I must say we have all had to deal with skin imperfection at some point in time. Acne, papules, pustules, nodules, hyperpigmentation, melasma and so much more.
We will be focusing on hyperpigmentation in this article.
Now, what is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of a segregated area of the skin, resulting in dark patches or spots.
It is known to occur mostly on the face, hand, bikini area and other parts of the body exposed to sunlight.
As we all know, we all have different skin types; we have the normal, oily, dry and combination skin. The most common of all is the combination skin type we have the forehead, nose, cheek area and chin oily and every other part dry.
Several studies carried out have revealed that hyperpigmentation occurs mostly in dark skin, due to the high sun exposure in their resident area.
The hyperpigmentation that occurs after inflammatory acne is called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). Do you remember those dark spots that you see on your face after a pimple, rash or wound heals? That’s an example of a post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, it is simply hyperpigmentation that surfaces after a swelling disappears from the face.
Causes of Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation develops when an irritation like pimple, rash, wound or scrape makes the skin inflamed.
As the surface of the skin where post inflammatory hyperpigmentation developed heals, the production of melanin increases, resulting in the darkening of the skin surface.
Picking or popping a pimple increases the chance of developing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, simply because it increases the inflammation of the skin.
Also, ultraviolet rays cause certain cells in the skin to create additional melanin pigment; this contributes to creating dark patches when existing inflammation heals.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation
Yes, hyperpigmentation can be embarrassing sometimes.
I am here to guide you with your choice of skincare ingredients for hyperpigmentation.
Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is best for acne-prone skin and those with deeper skin concerns. It unclogs pores and dissolves the mix of sebum and dead skin that leads to acne, as well as stabilize the lining of the pore.
Beta Hydroxy Acids are the perfect solution for blackheads, whiteheads, they have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The most popular beta hydroxy acid ingredient is salicylic acid, it gives deep penetration of the pores.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is derived from natural substances like sugar cane, milk, almond or grapes. It works by breaking down the glue holding the skin cells together, facilitating shedding off of dead skin cells.
The constant shedding off of dead skin cells which occurs as a result of alpha hydroxy acid slowly helps to fade off dark patches on the skin.
The most commonly used alpha hydroxy acid is glycolic acid; compared to other alpha hydroxy acids, it gives deeper penetration into the skin.
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent. It can be quite helpful when treating hyperpigmentation. It works by bleaching the surface of the skin it is applied to, it decreases the number of melanocytes present, hereby lightening the area with dark patches.
However, one still needs to be careful. If used wrongly, more skin concerns can develop. It is best to see a dermatologist before using hydroquinone.
Niacinamide helps in rebuilding healthy skin cells. Compared to hydroquinone, it doesn’t bleach the skin, rather it slowly fades hyperpigmentation caused by age, sun and post inflamed irritation on the skin.
Vitamin C helps in the reduction of hyperpigmentation by blocking the production of melanin. It protects the skin cells from further damage either from the sun or pollutants.
Retinol, similar to alpha hydroxy acids, Retinol works by speeding up the skin cells turn over and bringing healthier skin cells to the skin surface.
Always Wear Sunscreen
Using all the skin active ingredients mentioned above without wearing sunscreen is as good as doing nothing.
As the above-mentioned skin ingredient fades off hyperpigmentation, it also exposes your skin to ultraviolet rays. The skin needs to be protected, always wear a sunscreen, avoid direct and long contact with the sun.
In choosing the skincare ingredient right for your skin type, it might be best to meet with a dermatologist to get adequate guidance and prescription.