Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common concerns we hear from the Doré community so we thought we would take the time to break down everything one needs to know about this common and frustrating skin concern.
What is hyperpigmentation?
In simple terms, hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that causes some areas of the skin to be darker than others. Most people think of hyperpigmentation as brown spots on the skin, but they can also be black, gray, red or pink spots. And they might grow into the size of patch, rather than just a spot. Sometimes people refer to these spots as age spots, sun spots, or liver spots.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
The dark spots or patches on your skin are caused by overproduction of the brown pigment, melanin, in your body. Too much melanin production or excess melanin leads to any of these four main types of hyperpigmentation: melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun damage, or Addison’s Disease.
What are the different types of hyperpigmentation?
You’ll hear a lot of pregnant women complain about melasma. Melasma is a hyperpigmentation condition that occurs primarily in pregnant woman or women who are taking oral contraceptives. It usually causes dark patches across all areas of the face, but especially on the upper lip.
A semi-temporary form of hyperpigmentation is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This occurs after your skin experiences a minor “trauma” such as acne, waxing, a laser treatment or small abrasion. These typically heal on their own after a few months.
Sun spots (or dark spots) are a specific type of hyperpigmentation that occur when, yes, you have been over exposed to the sun. These typically appear on the face, chest and hands and accumulate as you get older (think of your grandmother’s hands).
Addison’s Disease is a disorder that affects’s one’s adrenal gland, causing an overproduction of melanin, thus causing dark spots.
What can be done to reverse hyperpigmentation?
Look to creams that contain moisturizing agents to keep skin well hydrated to avoid further irritation to your dark spots. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin will boost the growth of skin cells, encourage cell turnover and restore the lipid barrier in your skin to protect it from sun rays (the main cause of hyperpigmentation).
If you wanted to take a more aggressive approach, there are chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser therapy, or dermabrasion that aim to decrease hyperpigmentation by carefully removing the top layer of your skin where the excess melanin resides.
What can be done to prevent hyperpigmentation?
Unfortunately if you’re predisposed to hyperpigmentation, only so much can be done to avoid it. Using a daily SPF and reducing sun exposure is the best thing you can do to prevent hyperpigmentation (which is also why hyperpigmentation typically flares up during the summer).
And if you are predisposed to hyperpigmentation, avoid picking at any acne you may have, as you are likely to scare with hyperpigmentation as well.