to lighten unwanted hyperpigmentation for all skin types:

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about hyperpigmentation and your best treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Liz Damstetter. Call Reserve Dermatology in Glenview Illinois or contact us online.

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