Ever find your skin looking patchy? Like, you wake up and bam, you’ve suddenly spotted a spot that’s not acne. Do these patches appear darker than the rest of your skin tone? Ding, ding, ding, you’ve got hyperpigmentation! This extremely common, yet extremely pesky skincare woe occurs, no matter how old you are. Think of it as a bruise your skin develops when it’s damaged. This damage could be both internal, as well as external. Hyperpigmentation on your face comes in various forms and although it may seem like a frivolous issue, it actually isn’t all that easy to treat. As I said, it’s pesky for many reasons, one of them being that it’s extremely stubborn. Ask me––years later, and I am still dealing with the pigmentation left behind by my breakouts. While for me it was acne, there could be so many other reasons that are causing your hyperpigmentation. But, before you go treating it, it’s important to understand what exactly is hyperpigmentation and what is triggering yours specifically.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Simply put, hyperpigmentation is a not-so-serious skin condition that presents itself through spots and patches that are darker than your skin tone. Let’s break it down for you, shall we? When your skin overproduces melanin aka the pigment that gives your skin tone its colour, it often results in hyperpigmentation. Different factors can impact the production of melanin including hormonal changes, medications, inflammation, and as mentioned, even over exposure to the sun.
Types of hyperpigmentation:
Hyperpigmentation on the face and body is often divided in three different types:
A) Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
One of the most common types is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When your skin gets inflamed, your skin cells automatically produce brown melanin (it’s actually an instant immune response, remember…like a bruise). This is the ‘trauma’ your skin shows after an injury or inflammation like acne.
Melasma hyperpigmentation points to hormonal changes occurring in your body. This is often evident on your body and is especially common during pregnancy.
C) Sun Spots
Age spots or sun spots are those ‘freckle-like’ discoloured dots you’ll find on your skin. This type of hyperpigmentation is caused by overexposure to UV rays, and can mostly be found on the exposed areas like your arms, legs, and face.
Who can develop hyperpigmentation?
The short answer? Anyone and everyone––however, some skin tones are more susceptible to this skin condition than others. The darker your skin tone, the higher your chances are of developing hyperpigmentation.
The Treatment & Prevention Plan for hyperpigmentation
The good thing about hyperpigmentation is that it’s not a serious skin condition. Getting those pesky patches to fade away is all about consistency–this entails both internal and external care.
#1 - Make sure you moisturise
A strong skin barrier is a sign of healthy skin, that’s why it’s imperative that you keep your skin moisturised and nourished all through the day. This’ll strengthen the skin barrier and boost the skin cell turnover––the result? Brighter skin with fewer dark spots and pigmentation dulling it down.
#2 - Stop popping your zits
Injury is one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation on the face. The healing process of any wound, including inflammatory conditions like acne, often forces the skin to produce more melanin, resulting in hyperpigmentation. That’s why…it’s best to keep your hands off! Avoid popping, scratching, or scrapping any wound, to prevent those dark patches from forming.
#3 - Protect your skin with sunscreen
Prevention is always better than cure, and sunscreen is one of the sure-shot ways to get there. Cover up in sun protection to avoid the harmful effects of the UV rays on your skin. If you’re treating your pigmentation, then layering in sunscreen will also prevent further damage.
#4 - Vitamin C is the key
Whether you apply it or consume it in your diet, if there’s one nutrient that can save your pigmented skin it’s vitamin C! A powerhouse of an antioxidant, vitamin C helps fight free radical damage caused by sun exposure and helps boost your skin’s brightness. Vitamin C, when consumed orally, can improve elasticity and speed up wound healing. Consume foods rich in vitamin C like berries, bell peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower.
Topically, it can aid in lightening dark spots and even out hyperpigmentation. It’s important to note that vitamin C is not suited for all skin types –– always consult with a profession before application.
#5 - Exfoliation FTW
Make sure to exfoliate your skin at least once a week! This helps get rid of the layer of dead skin cells that sit on your face and make it look dull, and also makes way for newer, fresher skin cells. Chemical exfoliation is recommended over physical scrubs, as the latter can often cause micro-tears on the skin. Avoid using DIY scrubs as they can be rather aggressive and can cause further damage.
#6 - Home remedies for hyperpigmentation
Simple home remedies for hyperpigmentation can actually help brighten the skin, even out your skin tone, and treat dark spots and patchy areas naturally.
- Aloe Vera Gel - This skincare superstar is rich in aloin, a compound that helps treat hyperpigmentation naturally.
- Tomato Paste - Tomatoes host astringent-like properties that help you achieve a clearer skin tone. Its acidic nature can help fade away hyperpigmentation and can even deep cleanse your pores too!
- Milk - Have you heard of lactic acid in skincare? Well, milk is said to be a natural lactic acid that helps lighten discolouration, all thanks to its exfoliation properties. Dab some milk with cotton on the affected areas, at least once to twice a day.
A word from Cosmix
When it comes to hyperpigmentation, there’s nothing one needs to be worried about. Think of them as little traces of trauma that show up on your skin. They’re not permanent and with time have the tendency to fade away. Treating hyperpigmentation for your face is a slow process, however, it’s worth it in the end. Just keep an eye on your diet and make sure you are consuming skin-loving foods, while also treating it from the outside. Include supplements like our Feel Good Skin mix –– it comprises roots and herbs that help detox your body, speed up wound healing, prevents scarring, and strengthens the skin’s barrier. Remember, when it comes to skincare patience and consistency is key!