Hyperpigmentation is a prevalent skin disorder that affects individuals of all ages, sexes, and skin types. It is caused by an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. In this complete guide, we will look at the numerous causes of hyperpigmentation, as well as efficient strategies to avoid and treat it, as well as advice for maintaining healthy and glowing skin.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
- Hyperpigmentation is caused by overproduction of melanin, resulting in patches of skin that are darker than your natural skin tone.
- Inflammation from skin trauma such as acne, eczema, bug bites, cuts, and scrapes can trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunspots or age spots by triggering excess melanin production.
- Melasma is a skin condition characterized by brown patches that commonly occur in women with fluctuating hormone levels due to pregnancy, menopause, or hormonal medications.
- Certain medical conditions like Addison’s disease, as well as medications such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and antimalarials, can cause hyperpigmentation.
- Moisturize regularly: Keeping the skin moisturized is essential to prevent hyperpigmentation. A good over-the-counter (OTC) moisturizer that contains ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and retinol can help to boost cell turnover and promote the growth of healthy skin cells.
- Avoid picking or scratching skin injuries: Scratching or picking at a spot can cause inflammation and trigger the production of excess melanin, leading to dark spots.
- Use OTC whitening options: OTC treatments that contain ingredients like azelaic and glycolic acids, vitamin C, and retinoids can help to reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the formation of skin-darkening melanin.
- Protect skin from the sun: Sun exposure is a major cause of hyperpigmentation, so it’s important to protect your skin by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, avoiding peak hours of sunlight, and wearing protective clothing like hats and long sleeves.
- Use gentle skincare products: Avoid using harsh products that can cause irritation, as this can trigger hyperpigmentation. Choose gentle cleansers and moisturizers that are suitable for your skin type.
Evolution of whitening products
In Asia, most of the women are looking to have a fairer and clearer complexion of skin, regardless of their origin skin tone. Based on the chart below, it shows the rapid growth of brightening/ whitening/ lightening (BWL) products since the year 2004.
There are two types of BWL ingredients that currently on the market which helped with the hyperpigmentation issue. however, the quality of the ingredients may vary. For example, a high dosage of hydroquinone and bleaching agents that falls under the cheap, low end and toxic category, still can be sold legally in the market. Another category is the high-end products that can modify skin color and help to achieve younger looks.
According to Medical News Today, there are 6 effective topical treatment ingredients to treat hyperpigmentation at home. There are different methods to treat different levels of hyperpigmentation problems whether it occurs in the superficial layer or the deeper layer of the epidermis and dermis. Topical treatments are usually applied for hyperpigmentation that occurs in the epidermis layer while laser treatment is more suitable for the hyperpigmentation that occurs in the dermal layer.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with Azelaic Acid
According to Downie from NBCnews, Azelaic acid is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which can prevent hyperpigmentation as it associates with melanin production. Tyrosinase is the main enzyme involved in pigmentation cascade. Azelaic acid works as an anti-inflammatory for acne skin and at the same time with anti-pigment function because it stops the releasing of tyrosinase. For instance, azelaic acid is the best option if you are acne-prone skin and having issues with dark spots in the areas.
Among the other exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), azelaic acid is categorized as a more gentle type of exfoliant said by Paul Jarrod Frank (MD), the cosmetic dermatologist and founder of the PFRANKMD. Therefore, azelaic acid is more prone to sensitive skin or delicate skin that requires extra care.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the popular depigmentation agents, however, it has to interact with other agents like copper ions to inhibits the release of the tyrosinase, then to reduce the formation of melanin. As the nature of Vitamin C is highly unstable, it can easily lose its benefits due to heat and oxidation. To overcome this issue, the chemists from Hayashibara has developed Hayashibara’s novel enzyme technology for a unique stabilized vitamin C – L-Ascorbic Acid 2-Glucoside (AA2G).
