What Helps with Hyperpigmentation? Your Ultimate Guide
What helps with hyperpigmentation? Before we delve into the best hyperpigmentation treatments it’s important to understand what causes skin to darken in the first place. This way, you will also be able to prevent dark spots and discoloration from appearing on your skin.
Ahead, your full guide on hyperpigmentation, including what it is, what causes it, and how to treat it. Plus, the best topical treatments for promoting a more even complexion.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition in which patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin. It occurs when an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color, forms deposits in the skin. It can affect all skin types but is most commonly seen in darker skin tones that already have a higher melanin content.
Hyperpigmentation is more likely during pregnancy or after an injury. Burns, bruises, and any trauma to the skin can cause it to create more melanin, resulting in dark spots. Read on to hear more about this condition and what helps with hyperpigmentation.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
There are a few types of hyperpigmentation. Here are the most common ones.
Melasma is typically caused by hormonal changes and often develops during pregnancy. With melasma, discoloration most commonly appears on the face and stomach. However, it can appear on any area of the body.
2: Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a result of inflammation or injury to the skin. Acne, for instance, can often trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Otherwise known as liver spots, sunspots are another common type of hyperpigmentation. They are linked to excess sun exposure and typically appear as spots on areas of the skin exposed to the sun, like the face, chest, and hands.
The most common cause of hyperpigmentation is excess melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin color. When too much melanin is produced, it can lead to darkened patches of skin. Several factors can influence the production of melanin.
Pregnancy alters hormone levels, which can affect melanin production in many women. In fact, hormonal changes in general can increase your risk of developing hyperpigmentation—especially if there’s an increased level of a hormone that results in increased melanin synthesis.
Excessive sun exposure is another common culprit. When you’re exposed to the sun, your body produces more melanin in order to protect the skin, which can cause age spots or sunspots.
Even skin inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation. From acne to eczema or injury to the skin, these can all cause inflammation and ultimately lead to hyperpigmentation on the face and other areas of the body.
Certain medications and health conditions may also be responsible for causing hyperpigmentation. Addison’s disease is a rare endocrine disease that can produce hyperpigmentation on face, neck, hands, and knees.
What Helps With Hyperpigmentation?
Wondering how to treat hyperpigmentation? While hyperpigmentation is a common and often harmless condition, some people may prefer to remove it. Here are some of the best ways to treat hyperpigmentation.
1: Vitamin C and Retinol
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Topical solutions for hyperpigmentation generally function by disrupting the pathways responsible for pigment production in melanocyte cells. These solutions primarily hinder the activity of an enzyme known as tyrosinase, thereby restricting the synthesis of melanin.
Some of the best skincare ingredients with tyrosinase-inhibiting effects are vitamin C and retinol. Vitamin C has been proven to limit the production of melanin. Plus, it boasts powerful antioxidant activity that can help protect the skin cells against future UV damage. Retinol also works to reduce the production of melanin. Added to that, it speeds up cell turnover which can help to improve overall skin tone and texture.
2: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
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Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid all help to treat existing pigmentation while reducing melanin production with consistent use. What’s more, AHAs have exfoliating effects, meaning they can improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation over time while giving skin a smoother look and feel.
By removing dead cells from the skin’s surface, AHAs also allow other skincare products to penetrate more effectively—maximizing their effects. In other words, your topical hyperpigmentation products will work much better on freshly exfoliated skin.
3: Vitamin B12
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Next to vitamin C, vitamin B12 is another excellent ingredient for fading hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B12 promotes collagen production while supporting the growth of new, healthy skin cells. It’s a powerful vitamin for repairing and strengthening the skin. And it can be a great treatment for hyperpigmentation.
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Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a potent ingredient that offers multifaceted benefits in addressing hyperpigmentation. Firstly, niacinamide inhibits the activity of tyrosinase, a key enzyme involved in melanin synthesis.
Additionally, niacinamide plays a crucial role in regulating the transfer of melanosomes, the pigment-containing cellular structures, from melanocytes to surrounding skin cells. Finally, niacinamide possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help calm inflammation and redness.
