You get a breakout, a scratch, an insect bite, and months later you are still dealing with discoloration. Sound familiar? Hyperpigmentation is a common problem, especially among people with darker skin tones.
Hyperpigmentation is a medical term that refers to a very common skin issue: discoloration. You are not alone if you have problems with hyperpigmentation. It is one of the top 3 concerns my patients in my Dermatology practice bring up during their visit. Despite how common it is, it can be very difficult to treat.
What exactly is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can come from eczema, acne, trauma, or even too much sun. No matter the cause, the roots of every type of hyperpigmentation all start with melanin which is the pigment in our skin. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes, which live in the base layer of our epidermis. (that outer layer of your skin).
There are several types of hyperpigmentation and you can experience all of them (sometimes all at once!)
- Age spots:
- Caused by overexposure to UV rays.
- Face, neck, forearms, and hands are most prone
- Discoloration that lingers after skin trauma such as acne
- More common in women
- Hormonal connection (pregnancy)
- Usually occurs on cheeks, nose, forehead, upper lip
- Can become darker with sun exposure
What can you do?
First, it is important to know what not all types of hyperpigmentation are treated the same. Thus, what worked for your sister may not work for you. It is also important to note, the longer you allow hyperpigmentation to persist, the harder it is to treat it.
- Avoid the sun – I want to shout this from the rooftops. It is so important, yet so many people ignore this. Sun will make your dark spots persist. It does not matter what else you do, if you don’t protect your skin from the sun every day of the year, your hyperpigmentation will not improve.
- Don’t pick or scratch – seems obvious but trauma causes more discoloration. Don’t do it.
- Chose the right ingredients – if you want to treat hyperpigmentation at home, my top picks are a retinol serum and Vitamin C serum. I also advise use of glycolic acid, kojic acid, or lactic acids. (click here to join our wait list for our Vitamin C with Ferulic and our Retinol serum)
Lastly, I will tell you like I tell my patients- hyperpigmentation can be treated if you are consistent and take preventive measures. Without your commitment, no product will deliver the results you want.
Let’s connect! I would love to hear from you.
Dermatology PA and creator of Perfect Skin Code.