After a bout of acne or a summer spent soaking up the sun, you may be wondering what those dark spots on your face are and, more importantly, how to get rid of them and keep them from coming back.
Hyperpigmentation is when some areas of your skin are darker in comparison with the rest. This condition manifests as discolored spots and patches of skin on the face and other areas exposed to the sun. Most people will experience hyperpigmentation at some point in their lives. Often, it goes away on its own. For many people, however, dark spots linger months after their acne has cleared up or their tan has faded away.
Here’s the good news: stubborn marks and spots can be prevented. Read on to learn about what causes skin hyperpigmentation and what you can do to keep it at bay.
3 Causes of Skin Hyperpigmentation
Before we get into the causes of hyperpigmentation, it’s helpful to know a little bit about melanin and how it works.
As you probably already know, melanin is the term for the pigments that naturally give skin its color. It’s produced by cells called melanocytes. When melanocytes are overstimulated, they make too much melanin. This results in excessive pigmentation in the skin.
Fluctuations in certain hormones during pregnancy can result in melasma, a condition caused by an excess of melanin and characterized by brown or gray patches on the skin. It usually starts during the first trimester and continues throughout the pregnancy. Most expectant mothers will see the dark patches begin to fade soon after giving birth. For some, however, melasma can persist long after pregnancy.
Apart from moms-to-be, people who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy or taking birth control pills can also get melasma.
Those dark spots left behind when an acne breakout finally clears up are caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH. PIH occurs after the skin has been injured or irritated. The resulting inflammation puts melanin synthesis into overdrive, causing areas of hyperpigmentation to appear where the injuries used to be. Depending on your skin tone and the severity of the inflammation, marks caused by PIH can range in color from brown to black.
Being out in the sunshine is good for the body and the spirit. However, soaking up the rays too often can cause the skin to overproduce melanin. The result: sunspots. These flat brown spots vary in size and appear on the areas most exposed to the sun, such as the face.
Sunspots can happen to anybody who spends time in the sun. However, they’re especially common among people with fair skin and adults older than 50.
Combat Hyperpigmentation With Skincare Ingredients That Do More
To correct and prevent hyperpigmentation, choosing the right actives is key. The following ingredients work deep within the skin to prevent hyperpigmentation from forming while improving the appearance of existing dark spots.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is a formidable weapon in the fight against hyperpigmentation. It has been shown to block tyrosinase, an enzyme found within melanocytes that promotes melanin production.
Vitamin C also fights inflammation and protects the skin from the oxidative stress that occurs through exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants. These abilities help prevent and fade hyperpigmentation for brighter, more even-toned skin.
Where You Can Find It
Our Glass-C Skin Brightening Serum delivers 74.6% sea berry extract and 15% ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C, to your skin. It also contains another ingredient that promotes an even, glowing complexion: niacinamide (Read: Ingredients We Love - Niacinamide).
Like Vitamin C, Vitamin A slows down melanin production by blocking tyrosinase, preventing dark spots and patches from forming on the skin. It also speeds up the skin’s renewal process by removing dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface to reveal the younger cells underneath. Dark spots become less noticeable, and skin looks smoother and more radiant.
Where You Can Find It
A simple way to incorporate vitamin A in your skincare routine is by using the Uplift Hydrating Serum Spray. Despite being gentle enough for delicate skin, it packs a powerful punch for reducing and preventing hyperpigmentation. It contains not just vitamin A but also a selection of skin-loving ingredients that help exfoliate, smoothen, and brighten the skin.
Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen!
We now know that the sun’s rays are a big factor in hyperpigmentation. Not only does it cause sunspots—it can also aggravate hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal changes and inflammation. Another concern is that topical vitamin D makes the skin more sensitive to the sun. Meanwhile, exposure to heat and light can cause the vitamin C in skincare products to break down faster.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to shun the sun. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen whenever you step outside. A product with at least SPF 30 protects your skin and wards off dark spots while making sure the actives in your skincare are working at their best.
Our DD+CC Primer with SPF 30 does double duty, blurring away imperfections while neutralizing the harmful effects of the sun on the skin. It also contains Japanese Tsubaki Oil, a plant-based ingredient that helps even out skin tone by diminishing the appearance of scars.
When it comes to battling hyperpigmentation, vitamins A and D as well as sunscreen are your skin’s best friends. Want to learn about other skin-brightening and radiance-restoring ingredients? Check out thisarticle!
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