Q: Dr. Eppley, I went to see a dermatologist for the first time due to dark marks on my hips and buttocks. I have been getting “boils” for the last 10 years…on and off, but recently it seems to be under control since I have been exfoliating and applying topical creams. My dermatologist tells me that I have “post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation” from folliculitis. He has prescribed a 4% hydroquinone cream which is to bleach these darker spots and will take approx. 6 months. When I asked him about any other method of treatment, he had no suggestions. I noticed on your website that you also offer laser treatments for skin problems. I’m wondering if there is anything more effective that can be done for my hyperpigmentation? I had read about certain types of lasers specific for the treatment of hyperpigmentation online but unsure how effective it would be. Being Asian, I’m not sure if these other treatments would be suitable for me. Could you please advise on the treatment for my case?
A: As you may know being Asian, hyperpigmentation is a common problem and a difficult one. Bleaching creams are the standard approach and, while they don’t pose any risks with use, are slow to work and often not that effective.
One technique that can be effective with a more rapid response is pulsed light therapy, often known as IPL or BBL. While often perceived as a laser, it is different being high intensity pulsed light not focused beam light. With selectivhe filters it can reduce the hyperpigmentation in a single treatment by selectively targeting the brown pigment for elimination. This in combination with hydroquinone can help reduce hyperpigmentation fairly quickly.
Dr. Barry Eppley