How to Reduce Pigmentation
Hyperpigmentation - what is it?
Hyperpigmentation / skin pigmentation, is when your skin produces more melanin than normal. Melanin is the pigment responsible for giving your skin its colour. The excess pigment is deposited deep within the skin, giving it a darker look than the skin around it. This is a very common skin concern that affects people of all skin types. It can appear in smaller patches, cover large areas, and even cover the entire body.
Causes of hyperpigmentation
The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are highlighted below:
- Sun damage. UV rays from the sun harm your skin. They are responsible for about 80% of signs of premature skin ageing. A sign of premature ageing is hyperpigmentation in form of age spots. This usually happens when skin is exposed to the sun for many decades.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Acne or eczema can cause the skin to go through an inflammatory phase - where it over produces melanin and it leaves darker spots after it heals.
Chloasma (Melasma). This is characterised by patches of dark pigmentation, commonly on the face, This condition can be tricky to control as it can indicate hormonal changes. Pregnancy is commonly associated with Melsasma but can also affect anyone at any time in their life.
Medical conditions. Rarely but still a possibility - hyperpigmentation can be a sign and symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Addison’s disease. Addison's disease is an uncommon disorder that occurs when your body doesn't produce enough of certain hormones. Pigmentation occurs when the stimulant effect of excess adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) on the melanocytes produce too much melanin. Like anything you may be unsure of on your skin - do not google it - see your dermatologist or doctor!
How to prevent hyper pigmentation
Pigmentation can sometimes not be removed all together but there are things you can do to minimise visibility and prevent further discolouration.
Stay out of direct sunlight. Avoiding the sun during the peak hours. If you are outside - seek shade. Indoors - try avoiding sitting by windows.
Wear hats! Step up your fashion game with a hat that covers your face - wide brims are great as you also get shade for the back of your neck. 🤠
Try using a Vitamin C based product in. your skincare routine. Pure vitamin C or L-Ascorbic Acid is clinically proven to give the skin environmental protection (antioxidants), boosting the skin's own collagen production and fading hyperpigmentation. Our all time superhero is Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow. This water-light formula contains 15% Vitamin C & additional antioxidants to give a healthy glow and firm the skin.
Apply SPF30 or higher everyday! Thats right - select a sunscreen you ACTUALLY enjoy using, we have many to choose from, and wear it everyday, even indoors. It will take at least 2 months for visible changes as the skin regenerates at approximately the 28 day mark.
Try to limit touching your skin. Picking a spot almost always results in inflammation and leads to pigmentation on the face. When applying skincare or makeup, always wash your hands first.
See our selection of skincare that fights pigmentation here.
Treatment for hyperpigmentation
Certain ingredients in skincare can aid in fading the look of dark spots, reducing their apperance.
Retinol. Topical retinoids are highly effective in treating acne and can also improve hyperpigmentation due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Use retinol at night and always use and SPF30 or higher during the day to maximise the effects of a retinol-based product.
Niacinamide. An effective skin lightening compound that works by inhibiting
Azelaic Acid. Reduces pigmentation and useful for darker skin where acne spots leave persistent brown marks (postinflammatory pigmentation) or who have melasma.
Mandelic Acid. Because of its larger molecular structure, mandelic acid doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply as glycolic acid, so it's gentler on the skin. Mandelic acid has been found to be effective for inflammatory acne and some forms of hyperpigmentation, as well as treating sun damage and evening out pigmentation
Iron Oxides. Found in certain sunscreens and in many foundations, tinted moisturisers, etc is a reddish hue added to reduce white cast of sunscreens - iron oxides effectively at protecting against UVA light.
What to remember
Wearing sunscreen SPF30 or higher is key as sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation, and you can do a lot of good to the skin by simply applying SPF and staying out of direct sunlight.
To treat pigmentation, using products that contain ingredients such as retinol or Niacinamide and the ingredients mentioned above can help. But the take away point here is that you NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN.