Skin SOS: Hyperpigmentation? Freckles? Dark Spots? We Can Help!

As a young girl, I admittedly envied the dusting of freckles across my friends’ noses and cheeks. I remember how cute their freckles were and to me (whose skin is olive-based and plain in comparison), I often wished I had freckles like “Little Orphan Annie.” Today I know better.

Fast-forward 30 years and as an esthetician, I still find myself looking at people’s skin while I’m commuting on the train or walking around the city. However, I now understand that freckles are a form of hyperpigmentation. Let’s take a moment to talk about hyperpigmentation.


Hyperpigmentation is a form of sun damage. When our skin is exposed to the sun, the body produces an excess amount of “melanocytes” – better known as melanin. Melanin is what gives our skin its color.

However, when the skin is left unprotected— no sunscreen to block the UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays— the body produces more melanin to try and protect the skin. Regardless of your skin tone, these dark spots can range in color from light beige to black and often appear on areas exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, chest, arms, and hands.

Since I commute every day, I decided to study the people I saw on the train and conduct a very basic study of anyone with hyperpigmentation. Things I observed and took note of included how old I thought they were, skin tone, hair coloring, and so on. What I discovered was very concerning – I was surprised to see so many hyperpigmented people in their 20s and 30s!

Most people think of hyperpigmentation as dark spots or age spots affecting people in their 50s and older. The fact is that the majority of people I see in the esthetician’s room and on the streets of Chicago with hyperpigmented skin are getting younger and younger. This is concerning because by the time they do reach their later years, the spots will get larger and darker!

Take a look at your face, neck and chest. Do you have a tan but also spots on the tan? Or, do see dark spots ranging in different shades of brown to black? Those spots are sun damage. Without treatment and proper protection from the sun, the hyperpigmentation will worsen over time. Thankfully, there are treatment options for hyperpigmentation that range from ultrasonic peels to LED therapy, which require little to no down time or peeling.

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Option Breakdown

LED Therapy:

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) has proven results lightening hyperpigmentation. A series of Green LED therapy can noticeably lighten dark spots, while Red LED therapy can reach the deeper layers of the skin to promote skin rejuvenation. This results in younger, tighter and more youthful looking skin.

Ultrasonic Peels

ELEMIS is known for its breakthrough advances in skincare, including the use of ultrasonic therapy to target dark spots and LED combination therapies to peel away the hyperpigmentation, rejuvenate the skin, and even out skin tone.

After you’ve chosen one of the therapies above to treat your hyperpigmentation, the best way to protect the skin is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen and book an appointment for a healthy Ortanic tan that will provide the skin with a beautiful customized glow and protection from the sun. In the long run, your skin will thank you as it ages gracefully without dark spots!

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Healthy Tanning!