Some Secrets About Hyperpigmentation

Some Secrets About Hyperpigmentation

Introduction

Hyperpigmentation is actually a lot more common than you think. We often associate hyperpigmentation with aging and assume that only old people will have those brown patches and spots on their skin. Actually, that’s not true! You can get hyperpigmentation at any age, not just when you are old although the aging process definitely plays a part in emphasizing the pigmentation spots. Also, pigmentation isn’t caused by aging, it is caused by other factors that you might not even be aware of!

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

The top three causes of hyperpigmentation are sun damage, hormones, and inflammation. The sun is an obvious cause, it’s the biggest enemy of our skin. Free radicals in UV rays are super damaging to our skin barrier and cells, causing problems like a loss of hydration and inflammation of the cells. To counteract this heat, the skin produces melanin, the pigment that gives us color, which acts as a natural sunscreen. That’s why we get tanner under the sun! It’s not the sun charing our skin, it’s our own skin responding and protecting itself by producing a natural barrier. However, when the melanin is produced in deposits, it results in dark spots and patches and hence hyperpigmentation. Hormonal changes are the second, if not very surprising factor. Changes in hormone activities, especially in women, somehow stimulate the melanocytes, melanin-producing cells, to produce more melanin. That is why pregnant women often experience patches of brown or grey skin on their face, and this may also affect women and girls who are on hormonal contraceptive pills. Then there is inflammation, which causes the skin’s healing process to produce melanin and hence might result in some dark patches. You might be familiar with acne-scarring, which is caused by melanin being produced as a result of the inflammation. 

We often see whitening and brightening serums, and spot-treatments that promise to make our spots vanish. Skincare products are chock-full of botanic ingredients like arbutin, soy, kojic acid, and licorice root to harness their natural properties of lightening spots. Then there are the chemicals like hydroquinone and vitamin-A derivatives of retinol and tretinoin, and antioxidants like vitamin C. But for all their potential, many of these serums still won’t solve your problem of hyperpigmentation as sufficiently as you would like it to. The truth is, the only really effective method to get rid of or at least reduce pigmentation is by getting a cosmetic procedure from a licensed and certified dermatologist. Furthermore, the above serums and creams work a lot better after there has been some work done to the hyperpigmentation by a dermatologist. 

Here’s the big secret: if you are looking to effectively get rid of hyperpigmentation, the best way to do it is to get a procedure done with a dermatologist then follow up by using the brightening and spot-reducing treatments. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration when the topical treatments alone aren’t working as they promised to.

What You Don’t Know About Hyperpigmentation

Melanin protects our DNA

Melanin is actually really important in protecting our skin and body! As we noted above, melanin is produced when triggered by potential inflammatory causes like the sun, hormones, and skin damage. It absorbs UV rays, which is why it is sort of a natural sunscreen, and it also possesses some antioxidant properties. Melanin will move into the other skin cells to try and protect DNA from damage.

Hyperpigmentation spots are not the same and need different kinds of treatment

Using the same treatments for different spots will not lead to similar results. Depending on what caused the hyperpigmentation, a dermatologist will take very different approaches. For example, if your hyperpigmentation was caused by hormonal changes or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a dermatologist would not use laser treatment as it might even aggravate and cause more pigmentation to occur. The best treatment for these pigmentation types is gentle chemical peels spread out over the course of a few months. For hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage, it isn’t as obvious and a laser will be super effective at reducing it. Even the type of laser used is different, for fairer skin tones with brown spots a stronger laser might be used compared to darker skin tones which are usually more sensitive to heat. There is also a procedure for the sort of pigmentation that manifests in diffused dappled spots that might be lighter in color and more scattered. Dermatologists will not use a targeted treatment like a laser but rather might turn to dermabrasion or microdermabrasion. A non-ablative device with an abrasive surface will be used to scrape over the skin, stimulating collagen production and removing the dull skin cells damaged by the sun. What’s more, hyperpigmentation cannot be reduced within just one session, you will need multiple sessions and healing downtime before you will start to see visible differences.

Exfoliating can help with temporarily fading surface-level spots

When there is a build-up of old skin cells on the skin surface, it often results in the skin absorbing light instead of reflecting light, which is how dull skin occurs. If your skin is already looking drab, patchiness from hyperpigmentation can cause even duller-looking skin. Exfoliation is hence a good way to temporarily help reduce the look of sunspots as it will boost the radiance of your skin. Sloughing off dead skin cells using glycolic acid peel pads are an effective way to do so.

You might not be able to see the hyperpigmentation as it is below your skin

Dermatologists prefer to target the whole face instead of spots when treating melasma and hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Even though the patches and spots look isolated, there might be deposits under the skin surface that we are unable to see. Hence, using retinol can be very effective in boosting the cellular level processes of the skin, as it will improve the cell turnover and get fresh, new skin cells to rise to the surface. This will also help to break the melanin deposits under the skin, and hence removing and reducing the dark spots. A dermatologist will likely prescribe some retinoids to target the below-surface pigmentation.

Conclusion

There are lots of things you don’t know about pigmentation, and now you do! Pigmentation is a pretty tricky business, and these tips from dermatologists about what goes on under the skin will definitely help you choose the best course of action for your pigmentation problems.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Latest Posts

Join the Skor Beauty community, receive newsletters, offers and updates.