The Daily Grace
Hyperpigmentation & How to treat it
If you have been noticing dark patches or spots on your skin, it’s completely normal that you might start to worry. You’ll probably wonder how these spots will affect your appearance, if they will spread, and why they are happening. Don’t worry though! In most cases, dark patches on your skin are normal and totally reversible or able to be minimized. Most people who are seeing darkening of their skin just have some hyperpigmentation going on, which is completely common and treatable especially in melanin-rich skin tones. We’ve even got a few recommendations of products that will not only reduce your dark spots, but rejuvenate your skin and even reduce the signs of aging and other common skin problems!
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is caused by an excess production of melanin produced in the body. The only sign of hyperpigmentation is dark patches of skin which can be small and spotty or cover large areas of skin. It is very rare that hyperpigmentation would cover the entire body, but it does happen.
Hyperpigmentation can happen to people of any age and is a common skin condition that affects all races and skin colors.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
There are several different things that cause hyperpigmentation. Some are due to environmental circumstances while others are biological.Darker skin is especially prone to more aggressive or noticeable hyperpigmentation.
Sun Damage- The number one cause of hyperpigmentation is sun damage. There is a popular belief that only people with fair skin should avoid the sun, however it’s also important for people with darker complexions to avoid too much sun exposure. UV rays are very bad for your skin and can cause your skin to start aging prematurely. In fact, 80% of all skin aging issues are due to excess sun exposure. These spots are also called “age spots” in older people and can be unsightly if you do not take care of your skin properly and get into a good skin care routine asap.
Melasma- Sometimes referred to as Chloasma, these patches of darkened skin are caused by hormonal changes and are often found on women's faces who are pregnant. The patches can appear brownish, or blue-grey which can sometimes be mistaken for bruising.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: Acne is a form of inflammation that can cause your skin to darken during and after healing. People who suffer from eczema will also commonly see patches of hyperpigmentation as the inflammation from the eczema reduces.
Certain Medical Conditions: Although hyperpigmentation is common and sometimes a byproduct of sun exposure or hormones, the condition can also be a warning sign of more serious health problems such as Addison’s disease.
How to Avoid Hyperpigmentation?
Although hyperpigmentation can be treated, it is best to avoid getting it in the first place. People with darker complexions often get hyperpigmentation from acne, ingrown hair, or eczema.
especially since the number one cause is sun damage, which can definitely be prevented or minimized.
Sun damage is also a contributor to skin cancer and premature aging. The more exposure you have to the sun, the more likely you are to develop a variety of skin issues and suffer from wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, and inflammation, along with hyperpigmentation.
There are a few ways you can avoid hyperpigmentation:
- Avoid direct sunlight by sitting in the shade, under umbrellas, or staying inside during peak sunlight hours.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you must go outside to avoid sunburn on your face and scalp
- Apply SPF every day and use at least SPF 15. There are makeups with built in sun protectant and lip balms that will protect your lips from burning too! Make sure to reapply after swimming, and every hour that you are in the sun to avoid being burned.
- Limit touching your skin or picking at sores, acne, or bug bites. These behaviors can cause irritation to your skin and inflammation which increases your risk for hyperpigmentation. Keeping your skin as clean and hydrating as possible will go a long way for overall skin health and not touching your face is the first step!
Recommended Products for Hyperpigmentation:
There are several products that help with hyperpigmentation available over the counter if a dermatologist does not provide a prescription. Products with Niacinamide as an active ingredient are known to lighten hyperpigmentation as well as product against sun damage. Retinol is another great ingredient to look for to achieve overall great skincare and boosting your vitamin C and using microdermabrasion kits can also be useful to reduce or reverse hyperpigmentation.
If you are looking for new products to try to reduce dark spots on your face, we recommend:
Unsun Tinted Sunscreen- Regardless of your complexion, sunscreen should be part of everyone's daily skincare routine, especially if you’re using products to help with hyperpigmentation as they contain ingredients like AHA’s and retinol that can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Pholk Beauty Glow Up Mask- Everyone loves a good nighttime mask that helps relax you while also creating luminous, healthy, rejuvenated skin. The Glow Up Mask by Pholk Beauty is made from high-quality ingredients such as hibiscus oil, rose clay, blue tansy essential oil, and vegan glycerin! The mask is mixed at home using water and great for weekly exfoliation. We love how affordable and long lasting this product is, as well as the versatility. The Glow Up Mask can be used as a clay exfoliating cleanser or a mask, the mixture will turn blue! If you’re looking for products that are free of sun-reactive citruses (AHA’s), Pholk Rose Gardenia SkinNectar and Pholk Glow Replenish are both great face washes.
Marie Hunter Fresh Glow Vitamin C Serum- Your skin will love the luxury indulgence of Marie Hunter’s Fresh Glow Vitamin C Serum. This product can be used for any skin type and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and boosts hydration and firmness. We love how the vitamin C serum reduces dark discoloration and hyperpigmentation. The serum also lasts longer than you might expect because a little bit goes a super long way. Make sure to clean your face first and apply before moisturizing or makeup. You’ll also want to be sure to wear sunscreen when you use this product since it contains AHA’s.
You do not have to live with hyperpigmentation. There are plenty of things you can do to improve and enhance your skin care routine to avoid hyperpigmentation and plenty of products on the market to reduce the darkness and discoloration if hyperpigmentation happens to you. All our favorite products are affordable and easy to incorporate into your daily or weekly skin care routine!