What stops you from keeping your makeup simple and sheer? Probably, dark spots. The older we get, the more dark spot issues we are faced with. Dark spots or commonly called hyperpigmentation is a term that is used to describe a patch of skin that appears darker in color compared to their surrounding areas. Generally, they are not harmful but are cosmetically undesirable since it may make our skin looks duller and tired. Today we are going to talk about what causes hyperpigmentation and what ingredients to look for to fade them away!
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is caused due to the excess deposition of skin pigment called melanin. The deposition of skin pigment is actually a response of our skin towards signals from external or internal environments in order to protect our skin from DNA damage. There are several risk factors that increased the production of melanin. Some of the signals are:
- • Inflammation (acne)
- • Injury (burns, cuts)
- • UV exposure and visible light
- • Hormone (estrogen and progesterone), pregnancy
- • Genetics, darker skin tone
- • Medication
Types of hyperpigmentation
In general, hyperpigmentation can be categorized based on its major different causes:
1. Age spots
This type of hyperpigmentation is also called solar lentigines, liver spots, or sunspots. They vary in size and are shown as flat, oval dark areas that may group together. This type of hyperpigmentation appears on areas that are continuously exposed to the sun such as the face, forearms, hands, or shoulders. It is important to keep an eye on this type of spots since if there is a change in appearance (color, size, or shape), you have to go to your dermatologist for a further check-up
2. PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
This type of hyperpigmentation depends on the presence and degree of the inflammatory response on our skin. It can be from acne or eczema and commonly happen in darker skin types.
It is also called the “mask of pregnancy” and is caused due to hormonal changes and commonly happen during pregnancy. It may appear on any area of the body from the face, neck, or stomach. It shows as large patches of the darkened area and again is more common in darker skin.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation?
While some of them are inevitable, there are definitely ways to stop them from getting even worse than it should be
1. Always wear your sunscreen
A sunscreen with SPF of at least 30, broad-spectrum every single day even when it is cloudy or raining outside.
2. Double up the protection with an antioxidant
Ingredients such as Vitamin C, tocopherol, or resveratrol can help scavenge the free radicals that cause irregular signaling on our skin, including signals that induce hyperpigmentation.
3. Physical protection
Aside from sunscreen, you can protect yourself from UV damage by using a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
4. Get your skin condition treated properly
If you are struggling with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation either from acne or eczema, we would suggest you get your skin condition treated properly to prevent the hyperpigmentation from forming in the first place.
5. Don’t pick on your pimple
When you are struggling with acne, don’t pick them since it can worsen the inflammation and result in deeper-color hyperpigmentation.
Which ingredients to look for?
While the above measures can help prevent you from forming new or dark spots, some of the following ingredients can speed up the fading process of hyperpigmentation.
1. UV filters in sunscreen
Our skin’s first line of defense to prevent the darkening or the formation of new spots.
Retinoid is another ingredient that can’t only regulate your skin cell turnover, but also prevent the formation of hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the formation of an enzyme that creates the formation of melanin.
3. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C
The king of antioxidants, prevent free radicals damage and help brighten any hyperpigmentation! It also inhibits the activity of enzymes that create the skin pigment.
4. Azelaic acid
A great option for those with sensitive skin! This ingredient work by inhibiting the enzyme (just like vitamin C)
A skin-lightening agent used in the treatment of hyperpigmentation disorders such as melasma, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and lentigines
The jack-of-all-trade, not only helps strengthen the skin barrier but can also help brighten our skin by inhibiting the transfer of the skin pigment.
7. Kojic acid
Made from several different types of fungi. It’s also a byproduct when certain foods ferment, including Japanese sake, soy sauce, and rice wine. Kojic acid inhibits and prevents the formation of an enzyme
A natural derivative of hydroquinone. It provides a skin-lightening effect with minimal risk compared to direct hydroquinone.
9. Licorice Root Extract
Glabridin, a polyphenolic flavonoid is the main component of licorice extract. Studies have shown that glabridin prevents Ultraviolet B (UVB) induced pigmentation
10. Soy extracts
This natural plant extracts are restoring and also help improve the look of uneven skin tone and help reverse signs of premature aging.
11. Hydroxy-acids (AHA, BHA)
Hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid help remove the dead skin cells layer and reveal the newer and less pigmented skin layers on the surface of our skin