What is Hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?
If you’ve experienced any form of hyperpigmentation - you’re not alone!
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that can happen to anyone. You may have even experienced some form of hyperpigmentation yourself. The word “hyperpigmentation” actually refers to any type of darker colored patches that occur on the skin. It can be in small or large areas, and occur on any area of the body. It normally is nothing to be concerned about and actually has a number of different possible causes. Understanding the cause of your hyperpigmentation may help you prevent further dark spots, but luckily the approach to treating hyperpigmentation is pretty much the same no matter what the cause.
Types of hyperpigmentation
Also referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”, melasma is most commonly seen in women, particularly during pregnancy. Though it is not completely clear what the cause of melasma is, it is thought to be related to hormonal changes that women go through when pregnant. The dark patches can appear anywhere on the skin but typically appear on the face and the stomach, and show up on the skin in a symmetrical pattern. It also tends to be worsened with sunlight, so of course adequate UV protection is a crucial factor in protecting against this. In some cases, melasma caused by pregnancy will go away on its own, but there are also many cases where it remains on the skin even after pregnancy.
Like the name suggests, sun spots are caused by consistent UV exposure over time (this does not mean only direct sunlight!). Because of this, sun spots are found mostly in areas of the skin that are more often exposed to sunlight. They are also often called “age spots'', as they most often appear after the age of 40, though they can appear at any age depending on the amount of sun you are exposed to throughout your lifetime. Sun spots appear as darker patches of skin, in clusters or singular patches in those areas most frequently exposed to sunlight such as the face, hands, and shoulders. Sun spots don’t fade on their own in the way that regular freckles do.
This type of hyperpigmentation is caused as a response to any inflammation that may occur on the skin. This can be anything from acne, to UV damage, to a mosquito bite that hasn’t healed properly. The hyperpigmentation appears on the exact location of the inflammation, and can appear in different colors depending on your skin tone. They can appear pink, purple, brown or black. Like any form of hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (also called PIH for short), can be exacerbated by excessive sun exposure.
How to treat hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation, in most cases, is completely harmless and is simply a color change on the surface of the skin due to varying factors. However it can often bother those who experience it and for cosmetic purposes may be treated to even out the skin back to its original color as much as possible.
All types of hyperpigmentation treatment should be approached with gentle, brightening skincare products with specialized brightening ingredients, such as niacinamide. Our recommendation for treating hyperpigmentation is our Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum, which features the brightening agents niacinamide (5%), papaya extract, sea buckthorn, rice bran, the healing agents allantoin and calendula, and the moisturizing agent squalane.
Using a brightening skincare product such as our Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum consistently can help to correct dark spots and uneven skin tone over time and contribute to overall brightening of the skin, fighting “dull” skin and giving you that healthy-skin glow.
While there are some cases where dark spots are unavoidable, it is also important to keep in mind the importance of sun protection to reduce the chance of dark spots developing, as well as to prevent skin aging and to protect the skin from more harmful conditions such as skin cancer. Using sunscreen daily and staying in the shade where possible can greatly reduce your chances of developing dark spots in the long run, or worsening dark spots that have already formed. Another crucial factor for preventing hyperpigmentation is leaving wounds, from acne for example, to heal properly without picking at them. Picking at wounds while they are healing can lead to inflammation which greatly increases the chances of dark spots forming. Being gentle with your acne is the key to avoiding scarring and hyperpigmentation in the long run.
In any case, treating hyperpigmentation takes time and patience, and like with all skin issues, prevention is always better than after-care, so remember the importance of UV protection and always doing the best to keep your skin healthy.