Skin Tips from the Experts: A Deep Dive into Hyperpigmentation

03.31.2015, 10:31 CDT | Posted In: Uneven Skin Tone & Dark Spots, Health & Beauty, Videos

Obagi Skin Tips from the Experts graphic

A little while ago, we wrote a blog post on hyperpigmentation – what causes it and what it means for your health. We received an overwhelming response to that article, so we wanted to follow it up with a deeper dive into dark spots: what treatment options are available and how you can address your uneven skin tone.

If you need a refresher on what hyperpigmentation is and what causes uneven skin tone, start with our past post. Then, read on here for a more in-depth look into the issue. We asked our in-house experts, the Obagi Education team, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we get about hyperpigmentation:

Can I get rid of the dark spots I have on my face?

One recommended option to treat dark spots and pigmentation is the use of prescription 4% hydroquinone, a tyrosinase inhibitor1, which is found in products such as the Obagi Nu-Derm® System and Obagi-C® Rx System. A consultation with your skin care physician can help you decide which treatment plan is best for you. See below for Important Safety Information about the Obagi Nu-Derm and Obagi-C Rx Systems.

Should I consider an in-office treatment to help my hyperpigmentation?

Your doctor will know best which treatments may be right for your skin type. He or she will know whether in office treatments, such as lasers and chemical peels, may benefit your skin.2

Can I spot-treat dark spots on my face?

You should discuss your specific treatment with a skin care physician. In general, spot treating is not recommended.  Should you choose to spot treat, you may be only treating one area of hyperpigmentation on your skin, while other visible or non-visible pigmentation may be ignored.  That said, please always use your products as directed by your doctor.

Should I use hydroquinone, or a system like Obagi Nu-Derm, in the summertime?

Many of our practices and patients have reported using Obagi Nu-Derm, Obagi-C Rx, and other Obagi products and systems during different seasons, with great success. Your doctor can provide you with tips and tricks on how to help keep your unique skin healthy during the warm summer months or colder winter months. Your doctor can also help you learn how to incorporate your chosen Obagi products and systems into your lifestyle.

What’s the #1 thing I can start doing today to help prevent any future skin discoloration or dark spots?

The number one thing you can do today to help prevent future skin discoloration is to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, every single day, rain or shine.* UVA (aging) rays can penetrate through clouds, haze, and most glass, so remembering to apply your sunscreen is your best defense for helping to prevent future pigmentation concerns. Obagi has a wide variety of broad spectrum sunscreens to suit a variety of skin types and skin tones. Talk to your skin care physician to find out which one is right for you!

Did we answer your pressing question about hyperpigmentation? If not, tell us yours in the comments below.

Last updated: 2/14/17



  1. "Topical Treatments for Melasma and Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation." Medscape website. Accessed January 29, 2015.
  2. "Variety of options available to treat pigmentation problems." AAD Website. Accessed January 29, 2015.

*Using a broad spectrum sunscreen like Obagi® Sun Shield SPF 50 together with a comprehensive sun protection program including wearing sun protective clothing and sunglasses and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.

The safety and effectiveness of the Nu-Derm System beyond 24 weeks of use have not been established. The safety and effectiveness of the Obagi-C Rx System beyond 12 weeks of use have not been established. If no improvement is seen after 3 months of treatment, use of these products should be discontinued.

Not available in select states including MA, MT, NH, NY, and TX, due to state regulations regarding the ability of physicians to dispense prescription drug products in their offices. For effective, cosmetic skin-brightening options, learn about the Obagi Nu-Derm FxTM System and the Obagi-C® Fx System.