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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dermatology & Skin Care > Hyperpigmentation Treatment

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Cost


How Much Does Hyperpigmentation Treatment Cost?

 
low costHydroquinone Cream: $5-$200average costSkin Peel: $200-$275high costMicrodermabrasion or Dermabrasion: $100-$5,000+
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Hyperpigmentation[1] is a condition in which patches of a person's skin become darker due to an increase in the body's production of melanin[2] , the substance responsible for skin color.

Typical costs:

  • To assess the underlying cause of hyperpigmentation, and to rule out serious conditions, patients will likely start by seeing a dermatologist. For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for visiting a dermatologist will typically consist of a doctor visit copay of $5-$30 or more, or coinsurance of 10-50% or more. For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more.
  • The first step in lightening the dark patches is typically to use hydroquinone[3] , which decreases melanin in the skin. Prescription creams and gels contain at least 4% hydroquinone and typically cost $40-$200, depending on whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent. For example, EpiQuin Micro[4] costs $110. For more serious cases, a doctor may also prescribe a tretinoin or a corticosteroid. Drugstore.com charges about $50 for a tube of generic tretinoin cream and almost $150 for the brand-name equivalent.
  • Because resolving discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation is not medically necessary, many insurers will not cover drugs or procedures used to treat it. However, 2% hydroquinone creams are available over the counter. These typically cost $5-$40 or more, but are less powerful than prescription creams.
  • If topical medicine does not work, other treatments may succeed in eliminating dark patches. These include procedures such as a skin peel, which typically costs $200-$275 when performed by a medical professional, depending on the clinic and region in which it is located. For example, at Prolase Medspa and laser center[5] in Glendale CA, a chemical peel typically costs $245.
  • Other procedures include microdermabrasion and dermabrasion, which can cost up to $2,000 or more, depending on the number of sessions needed; cryotherapy, which can cost $400 or more; and laser resurfacing, which can cost $100-$5,000, depending on how much of the skin is treated, the type of laser used, the individual center and its regional location. For example, at Schweiger Dermatology[6] in New York City, a laser treatment can cost $4,000 including consult fees, visit fees, anesthesia and medication.
Related articles: Annual Physical, Biopsy, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • A number of factors can trigger hyperpigmentation, including exposure to ultraviolet light, pregnancy, taking certain kinds of drugs, using birth control or hormone treatments, or being genetically predisposed to the condition. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, hyperpigmentation may be the sign of a benign or relatively easily treated condition, but may also indicate the presence of a life-threatening condition such as melanoma[7] .
  • According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a dermatologist will be able to diagnose hyperpigmentation after taking a patient's history and conducting a physical examination.
  • To determine whether changes in the skin are cancerous, a doctor may also order additional tests, such as a skin biopsy[8] , which is typically done in a doctor's office under local anesthesia.
Additional costs:
  • Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 can help to prevent hyperpigmentation and is also advised for patients who use hydroquinone, which makes skin more sensitive to sunlight. Sunscreens typically cost $5-$30 or more. For example, L'Oreal Sublime Sun Face Lotion, SPF 50[9] , costs $11 at drugstore.com.
Discounts:
  • Discount outlets such as Costco[10] and Walmart[11] often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[12] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured or cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[13] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
Shopping for hyperpigmentation treatment:
  • The American Academy of Dermatology has a search tool[14] to help patients find dermatologists.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hyperpigmentation-hypopigmentation
  2.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002256.htm
  3.  www.drugs.com/cdi/hydroquinone-cream.html
  4.  www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/epiquin-micro
  5.  prolaseclinic.com/spa-services-los-angeles/chemical-peel/
  6.  www.nyccosmeticdermatology.com/laserwrinkletreatment.htm
  7.  www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/index
  8.  www.webmd.com/cancer/skin-biopsy
  9.  www.drugstore.com/loreal-sublime-sun-face-lotion-spf-50/qxp381068?catid=159098
  10.  www.costco.com/
  11.  www.walmart.com/cp/pharmacy/5431
  12.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  13.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  14.  www.aad.org/for-the-public/home
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