Light Therapy For Hyperpigmentation. Does It Work?

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Aging can take its toll on our skin. In our younger years, damaged skin cells can pretty easily repair themselves. However, that becomes more challenging as our skin ages. Sigh.

That’s the reason why hyperpigmentation is more common in mature skin. However, that doesn’t mean you should just give up without a fight. There are some ways on how to remedy hyperpigmentation. 

Light therapy for hyperpigmentation is a current trend because it works. Let’s tell you more about the different light therapy procedures that you could have to help treat your hyperpigmentation problems. 


What Is Hyperpigmentation?

We all love an even skin tone. A blemish-free one, which doesn’t need a whole lot of concealer to cover up. 

That’s the goal.

However, there may be areas in your skin that appear darker than the rest. Whether these areas are just spots or larger areas, they are hyperpigmented.

With hyperpigmentation (and its hormonal cousin melasma), that area of the skin contains more melanin pigments. It can be caused by a variety of factors such as hormonal changes, sun damage, acne, injury, harsh chemicals, etc.

Although most of the hyperpigmented areas are harmless, many people do not like the way they look. That’s why they try to find ways to remedy it. Chemical peels and products containing retinol are popular solutions.

As is light therapy. 

What Is Light Therapy For Hyperpigmentation?

Light therapy is a beneficial procedure that makes use of specific wavelengths of light to treat various issues like hyperpigmentation, spider veins, acne, rosacea, etc.

There are 3 main light therapy procedures that can be used for hyperpigmentation. They are red light therapy, intense pulsed light, and laser resurfacing. 

Red Light Therapy

NEWKEY LED Light Therapy Mask

With this type of light therapy, visible red light is used. They are usually produced by LED lights. Some are handheld devices, but many are light therapy masks (like the NEWKEY  shown above, reviewed here).

With the exposure of the cells to red light, the mitochondria of the cells absorb the light particles. With it, they are better at producing energy for the cells. 

When cells have adequate energy, they can better repair themselves. That also means that the pigmentation levels of the skin will also return back to normal at a faster pace. 

Red light therapy can be done in beauty spas, clinics, and even with Planet Fitness Total Body Enhancement machines.

However, there are also at-home products you can purchase. 

Red light therapy devices  don’t just help with hyperpigmentation, they help with many other skin issues as well.

By providing energy for the cells, they function better and more efficiently. That helps you achieve better-looking skin. 

Intense Pulsed Light

With intense pulsed light treatments, broad-spectrum light is used. This heats up the dermal tissues without causing harm to the epidermal layer. ‘

These systems are similar to IPL hair removal devices, but are used for skin treatments rather than hair removal.

The light is pulsed directly over the area where there is hyperpigmentation. The light energy penetrates the epidermal layer and those pigmented parts on the dermal layer absorb the light energy. 

Due to the absorption of the energy from the light, the tissues causing the hyperpigmentation gets purposely damaged.

That helps improve the appearance as long as the darker cells are not too deep. 

Additionally, it works on tiny capillaries too. The smallest ones can close up to improve the redness of the hyperpigmentation. 

This procedure usually doesn’t have any downtime. However, multiple treatments may be needed for maximum results. 

Laser Resurfacing

Tria Smooth Beauty Laser

Another light therapy procedure that could help with hyperpigmentation is laser resurfacing.

This can be done at a medispa, or at home with a device like the wonderful Tria Smooth Beauty Laser  (which we reviewed here).

These lasers also make use of light energy. This energy is used to target the melanin or water content of the skin to heat it up.

Once heated, it is destroyed. This is why you may see your dark spots getting darker after the procedure. However, that will continue to flake and eventually fall off after the treatment.

The pigmented upper layer will eventually be removed.

The lasers will essentially cause controlled micro-injuries to the skin. This will push the collagen to repair the skin. 

Some people may also observe scabbing, which is temporary. Usually, it will take 1-3 days for the skin to recover. 

These devices can cause some pain, but with time, the pain is somewhat lessened.

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Is Light Therapy For Hyperpigmentation Effective?

The type of light therapy used for hyperpigmentation will depend on what type of hyperpigmentation you have. Light therapy is usually effective, but you may need multiple sessions to treat the area. 

Additionally, successful treatment of hyperpigmentation won’t mean permanent results. Maintenance is an important factor. 

Additionally, figuring out what causes hyperpigmentation and preventing it will also help make sure our hyperpigmentation problems are avoided. 

If your hyperpigmentation is sun-related, treatment may be different than hormonal melasma-based hyperpigmentation.

Other Ways To Treat And Prevent Hyperpigmentation

Aside from light therapy, there are other ways on how you can treat hyperpigmentation, depending on what you have. 

These would include lightening skincare products, peeling products such as acids and chemical peels, using retinoids, microdermabrasion, and dermabrasion.

The best way to get rid of hyperpigmentation is to avoid it in the first place!

This can be done by using products that help in faster cell turnover like retinoids. However, you should also make sure that your skin is properly moisturized.

Another way to prevent hyperpigmentation is to leave the insect bites, blackheads, or pimples alone. Picking or scratching them will just worsen them and cause discoloration. 

Lastly, sun damage is a common reason for hyperpigmentation. That’s why you should be diligent in using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, even when it’s a cloudy day


Hyperpigmentation is a common problem in more mature skin and lips. However, many younger people have similar issues.

There are different ways to treat hyperpigmentation, and one of the most effective is light therapy. Light therapy procedures for hyperpigmentation vary, and the main types would include red light therapy, intense pulse light, and laser resurfacing. 

Light therapy for hyperpigmentation works. But in most cases, it has to be done repeatedly to achieve the desired results. Additionally, once treated, hyperpigmentation can still come back if the cause is still present. 

In order to avoid hyperpigmentation, good skincare is crucial. Use sunscreen, moisturizing products, and skincare that speeds up the turnover of cells. Stop picking on your pimples, blackheads, and insect bites.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).