Not only can they be a sign of skin damage, but they can immediately age your face and lower your self-esteem.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your complexion at the first sign of damage.
There’s so much you can do to keep your skin looking its best, and it all comes down to understanding what hyperpigmentation is in the first place.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
By medical definition, hyperpigmentation is a skin condition where patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin because of an excess of melanin – the pigment that provides skin with its natural hue.
While this condition is completely harmless, many people try to remove the marks from their skin so that they don’t feel self-conscious about them.
Top Five Causes of Hyperpigmentation
A variety of conditions can cause hyperpigmentation, but there are five leading causes responsible for most cases. If you want to get your hyperpigmentation under control, it’s often helpful to know what category you fall into.
1. Too Much Sun Exposure: Everyone knows that basking in the sun damages your skin below the surface, but the extent of the damage might still surprise you. When skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, it triggers a low-level inflammatory response that can build up over time.
Eventually, this causes your body to start producing hormones to balance out and block this inflammation, which can lead to the development of melanocytes, or the beginning signs of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
2. Allergic Reactions: Almost any allergic reaction can lead to an inflammatory response in your skin, and some triggers can be so intense that your body goes into overdrive and exhibits the inflammatory response permanently in the form of hyperpigmentation.
3. Medication Side Effects: People react differently to certain medications, and some forms of antibiotics, hormone medications, or anti-seizure medications might lead to melanin overproduction.
4. Imbalanced Hormones: Estrogen and progesterone play a role in balancing out your skin tone, and an imbalance in either one can increase your melanin production and create age spots. Often, this imbalance restores itself if your hormones return to normal and the skin discoloration isn’t permanent.
5. Your Genetics: For many people, hyperpigmentation is part of their DNA. A look at family pictures might reveal that other family members have this tendency and you may develop this condition as well.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation can be corrected using a variety of methods ranging from very invasive to non invasive. Some are gentler with less chances of complications than others. Choose a method that suits your skin needs and finances.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing: A treatment method which uses a laser to heat and either destroy or tighten sections of the skin by layers. New skin grows to replace the skin removed by the laser. This treatment usually requires pre- and post- treatment medications, and can occasionally lead to post inflammatory pigmentation.
Chemical Peels: A chemical peel involves the application of a chemical solution- an acid- such as alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, or trichloroacetic acid. As a result, the skin is exfoliated and peels off to reveal skin which is smoother. The healing time varies depending on whether the peel was superficial, medium or deep, and can be anywhere from 1- 21 days.
Microdermabrasion: is a procedure that exfoliates the skin either by use of a microdermabrasion machine under the care of a doctor or aesthetician, or at home using a hand held device. This method removes dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin. It can lead to slight skin irritation which should resolve itself after a few days.
Skin Brightening Creams: These present the least invasive and safest method of reducing hyperpigmentation and brightening the skin. They reduce the appearance of dark spots, age spots, acne scars, and other discolorations by blocking the production of melanin in the skin.
You don’t have to settle for having hyperpigmentation affect your skin. Choose a method that works best and send us a picture of your amazing results! We would love to hear from you!