5: Professional Skin Treatments
What helps with hyperpigmentation if it just isn’t going away with over-the-counter treatments? In this case, you may want to consider in-office treatments. Some of the best cosmetic procedures for hyperpigmentation include chemical peels, laser therapy, and intense pulsed light. Microneedling may also be effective for deeper pigmentation.
We recommend speaking with your dermatologist to discuss your best options. They will be able to advise you on the best treatment for you.
How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation From Acne
Acne-related hyperpigmentation occurs when dark spots or discoloration develop after a breakout has healed. What helps with hyperpigmentation from acne? Some of the best topical treatments include vitamin C, retinol, glycolic acid, niacinamide, and mandelic acid. These all help to resurface the skin and promote cellular turnover while reducing inflammation, promoting a clear and even complexion.
If you’re experiencing hyperpigmentation caused by acne, it’s important to stick to an acne-fighting skincare routine to prevent future inflammation and discoloration. Alongside this, be sure to moisturize regularly with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer. Moisturizing keeps the skin barrier strong, preventing future irritation and inflammation. Plus, it can help the skin to heal more efficiently.
Resist the temptation to pick at or squeeze acne blemishes. Doing so can lead to increased inflammation, potential scarring, and prolonged hyperpigmentation.
Does Retinol Help With Hyperpigmentation?
Retinol can be effective in helping with hyperpigmentation, particularly when it is caused by issues such as acne or sun damage. What helps with hyperpigmentation? Try retinol products to fade dark spots and discoloration on your skin. Here’s how retinol works to address hyperpigmentation.
It Increases Cellular Turnover
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is known for its ability to promote cellular turnover. It accelerates the shedding of old, pigmented skin cells, allowing newer and more evenly pigmented skin cells to replace them. This process helps to gradually fade hyperpigmentation over time and reveal a more even looking complexion.
It Boosts Collagen Production
Retinol stimulates collagen production, which can contribute to skin renewal and a more even skin tone. The increased collagen helps to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of dark spots over time as well as helping to soften fine lines and wrinkles.
It Inhibits Melanin Production
Retinol has been shown to inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. By regulating melanin production, retinol can help prevent the formation of new dark spots and contribute to a more even complexion.
It is important to note that while retinol can be effective, it may also cause skin sensitivity, especially when initially using it in your skincare routine. Dermatologists recommend starting with a lower concentration and gradually increasing usage as your skin builds tolerance. Additionally, using sunscreen is crucial when using retinol, as the skin becomes more sensitive to UV radiation.
For more targeted and potent results, prescription-strength retinoids, such as tretinoin, may be recommended by a dermatologist. Consulting with a skincare professional can help determine the most suitable approach for your specific skin concerns and goals.
Does Hyperpigmentation Go Away?
Hyperpigmentation does go away over time. However, you will need to be consistent with your topical treatments to see a noticeable improvement.
It’s best to follow a daily skincare routine that consists of some of the skincare ingredients mentioned above, such as retinol, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acids. If you have sensitive skin, try adding these ingredients slowly into your routine to avoid irritating your skin.
Can hyperpigmentation go away on its own? This all depends on the cause of your hyperpigmentation—and the type. Melasma is the most stubborn type to treat because it’s caused by your hormones. In most cases of hyperpigmentation, however, it is possible that it will fade on its own but it will take much longer without treatment.
How Long Does Hyperpigmentation Take to Fade?
For post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation without treatment, it can take anywhere from several months to two years for dark patches to fade. With treatment, you can expect it to improve within six months. It may take longer depending on the level of discoloration.
How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
While it is not always possible to avoid hyperpigmentation, you can reduce your chances of getting it by using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. You can protect your skin even further from damaging UV rays by wearing hats and clothing that shield the skin from sunlight. Additionally, avoid going out when the sun is at its strongest, which is usually between 10am and 4pm.
Alongside sun protection, avoid picking and prodding at your skin after an injury or where there are blemishes. Picking your skin causes trauma which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s also a good idea to follow a daily skincare routine to keep your skin healthy. It should include a gentle cleanser, vitamin C serum, lightweight moisturizer, and SPF.
What helps with hyperpigmentation? Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to healing hyperpigmentation. Be sure to stay consistent with these treatments to get the best possible results.
Watch our hyperpigmentation routine tutorial here: