Hyperpigmentation is caused by the overproduction of Melanin (the pigment that gives our skin and hair colour), creating dark patches or spots to become visible on the skin’s surface creating in an uneven complexion.
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin concern and can affect anywhere on the body most prevalent on parts of the body regularly exposed to the sun such as face, neck and hands. Whilst it is difficult to remove dark spots completely depending on the cause and how deep the pigmentation is, there are ways it can be reduced and prevented.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Uneven skin tone, dark spots and hyperpigmentation can be caused by numerous factors such as sun exposure, ageing, skin trauma and hormonal changes which can trigger the Melanin in the skin to overproduce resulting in discolouration and uneven skin tone.
Darker skin tones are more prone to pigmentation due to the increased levels of Melanin already in the skin. It is also sometimes misunderstood that darker skin is more protected against the sun and does not require SPF due to the higher levels of Melanin protecting the skin however this is not entirely the case. Whilst Melanin does help to protect your skin from UV rays, excessive sun exposure will still cause the Melanin to overproduce which can result in uneven and patchy pigmented skin. Dark skin tones are just as prone to sun damage as lighter skin which is why it is essential to ensure SPF is worn daily to help prevent dark spots from forming.
4 Types of pigmentation
1. Dark Spots
Age spots and sun spots are caused by the overproduction of Melanin in certain parts of the skin. Its main cause is from sun exposure which can trigger dark patches and spots to form whilst darkening existing pigmentation. Ageing is also a common factor which can cause dark spots to increase in size and become more defined.
Melasma (or Chloasma), appears as brown patches on the forehead, cheeks or upper lip. Whilst MeAlso known as mask of pregnancy, Melasma is commonly caused by hormonal changes such as during or after pregnancy, or taking oral contraceptives.
3. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the dark spot left behind after a pimple or trauma to the skin heals resulting in discoloured, dark marks.
People who have freckles are genetically predisposed to them so they can be particularly stubborn to fade. They often become darker when exposed to the sun so wearing SPF and using a good skincare routine to help even out skin tone can reduce the appearance of freckles.
How to prevent dark spots and hyperpigmentation from forming
Using sun protection is essential in the prevention of pigmentation. Sun exposure triggers the production of Melanin causing dark spots to appear, so by protecting the skin with SPF and UVA/UVB filters, it can help prevent the pigments in the skin from overproducing.
Whilst applying sun protection is good, when exposed to the sun it is important to regularly reapply sun lotion every 2 hours, and after being in water or sweating.
Sun induced pigmentation can also be prevented by limiting sun exposure by covering up or avoiding the sun during peak hours when UV radiation is at its highest.
How to reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation
There are many skincare products in the market designed to prevent and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Varying in names from even skin tone, brightening or hyperpigmentation/dark spot creams, some of the products available contain ingredients such as hydroquinone, bleach, and mercury which can all cause irritation and damage to the skin. Whilst there are products out there containing harmful ingredients and should be avoided, there are also a lot that are just as effective at fading dark spots but safer for you and your skin.
82% of people who took part in the 4 Week Challenge noticed a reduction in dark spots and patches after using daily for 4 weeks*. For best results use for a longer period of time and see the benefits for yourself.
*Self-assessed study of 208 participants over 4 weeks of using Fade Out morning and evening.