What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a harmless skin condition in which the skin becomes darker in color than normal. It happens when the skin produces more melanin, a skin pigment that makes hair, skin, and eyes appear darker.
To effectively treat hyperpigmentation, you must first understand the different types of hyperpigmentation and how it occurs.
- Age spots (also known as liver spots): These commonly appear in brown, tan, or black spots on the face and hands from sun overexposure.
- Melasma (also known as the mask of pregnancy): The large brown or tan patches or blotchy often appear on the forehead, face, and stomach. This is a hormone derivative meaning it occurs in women when there is a change in hormones such as pregnancy and/or a reaction to drug use such as taking birth control that can trigger melanin to overproduce. This type of hyperpigmentation is the most difficult to treat.
- Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Spots or patches that appear after the healing of a cut, acne, eczema, injury to the skin, etc. This type of hyperpigmentation is the easiest to treat.
No matter which type of hyperpigmentation you may have (sometimes a mixture of all), they will worsen from prolonging sun overexposure. This happens because, in order to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, your body makes more melanin to act as a shield resulting in darken areas that are already hyperpigmented.
Hyperpigmentation can be treated using topical creams and/or cosmetic procedures. But, before we talk about treatments for hyperpigmentation, let’s talk a little bit about the Fitzpatrick scale. This scale classifies skin type according to the amount of pigment your skin has and your skin’s reaction to sun exposure. The information provided can help predict your overall risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
If your skin type falls in between types 1 and 2, you have a high risk of sun damage, skin aging from sun exposure, melanoma, and other skin cancers.
Types 3 to 6, the risk is lower than people with type 1 and 2 but still have some risk of skin cancer from sun exposure.
That being said, the better your skin is able to tan, the more likely you are to develop hyperpigmentation. The better you understand what may cause your hyperpigmentation, the better educated you will be in choosing the right ingredients, products, and treatments for you.
When choosing topical creams to lighten and/or remove hyperpigmentation, it’s important to look for topical treatments that have lighten ingredients. The following is a list of (some) natural ingredients to look for.
- Niacinamide also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide. It not only prevents melanin formation and improves uneven skin tone but works wonder to treat other skin concerns such as visibly soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, minimize enlarged pores, and strengthen the skin barrier.
- Arbutin, a natural derivative of hydroquinone and a tyrosinase inhibitor, an enzyme for controlling the production of melanin. Derived from plants such as bearberry, blueberry, and cranberry/raspberry can reduce the appearance of dark spots.
- Kojic Acid has antioxidant and another tyrosinase inhibitor to lighten visible sun damage, age spots, scars, and other hyperpigmentation related problems.
- Soy, a tyrosinase inhibitor and derived from the soybean plant. One of the more common skin lightening ingredients in moisturizers. Soy is to prevent melanin formation.
- Licorice Root Extract is a plant extract that has skin-soothing properties and improving uneven skin tone.
- Turmeric, a spice that has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties to fight off acne and reduces dark spots.
Formulated without the damaging and toxic hydroquinone and mercury, this Whitening Pearl Cream made from exclusive ingredients including Arbutin, Vitamin C, Kojic Acid, and Licorice Root Extract. A whitening cream that gradually fades dark spots, discoloration, and lightening other hyperpigmentation related problems. It also instantly brightening dull skin creating a more even skin tone while providing hydration making the skin radiant and glowy.
For those who opt-in for cosmetic procedures, focus on these procedures for hyperpigmentation treatment:
- Laser peel (skin resurfacing) – a treatment uses beams of light to reduce hyperpigmentation
- Intense pulsed light – A treatment to stimulates collagen growth within the dermis.
- Chemical peel – uses a chemical solution to apply on the skin to exfoliates and eventually peel off.
- Microdermabrasion – a non-invasive procedure that uses tiny crystals or other exfoliating surfaces to remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells.
Depend on the type of cosmetic procedure, it may require multiple sessions to really get rid of the pigmentation. Topical cream treatments still required after cosmetic procedures to prevent melanin formation.
It’s important to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent the skin from forming hyperpigmentation and stop existing hyperpigmentation from getting darker. Most importantly, sunscreen prevents you from getting skin cancer.
****All information provided on this site is for educational purposes only. Not intended to treat illness or disease. Please consult with your doctor prior to treating any underlying disease or illness. ****