According to Metrodermatology, hyperpigmentation on the skin can be gradually fade away by applying a large amount of Vitamin C. Prima Oligo – Vita-C Serum is a potent anti-oxidant to increase collagen production. To correct and prevent skin damage from ultraviolet radiation. To achieve high tissue concentration of vitamin C through direct application hence absorption is rapid and effective in skin lightening and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids or generally known as steroids are one of the popular anti-inflammatory drugs that are widely used in treating hyperpigmentation. According to webmd, cortisol is the main stress hormone produced by adrenal glands that works on “fight-or-flight” actions, lower down the inflammation levels of the body, and control the circadian rhythm. When the body cannot produce cortisol normally due to Addison’s disease, which is one of the causes of hyperpigmentation, Corticosteroids are the man-made drugs that closely resemble cortisol, and are the best alternative to target the issue.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is an active ingredient for skin-bleaching or lightening the pigmentation areas of the skin caused by age spots, freckles, and melasma. A suggestion by Medical Journals, Hydroquinone, also known as a tyrosinase inhibitor, with a 4% topical cream is good to use for up to 6 months daily for hyperpigmentation treatments. However, hydroquinone is still the most effective ingredient to treat hyperpigmentation on the epidermis layer, according to Wiley Online Library. By using hydroquinone to treat hyperpigmentation, it acts by blocking the melanin production from the skin that forms the dark patches on the skin or discoloration.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with ferulic Acid
Ferulic acid or also known as hydroxycinnamic acid can be found mostly in plants and multi-grains like wheat, rye, oats, and barley which is a powerful anti-oxidant that offsets free-radicals damages. Generally, sunlight UVA and UVB, infrared radiation, and environmental pollutions are the major causes that accelerate skin aging. Ferulic acid is broadly used in sunscreen formulation as a photoprotective agent to slow down the skin photoaging process and reduce pigmentation at the same time. It is commonly used at a concentration of 12% with the combination of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for best results.
Apart from the ingredients, the packaging for ferulic acid should come into consideration as well. For optimal effectiveness, an opaque and dark color bottle can protect ferulic from light and the storage in a cool and dry area instead of a hot and steamy bathroom. According to Levin, MD, founder of Entière Dermatology in NYC if the ferulic acid has turned its color from golden orange to muddy brown which indicates that the acid has been oxidized and no longer as effective.
Treat Hyperpigmentation with Niacinamide
Niacinamide or nicotinamide, or also known as vitamin B3 (niacin) is a water-soluble vitamin commonly combined with the natural substances in the skin to help reducing pigmentation issues, fix uneven skin tones, manage rosacea, minimize enlarged pores, and soften fine lines. As said by Jennifer Herrmann, MD, the board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, our bodies do not produce nicotinamide naturally and it is not able to synthesize in our body as well. Niacinamide can work only by topical application on the skin or be ingested from supplements and have to keep maintaining for the long term to reap its brightening benefits.
Using a topical niacinamide product twice daily may bring the best result in skin brightening and reducing skin hyperpigmentation. A basic niacinamide booster contains 10% concentrations, can use like the serum or in combination with the moisturizer for daily use. However, for serious cases, the concentrations of niacinamide can be increased up to 20%.
Prima Oligo Brighten Up Collagen & Mask set – helps brighten up the dull skin and brings a fair complexion to your skin. It is suggested to use it 3 times a week for the skin to stay hydrated, leaving it refreshed and revitalized. Using it for the long term to improve the skin’s texture and lightened the pigmentation areas.
Hyperpigmentation is a frequent skin problem that is curable. You can preserve healthy, bright skin by recognizing its causes and implementing preventative actions. If hyperpigmentation bothers you, the treatment methods listed above are available to you. The benefits of topical substances for hyperpigmentation therapy include whitening the skin, eliminating dark spots, and improving uneven skin tone. While selecting topical chemicals, it is essential to consider criteria such as skin type and hyperpigmentation etiology. Utilizing safe ingredients for skin whitening and avoiding harsh products can help prevent future damage. By incorporating topical substances into your skincare routine, you can lessen the appearance of hyperpigmentation and improve your skin’s general health. With the appropriate combination of topical chemicals and constant usage, you can develop a complexion that appears more even, radiant, and healthy.