Suffering with hyperpigmentation is a worldwide skincare concern for many and an element that can lead to a lack of self-confidence and happiness within our own skin. However personal your hyperpigmentation may feel there are ways to treat and reduce it, leaving you with a clear complexion but you must understand what, why and how to treat hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is an umbrella term for dark spots appearing and forming on the skin. The dark spots are a result of the overproduction of melanin; the brown pigment that is responsible for the colour of your skin and dependent on skin tone can affect its appearance and therefore treatment. Hyperpigmentation can appear as a result of age spots, melasma, birth control hormones, acne or any skin damage that has left a burn or mark behind.
WHAT CAUSES HYPERPIGMENTATION
Hyperpigmentation is a skin concern for many and it is actually a very common skin issue that is treatable regardless on the causes. The three common causes of hyperpigmentation fall under sun exposure, skin inflammation or irritation and melasma. The potency of the sun and its damage has become a huge awareness in the beauty industry and the importance of wearing sun protection has become vital in all skincare routines. Whilst the sun’s rays damages the skin’s barriers, our skin then works to produce melanin that protects the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun but as a UV light absorber, darkens the areas on our skin that are vulnerable. The extra production of melanin then turns into dark spots on the skin that then appears as either spots or dark patches, also coined as age spots or sun spots. Skin inflammation and irritation also works to produce hyperpigmentation, types of irritants can include acne or eczema that can darken areas of the skin resulting in the same undesired result. When dealing with irritants like acne, hormonal breakouts or even spots in general it is vital to not pick or pull at the area as doing so causes further damage to the skin and the series of events will manifest in hyperpigmentation.
YET, WITH MELASMA …
It is different from hyperpigmentation and many people often get the two skin concerns confused. Melasma is darker patches forming on the skin as a result of UV exposure or hormonal influences like the hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy. How you can tell if you have melasma is it typically appears in symmetric blotches across the face, neck or forearms and can worsen in the summer but get better in the winter due to the restricted daylight hours.
HOW TO PREVENT IT
111SKIN Therapist Milena Naydenov explains, “Prevention is much more important and the most important rule is to wear SPF on a regular basis and re-apply every 2 to 3 hours if you can. By protecting the skin from the sun you are saving your skin from dealing with damage later on. It is also important to keep the skin in good health, and having a good regimen is vital, so ensuring you are cleansing, toning and hydrating the skinwill keep the skin healthy and protected against any radiation”.
HOW TO TREAT IT
Although hyperpigmentation is much easier to treat through prevention there are products and ingredients that work to improve hyperpigmentation. Milena advises, “you can treat hyperpigmentation but you firstly have to eliminate the cause and then treat through medication or topical treatments”. Ingredients such as Vitamin C works as both a treatment and prevention, the Vitamin C prevents the over production of pigmentation and as an antioxidant it doesn’t make the skin sensitive and susceptible to damage. Other ingredients that work as a great treatment for hyperpigmentation are kojic acid, arbutin, liquorice extract and l-ascorbic acid as they suppress the production of melanin.
Combining products that contain these vital ingredients and working to exfoliate the skin is a great start in reducing hyperpigmentation. However as not all dark areas on the skin have developed at the same time or have been caused by the same symptoms, treatment is variable for each concern.