Hyperpigmentation – why it occurs and how to get rid of it

Although hyperpigmentation isn’t exactly a skin condition, it is a common concern that appears in people of almost ages and ethnicities. It manifests as a darkening of the skin on a limited area, because that area produces more melanin, a pigment responsible with producing colour. It can appear on the neck, hands, or back, but the most frequent and bothersome localisation is on the face. Although some forms of hyperpigmentation are harmless and sometimes even desirable (think of freckles, for instances), its presence can indicate an underlying condition or unhealthy skincare and lifestyle habits. More often than not, people who face hyperpigmentation seek cosmetic treatments from clinics like http://www.myskinspa.com.au/ or resort to specialised skincare routines.

The causes of hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is very common and appears for a variety of reasons:

  • Increases sun exposure – this is by far the most common cause. If you spend too much time in the sun without wearing sun cream, your skin starts producing too much melanin and you start getting dark sports on overexposed areas.
  • Post-acne hyperpigmentation. Sometimes, acne vulgaris does not heal properly, so even if zits themselves go away, the area where the zits used to be becomes darker and looks like a scar. Unlike zits, these scars take a long time to fade, even up to 12 months.
  • Antibiotics, hormonal treatments and certain drugs
  • Conditions such as Addison’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Porphyria, ringworm infections, mercury poisoning etc.

What can you do to prevent hyperpigmentation?

There are two things that you can do to prevent hyperpigmentation. First, you should always avoid excessive sun exposure. Before going outside, put on sun cream, no matter the season, because UV rays reach your skin even if it’s raining, cloudy or snowy outside. In colder months, you should use SPF15 or SPF30 (depending on your skin colour and how easily you burn) and, in summer, you should never go outside during the day without SPF50. Second, you should exfoliate your skin regularly to prevent the build-up of dead skin cells. If you prefer physical exfoliants, choose one a mild one that doesn’t have harsh plastic beads that scratch your skin, because they’ll have the opposite effect and cause micro lesions. Chemical exfoliants with glycolic acid are preferable, but always pair them with an SPF to avoid sunburn.

Hyperpigmentation remedies

First of all, you should know that hyperpigmentation takes a while to go away and you’ll need to be very persistent, because the first visible results appear weeks or even months after starting treatment. To make dark sports go away, you can try a targeted skincare regimen that includes AHAs, retinol, azelaic or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C serums are also great, and wearing SPF is a must. If you want faster results and have a bigger budget, then you can go to a skin clinic for a targeted laser treatment. However, make sure you have a consultation in advance, because laser treatments are not recommended in certain cases. Needless to say, you should only rely on an expert beautician and avoid cheap clinics, because you could be doing more harm than good.

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