What is Hyperpigmentation and Why Do We Get It?
When we hear the term ‘hyperpigmentation’, we usually think of skin which is uneven in colour, with darker patches, areas of large freckles and dark spots. This is pretty much what to expect from Hyperpigmentation, except it can occur in various degrees.
Severity depending on the person.
One of the most common forms of hyperpigmentation is caused from sun damage, which is why some people only experience the effects when the sun comes out and it brings out the hidden damage. Others may have a rather patchy complexion which is there all year round, with areas of dark tones across their skin.
If this sounds like something you currently have, then rest assured: it is a very common skin complaint. It’s usually very harmless, but it can be frustrating for those who have it, leaving some feeling self-conscious when wearing no makeup.
Why does hyperpigmentation appear?
There are several reasons why people may experience hyperpigmentation. Firstly, it is caused by an increase of melanin in the skin, which in turn causes darker patches of skin to appear. There are a few common misconceptions that it only occurs in women as they age; however, that’s a total myth, and anyone at any age can develop hyperpigmentation.
Some people will just experience an increase in melanin in the skin as they do age, causing patches to appear darker. Over exposure to the sun is usually one of the main culprits though, causing age or ‘liver spots’ most commonly found on the face and chest.
Hyperpigmentation is especially prevalent in darker skinned women of colour. This tends to be because their skin pigment is already naturally darker, so when melanin increases, their skin will darken more quickly and prominent than those with paler complexions.
Is sunlight exposure the main culprit?
In most cases, yes. Hyperpigmentation is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin produce cells that contain the skin-darkening pigment. When your skin overproduces melanin, this is when hyperpigmentation kicks in. However, it’s not just the sun’s rays that cause these patchy dark spots. Recent studies have also shown High Energy Visible light (HEV), which is omitted from your smartphone, is also a culprit. Bad news for those addicted to their phones!
Hormones have also been known to be the cause of some other cases of hyperpigmentation.
How can hyperpigmentation be treated?
The more popular treatment for hyperpigmentation is a course of laser treatment, which has very effective results and works fairly fast. If laser treatments don’t appeal to you, pigmentation can be managed effectively by a course of other treatments which work similar to the laser, but less abrasive. For examples, skin brightening peels, microdermabrasion and dermaplaning all help remove the layers of damaged skin, revealing, newer, fresher skin.
A course of skin brightening and pigmentation battling peels, loaded with lactic acid, are one of the most common treatments ladies book in for at the salon.
If your pigmentation is being caused by sun damage, you can easily protect your skin from further hyperpigmentation by using a good quality sunscreen and avoiding over exposure to the sun’s rays.
Embracing antioxidant skincare products may help to repair some of the damage that has been done. A good concoction of Vitamins A, C and E can have an almost a bleaching effect when it comes to hyperpigmentation, with Vitamin C & E working well together to both repair DNA damage in the skin cells and reduce pigmentation.
Luckily, hyperpigmentation can sometimes solve itself after a period of time. For example, if hyperpigmentation has been caused due to an imbalance of hormones because of a pregnancy, it is common that this will fade itself.
Remember, prevention and protection are the best methods overall to keep any further pigmentation at bay.