More on what causes hyperpigmentation, if it goes away on its own, and what melasma is.
Can sun exposure be cause of hyperpigmentation?
Yes. The sun and UV radiation not only form new dark spots and discolorations but make existing hyperpigmentation darker and even more visible, because they actively stimulate the production of melanin (it also contributes to skin aging and damage that results in dull, uneven, and wrinkled skin.)
How does pollution cause hyperpigmentation?
Pollution and free radicals can cause oxidative damage to the skin. As skin attempts to protect and defend itself from these external aggressors, melanocytes may overproduce melanin and cause skin pigmentation and discolorations.
Does hyperpigmentation go away on its own?
Yes and no. While some forms of hyperpigmentation are permanent many types will fade over time. Dark patches of skin that are a few shades darker than your skin may fade within 6-12 months while a discoloration deeper in skin and age spots may take years to fade on its own, which is why a good skincare routine can help.
Does exfoliating skin help visibly reduce hyperpigmentation?
It depends. Healthy skin cell turnover is essential in helping visibly diminish dark spots and hyperpigmentation but over-exfoliation or harshly scrubbing the skin can cause irritation that may worsen or intensify hyperpigmentation. (Which is why our family’s suggestions to “scrub really hard” wasn’t actually good advice!)
How can you help prevent hyperpigmentation?
In addition to a skincare routine that treats hyperpigmentation, defend skin from the direct causes of discoloration and darker skin patches by:
- Sun protection! Wearing broad spectrum sunscreen (or hats) every day
- Caring for acne to help prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Avoiding touching the skin, especially blemishes or bug bites
- Using gentle active ingredients that won’t exacerbate inflammation
Is melasma hyperpigmentation?
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that can cause unwanted melanin production deep in the dermis (which is much harder to treat and may appear darker or greyer than epidermal melanin), usually in sun-distributed areas on the face. Treatment of melasma is very long and hard process.
What causes melasma?
It happens from a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, UV exposure, and changes in hormones (such as during pregnancy or from hormonal contraceptives).
How to treat hyperpigmentation?
Common treatments include topical retinoids, combination creams (retinoid, steroid, hydroquinone), laser treatment, chemical peels, and even oral tranexamic acid. These can be effective if used appropriately, but overly aggressive treatments can further aggravate the condition.
According to American Academy of Dermatology, there are a lot over-the-counter and non-prescriptive products with ingredients that can help to achieve even skin color. Top ingredients include:
- Vitamin C
- Zinc oxide
- Kojic acid
At EADEM, we research and formulate products that can help with hyperpigmentation and melasma in skin of color. Our gentle routine includes a brightening serum and brightening moisturizer containing ingredients that have been clinically proven to lighten dark spots in melanin-rich skin, including:
Together, the brightening routine can help lighten dark spots but remember to wear tinted sunscreens daily for prevention of recurrence.
Need more information on hyperpigmentation? Check out our dark spots guide for ways to treat this particular skin condition.
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