All about hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin or nails. It's caused by increased melanin and can be the lasting effect of sun damage, inflammation, acne and other skin injuries. Melanin is what gives skin its colour, and when it's overproduced in certain spots, skin will become darker.
Melasma is another cause, and this is often the result from birth control hormones or pregnancy. It's common on the face, as well as the back of the hands.
Darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation than paler complexions and should be especially careful if they have constant sun exposure.
As with anything, prevention is better than cure. To help avoid hyperpigmentation sunscreen should always be worn. In the case of acne sufferers, don't pick at your skin! Men should also watch out for any ingrown hairs on their faces as they can leave dark patches.
If you are suffering with the condition, try not to worry about it. Hyperpigmentation does fade, but it will need a helping hand. Rather than simply clearing up, it's important to work the skin and scrub at the cells. It can get darker before it gets lighter, so don't panic if that's suddenly the case. Use a face scrub two to three times a week to rid your face of dead skin cells. Mio Skincare do a great scrub called Double Buff Dual Action Enzyme Exfoliator, but it's really easy to make your own too. Just add 1 cup raw sugar, half a cup of your favourite facial oil, one quarter cup of raw honey and ten drops of essential oil, mix, than slather on your face for 2 -5 minutes.
Dermalogica have recently launched a line targeting hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tones, called PowerBright TRx. Included in the range is Pure Night, which helps reduce the appearance of dark sports as you sleep and Pure Bright SPF 50 to shield skin from the sun's harmful rays, as well as helping regulate melanin production. There is also c-12 Pure Bright Serum, a topical gel that can be applied to affected areas. These three are a powerhouse when it comes to easing the problem.
SkinCeuticals' Advanced Pigment Corrector is another favourite to use if you're suffering from hyperpigmentation. It works to lighten and reduce existing dark spots and protects skin from future discolourations.
Anti-inflammatory foods like fresh fruit and vegetables can be effective for post-acne hyperpigmentation. Tomatoes, carrots, citrus fruits and green tea are excellent diet additions, all bursting with antioxidants which will protect skin against UV damage.