The term “hyperpigmentation” has been mentioned a lot in the skincare industry. Are you familiar with what it means, what kind of pigment it is and what causes it? If you’re still wondering what it is and need to know how to prevent them, this article has all the answers for you.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a condition where a darker-coloured spot forms on our skin. It happens when our skin colour pigment, melanin, production is increased.
Several factors can cause the increased production of melanin. In general, there are three main causes:
Also commonly called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), this is a common after-effect of acne. The inflammatory process happening on our skin during the formation of acne induces the production of melanin, thus leaving a darker coloured spot on the area.
Excessive sun exposure over time can leave dark spots on our skin. This chronic continuous UV exposure signals our skin to protect itself by producing melanin. Melanin helps to fight off the bad effect of exposure with the cost of leaving dark spots on our skin.
The higher the UV index, the higher chance of the UV exposure to signal your skin to produce more melanin. The highest UV index can differ between areas within the globe, time and season. However, the UV index is highest between 12 - 2 PM in general.
Yes, some hormone changes can induce the production of melanin internally. It is also commonly known as “Melasma”. It typically occurs during pregnancy, and as we age, thus pregnant women and ageing-skin are usually more prone to hyperpigmentation.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation?
Of course, there are ways for you to prevent it from happening, and here are some of our Librarian tips:
Always wear your sunscreen
A sunscreen with SPF of at least 30, every day, no matter where you live. Your sunscreen would be the strict “bouncer” for hyperpigmentation. It shields our skin from direct UV radiation damage.
Librarian Tip: Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours, especially after water exposure (swimming, exercise) or when you’re outside the whole day. It won’t only protect you from getting burned; it will help prevent the formation of any unwanted dark spots on your skin.
Use other physical protection
Aside from sunscreen, you can protect yourself from UV damage by using a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
Don’t pick at your acne
Yes! This is the major culprit for hyperpigmentation after acne. Picking your acne will exacerbate the inflammation, and thus the more and deeper the hyperpigmentation is. So even though it is hard to resist, don’t pick it!
How to treat hyperpigmentation?
Don’t be discouraged when you have hyperpigmentation; it’s better late than never to treat it, and there are many ingredients that can help you deal with the hyperpigmentation.
- Ascorbic acid (Also commonly known as Vitamin C)
- Azelaic acid
- Kojic acid
- Liquorice Root Extract
These ingredients have been proven to fade away hyperpigmentation. Their benefits are definitely not seen overnight. Religiously using products with any of these ingredients will gradually fade away the dark spot! Give it at least 28 days to work its magic.
Librarian Tip: It is not easy to notice the progress of the fading dark spots. Therefore, keep it recorded by taking pictures under the same lighting to keep track of your progress
Librarian Skincare Recommendations:
ACWELL's bestselling line: Licorice in a set. Dip into the hype for licorice-enriched skincare with the ACWELL Licorice Brightening Go-To Set, quick while stock lasts.
- ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner
- ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Advance Serum
- ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Intensive Eye Cream
A cleanser for those with acne-prone skin to tackle both hyperpigmentation and acne, head-on. It contains salicylic acid to control oil production and keep breakouts at bay. It also contains Vitamin C to brighten skin during your cleanse.
This essence is packed with 95% Galactomyces, which had been discovered as a skin brightening and anti-ageing ingredient borne from curiosity after seeing sake brewers hands which appeared visibly radiant and youthful-looking. It also contains Niacinamide to brighten the overall skin complexion, revealing a radiant glow.
Beplain's (not so hidden) hidden card to tackle hyperpigmentation. This serum contains a powerful army of skin brightening ingredients to help fade dark spots: Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid, Arbutin, Tranexamic Acid.
One of our bestsellers which customers have continuously repurchased to combat post-inflammation hyperpigmentation. A serum enriched with Niacinamide and Sea Buckthorn to gently brighten dark spots without irritating skin. Also comes in a 5ml tube if you are unsure about how your skin will react to the formulation or Niacinamide in particular.
This anti-ageing essence is enriched with Fermented Black Tea which protects skin against free radical damage and offers a helping hand with brightening skin complexion. It also contains Niacinamide to pack a punch.
Takeaway: Hyperpigmentation is a very common skin concern, and there are several preventative measures we can take. We have summed up our tips on preventing this dark spot from appearing and a cheat list of ingredients to help fade them away. Bye, hyperpigmentation!
- By Claudia Christin (@funskincare)
Seoul based Dermatology Post Graduate