Does sunscreen help existing hyperpigmentation marks fade?
The answer is yes, to a certain extent.
Hyperpigmentation marks occur after a skin injury or inflammation rather frequently in Asian skin, especially in darker Asian skin. During the active pigment forming period, which may last up to 3 months, it is generally useful to prevent UV exposure (e.g. avoid unnecessary sun-exposed activities, using umbrellas and sun-hats, using sunscreens) to prevent the pigment-forming cells (melanocytes) from going into overdrive due to UV stimulation. Hence, during this phase, sunscreen use definitely helps fade hyperpigmentation marks faster. Additional measures that may be useful in the fading process include the use of lightening creams and gentle exfoliation.
If the hyperpigmentation marks are deeper and have been there for much longer (e.g. many months or even years), the hyperpigmentation marks are often due to the deeper pigment located in special cells called melanophages in the dermis. The use of sunscreens in this situation may still help but its benefits may be indirect by preventing new pigment formation rather than by actively clearing existing pigmentation. Chronic hyperpigmentation marks remain tough to fade and currently available treatment strategies (lightening creams, exfoliation, pigment lasers, fractional lasers) often offer only mild-modest and variable benefits.
Nonetheless, the use of sunscreens as an essential part of UV prevention remains a key part of managing all forms of hyperpigmentation.
Hope this helps!
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