By BR Amelia
Hyperpigmentation feels like one of those issues that sneak up on you. One moment it's not there, the next it is...
So what is hyperpigmentation? How can we avoid it? And is there anything we can do to help reduce the look of it? Read on...
What is hyperpigmentation anyway?
Hyperpigmentation is quite simply an area of skin that is darker in tone than the rest of your skin due to an increase in melanin, which is the pigment that creates our skin tone.
Sun spots and melasma are two examples of hyperpigmentation. The former being caused by sun exposure over the years, the latter often caused by hormonal changes or medication. Skin inflammation, such as acne and pimples or burns, can also result in hyperpigmentation once the skin has healed.
The size of hyperpigmentation varies - from small spots here and there, to covering larger areas (as can be seen with melasma, which can create a mask-like appearance upon one's face).
Can hyperpigmentation be avoided? Or reduced in appearance?
Hyperpigmentation is not always avoidable - especially if it is created by hormonal changes like pregnancy or the use of the oral contraceptive pill. However, when it comes to the likes of sun spots, the chances of it occuring can be reduced by keeping out of the sun and wearing sunscreen.
If you've noticed that acne/pimples/mosquito bites that have been scratched or picked at create hyperpigmentation, then resist the urge to squeeze or scritch in order to avoid its onset.
Treatment is possible, but the big rule is to talk to a skincare/health professional before engaging in treatment - even the DIY kind - as some creams have ingredients that can worsen the look of hyperpigentation over a long period of time, and some skincare treatments can also make things worse depending on the type of hyperpigmentation you have.
If you are wanting to work at reducing your hyperpigmentation at home, then over the counter products - such as toners, serums and spot treatments - containing retinoids, vitamin C, vitamin E and/or niacinamide are available. If they're not doing the trick, a doctor can prescribe topical creams to help lighten affected areas.
If creams aren't helping, laser treatment, intense pulsed light treatments and chemical peels can also help reduce the look of hyperpigmentation.
The last word on the topic? While treating your hyperpigmentation, do be vigilant when it comes to wearing sunscreen, and again - we can't say this enough - if you do have concerns, talk to a health professional.
So, have you experienced hyperpigmentation? What kind? And what did you do to deal with it? Or are you comfortable with accepting it as part of your good self? Chat away!