Hyperpigmentation is an incredibly common skin condition associated with a wide number of potential causes. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s desirable. If you experience hyperpigmentation, it might help you to understand it a bit better to learn how to approach trying to prevent it and treat it. In this article, we’ll help you out by telling you everything you need to know about this condition so that you can make healthy choices for your skin that will reduce the risk and occurrence of hyperpigmentation.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition in which certain patches of skin have a darker appearance than those surrounding it. It can happen in small spots or large ones, occurring all over the body or in just one place. It might be on your face skin, on your hands, on your abdomen, or really anywhere.
Hyperpigmentation happens as the result of the overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. That being said, “hyperpigmentation” is actually an umbrella term that covers skin discoloration of many different types. Some of these include:
- Melasma - The darkening of the skin as a result of hormonal changes, heat, or sun exposure. This is common in pregnant women
- Sunspots - When the sun’s UV rays stimulate the production of a type of cell called a melanocyte, it can lead to the overproduction of melanin, causing hyperpigmentation
- Acquired melanosis - This occurs after a skin injury or inflammation. Acne scars fall under this category.
- Periorbital hyperpigmentation - Generally harmless but often unwelcome, periorbital hyperpigmentation is another term for the dark circles that many people have around the lower eyelid
- Linea nigra - The linea nigra is a hyperpigmented line that shows up on the abdomen during pregnancy
- Age spots - These commonly appear on the face and hands of older adults in the form of black, tan, or brown spots
Note that these are just some of the many types of hyperpigmentation that you might experience one or some of.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation
Because hyperpigmentation is an umbrella term, there are quite a few different causes that might be responsible for it depending on which type you have. Potential causes for hyperpigmentation include:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal birth control pills
- Hormone therapy
- Skin injury
- Addison's disease
- Cushing's disease
- Celiac disease
- Vitamin deficiency
- Metabolic disorders
- Chemotherapy drugs
As you can see from this list, hyperpigmentation is caused by a large variety of things, many of which are unavoidable. This is why it can be helpful to come to terms with hyperpigmentation as something that is a normal part of life and nothing to be ashamed of.
How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
That being said, we understand that hyperpigmentation isn’t always desirable and can make you feel insecure or self-conscious. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to prevent certain types of hyperpigmentation. These include:
- Wear an SPF of at least 30 on your face and body when going outside especially, but not only, on sunny days
- Take good care of your skin with a skincare routine suited to your skin type
- If you have an active acne breakout, avoid picking at or popping your pimples
- Speak to your doctor to see if there may be an underlying medical cause to your hyperpigmentation that needs to be treated
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation
Sometimes, no matter how well you treat your skin, you’ll still experience hyperpigmentation. If you already have discolored skin and want to explore options for reducing its appearance, here are some treatment options that are available to you.
- Skincare products that contain ingredients such as licorice extract and niacinamide
- Exfoliating treatments with face acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid and salicylic acid
- Chemical peels
- Laser therapy
- Home remedies such as aloe vera, licorice, green tea
To keep your skin as healthy as possible, check out Blu Fern’s natural clean beauty products. Our natural plant-based skincare is made to balance and restore your skin’s microbiome to help reduce inflammation, one of the causes of hyperpigmentation, and make your skin more resilient to things like sun damage.