what is hyperpigmentation and how to treat it
what is hyperpigmentation?
Uneven skin tone, also known as hyperpigmentation, is irregular darkening of the skin. It is caused by the overproduction of melanin, the pigment that is responsible for skin and hair colour. The resulting dark patches and spots are typically perceived as "ageing skin" and can make you look older than your years. Hyperpigmentation could be limited to certain patches of areas of your body and face, or more widely spread. These spots are also sometimes called sun spots, age spots and liver spots.
what does hyperpigmentation look like?
Hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone can look like brown or black patches or spots on your skin. If you notice that certain parts of your skin are darker than the rest, then you are likely experiencing hyperpigmentation.
what causes hyperpigmentation?
There are different causes of hyperpigmentation and it’s important to try and identify the correct one so that you can treat it accordingly.
sun exposure: When your skin is repeatedly exposed to UV light, sun damage occurs. Brown spots and uneven skin tone develop as a result of too much melanin being produced to help protect your skin from UV light.
pollution: Particles and gases from air pollution are able to penetrate the skin and lead to formation of brown spots, particularly on the face.
hormones: Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by an increased hormone stimulation. It’s most commonly experienced by women who are pregnant (which is why it’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) or taking contraceptives, but can also be a reaction to certain cosmetics or medication. Not following a proper after-care routine post any aesthetic or intense skin treatments can also cause this on the skin.
post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This is a darkening of the skin as a result of scarring, which can be caused by acne lesions or a skin injury.
genetics: Some kinds of hyperpigmentation, such as freckles, are hereditary, so if you have a family history of uneven skin tone or pigmentation, you may experience it as well.
lack of vitamins: an insufficiency of vitamins like B12 and Folic Acid can cause spots and pigmentation. It’s important to ensure you’re getting enough of these vitamins, both topically and orally.
how to treat hyperpigmentation
You don’t have to spend a fortune on laser treatments and prescriptions. Here are ways to safely and non-invasively brighten skin for a more even skin tone:
apply SPF daily: Unprotected sun exposure is the number one culprit behind hyperpigmentation. Applying a sunscreen or moisturiser, with a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30, is the easiest way to help prevent new spots. Tip: Look for Oleosome technology, which increases SPF performance. We recommend trying the Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30, which is a multitasking moisturiser that provides broad-spectrum defence while preventing future signs of skin damage. Intelligent drone technology is activated by visible light to help boost the skin’s natural luminosity. Breakthrough antioxidant technology helps protect skin against pollution. Broad-spectrum SPF30 provides protection from UV damage, while a bio-ferment from Sage helps maintain an even skin tone. Advanced moisture magnets provide all-day hydration for visibly smooth skin.
The Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 is also a good option. This provides an invisible, weightless defence that blends easily on the skin and features only non-nano Zinc Oxide. Say goodbye to thick, white residue with this physical SPF formula that provides added blue light protection and helps soothe away the effects of environmental aggressors. Bio-active Mushroom Complex helps soothe skin, and reduce UV-induced redness and dryness. Antioxidant Green Tea helps defend skin against free-radical damage and it is ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin and skin that has undergone aesthetic treatments
exfoliate: Treat existing hyperpigmentation by first sloughing off dead, dulling skin cells at the surface. This clears the path for the ingredients in your serums and moisturisers to better penetrate the skin. Tip: Look for a gentle, micro-fine exfoliant you can use every day, such as the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. This iconic exfoliating powder is a rice-based powder that activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to polish skin to perfection. A Skin Brightening Complex of Phytic Acid from Rice Bran, White Tea and Licorice helps balance uneven skin tone, while a super-soothing blend of Colloidal Oatmeal and Allantoin helps calm skin.
use the right ingredients: Seek out products that contain Activated Charcoal to help remove pollutants; Oligopeptides, Niacinamide and Zinc Glycinate to help control melanin production; and Retinol to restore skin. The Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant is an effective exfoliant containing activated charcoal that gives you smoother, even-toned skin with every use.
The Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum is a potent skin brightening serum that helps balance hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. An exclusive blend of Oligopeptides plus rice-derived Phytic Acid, antioxidant Zinc Glycinate, and Red and Brown Algae help address pigmentation imbalance. Its advanced formula absorbs quickly to optimise efficacy, while helping to increase luminosity.
If you’re looking for products containing niacinamide, look no further than the Oil-Free Matte SPF30. This broad-spectrum sunscreen helps prevent shine and skin ageing on oily, breakout-prone skin. Lightweight, ultra-sheer formula contains an advanced blend of Zinc Gluconate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Biotin and Yeast Extract. Oil absorbers help maintain an all-day matte finish, preventing shine without any powdery residue. Sheer formula provides defence against skin-ageing UV light.
For your nighttime routine, you can try the Dermalogica Pure Night Moisturiser, a nourishing, overnight treatment cream that helps restore skin luminosity. This rich moisturiser helps balance skin tone while you sleep with an active blend of Oligopeptide, brightening Vitamin C, Niacinamide and Zinc Glycinate. Pumpkin enzyme smooths skin while Cranberry and Raspberry Seed oils help restore critical skin hydration, reducing the appearance of fine dehydration lines. White Bird of Paradise Seed Extract helps increase skin luminosity while Vitamin C and Moth Bean Seed Extract fight signs of ageing. For best results, use this after C-12 Pure Bright Serum.
If you haven't yet started, it's time to add Retinol to your skin care arsenal. Try the Dermalogica Retinol Clearing Oil. Powered by a lipid-based delivery system that actively nourishes with skin-mimicking phytoactive lipids from Argan, Rosehip Seed and Golden Jojoba oils, this slow-release Retinol works all night to help optimise skin recovery and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Salicylic Acid targets active breakouts to help clear skin.
use a targeted product: Focusing your skin care treatments on the concerned area can help expedite the improvement process. Start fading the appearance of dark spots within days with the Dermalogica PowerBright Dark Spot Serum. This advanced serum begins to diminish the appearance of uneven pigmentation fast, and keeps working to even skin tone over time. Light-diffusing technology begins to balance the appearance of uneven pigmentation after one use, and continues working over time with potent Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol to help fade dark spots. Skin care powerhouse Shiitake Mushroom – rich in beta glucans – brightens skin, while adaptogenic Ashwagandha smooths and delivers antioxidant benefits. Black Currant Oil and Peony Flower help boost skin’s natural luminosity. Skin-shielding actives help protect against pollution-induced dark spots.
be patient: There's no quick fix for an uneven skin tone. Typically, it takes at least 30 days of regular treatment before you will see any results. This can go up to four months or more, so don't give up!
Kickstart your battle against hyperpigmentation by asking a Dermalogica skin therapist for a free Face Mapping® skin analysis. She will identify the cause of your spots and recommend a plan of action, including products and treatments.