Hyperpigmentation is when pigmentation in patches of skin becomes darker. It’s caused by genetics, trauma to the skin, inflammation, and exposure to the sun and it’s one of the hardest conditions to treat if you want to be kind to the skin. Some treatments with hydroquinone, kill the melanocytes (colour pigment cells) and we don’t advocate this method.
How we treat
To improve hyperpigmentation (AKA PIH) you need to play the long game. Dark spots, can be stubborn to get rid of, and can actually get worse if you don’t use SPF.
Know your pigmentation
Some people don’t like their freckles, age spots or pigmentation and opt for a popular skin-lightening treatment/product.
But there’s a difference between a harmless smattering of freckle, post-inflammatory pigmentation, hormone induced melasma and pigmentation that could turn into something more serious like melanoma.
Add a Tyrosinase inhibitor
There are thankfully some terrific, active ingredients that can effectively treat the problem. However, be wary of products that contain skin lightening Hydroquinone – with long-term use this can be toxic to skin cells. Select skincare treatments that include Vitamin A; Vitamin B3 (or Niacinamide) and Vitamin C, licorice, kojic acid, mulberry, and turmeric.
Apply Anti-Inflammatory Agents pre treatment and during Breakouts
PIH is the skin’s response to harsh chemicals (e.g. facial peels), acne, burns or an overly-aggressive beauty treatment – for instance, dermabrasion or IPL (intense pulsed light). These ‘triggers’ can cause the skin’s melanocytes to produce more melanin which, in turn, changes the colour of the skin’s surface.-inflammatory pigmentation is best treated before it can even leave a mark with vitamins A B and C.
SPF. Every. Single. Day.
Sun exposure breaks down collagen and elastin, which can cause hyperpigmentation. Make sure to wear sunscreen every day—even when it’s cloudy.
Use A Chemical Exfoliant
This will lift the surface pigmented cells from the skin and increase cell renewal. But go easy. If you are constantly removing old skin cells, your skin doesn’t have time to protect and heal itself—and, you guessed it, can lead to pigmentation. Be sure to strike a delicate balance that’s effective, but not overtly aggressive.