Although patchy brown pigmentation of the sun exposed face, neck and décolleté is a year-round concern, the fun in the sun of Summer can leave your skin with a “weather-beaten” appearance. You can prevent worsening of hyperpigmentation by being diligent in both.
1- wearing sunblock with at least SPF of 30, applying enough, (a nickel-sized dollop each for the face, neck, and décolleté), and re-applying for every 2-3 hours of sun exposure.
2- Keeping the direct sun off your skin. For your face wear a wide-brimmed hat, (not just a baseball cap that allows the sun to contact your cheeks). To protect the décolleté use scarves.
Medical treatment of hyperpigmentation can include an array of different topical treatments. The most effective and commonly used is hydroquinone. This compound is found naturally in many foods. When applied to the skin it resembles the amino acid tyrosine which the pigment cells in the skin ingest as an ingredient to make melanin, (the brown pigment), but instead of brown pigment being made, the “pigment” comes out “clear”. This effect takes about a month to develop as the old pigment comes to the surface and sheds. Keeping the direct sun off the face is key as the sun is stronger than any topical treatment trying to reduce the pigment cell’s activity!
Other treatments of hyperpigmentation include Pulse Light therapy, (“IPL”, which “bakes” the pigment, encouraging it to shed, and takes multiple treatments), and laser resurfacing, which vaporizes off the upper layers of skin including the pigment.
The above sun avoidance and skin care are still necessary even with light or laser based therapies to prevent recurrence. Hyper-pigmentation cannot be cured, but it CAN be treated. :)