Hyperpigmentation: How to Prevent and Treat It
Dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation can seem difficult to fade. But fear not, adding targeted ingredients to your beauty routine can drastically help reduce the appearance of your dark spots. Let's take a closer look at how to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation using cosmetics.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation corresponds to an overproduction of melanin - the pigment that gives color to your skin - as well as an uneven distribution of this excess pigment. This is what leads to the appearance of dark spots on the skin.
Hyperpigmentation in All Its Forms - and Their Causes
The development of hyperpigmentation is influenced by several factors, including sun exposure, age, gender, genetics, and hormonal changes (1). These different parameters give rise to various types of hyperpigmentation, including the following:
Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays naturally stimulates the production of melanin in the skin. However, UV rays can also cause the development of sunspots, or solar lentigo, which have the appearance of brown spots.
In addition to being able to cause the appearance of brown spots, UV rays can also cause the darkening of existing hyperpigmentation. That's why it's essential to protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen, whether to prevent hyperpigmentation or to prevent it from getting worse.
Melasma, also called pregnancy mask, is mostly triggered by hormonal changes. For example, taking oral contraceptives or pregnancy can lead to the development of melasma. The hormonal nature of melasma makes it difficult to prevent, but it can be treated with targeted ingredients.
3. Post-Inflammatory Inflammation
When an inflammation or injury occurs to the skin, such as a burn, acne or a cut, excess production of melanin can be triggered. This phenomenon of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation then leads to the appearance of a dark mark that remains even after the skin has healed.
To prevent this form of hyperpigmentation, it is smart to add healing and anti-inflammatory ingredients to your routine.
4. Age Spots
In addition to causing the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin, the natural process of skin aging can also lead to the development of hyperpigmentation. Although skin aging is inevitable, it is possible to delay it with certain cosmetics.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation?
Using targeted ingredients can definitely help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Let's look at the main categories of ingredients known to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation.
One of the star ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation is vitamin C. Why? Because it allows both to treat and prevent it effectively! Indeed, it is effective in reducing the appearance of brown spots since it regulates the production of melanin.
On the other hand, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, making it the perfect shield to prevent the appearance of dark spots. This ingredient is found in a variety of cosmetics thanks to its recognized effectiveness, ranging from moisturizing creams to vitamin C oils.
In addition to pure vitamin C, some natural extracts are full of vitamin C. This is the case of the ingredient Ox which can be added to the customized day cream or even the customized serum from Omy. This extract comes from the Kakadu plum, the richest source of vitamin C in the world! Another extract rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants is green tea extract. You'll find this extract in Omy's customized day cream, customized serum and antioxydant blue light mist.
Among the list of key ingredients to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation is also niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3. Niacinamide has been clinically proven to effectively decrease hyperpigmentation at a concentration of 5% (2).
This ingredient also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties, making it the perfect ally to prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (3).
Niacinamide is suitable even for sensitive skin since it does not sensitize the skin to solar radiation. Interestingly, Omy's customizable serum contains 5% niacinamide in its base formula!
Regular exfoliation of the skin helps stimulate its renewal process. Thus, exfoliation indirectly helps reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by gradually removing browned skin cells. By removing the layer of dead skin cells on your skin, exfoliation also improves the penetration of your cosmetics, thus maximizing their effectiveness.
Opt for an exfoliation two to three times a week, for example with a tri-exfoliating mask. A triple exfoliation is ideal for effectively exfoliating your skin.
The UV rays of the Sun are the sworn enemies of hyperpigmentation. In addition to being able to cause the development of dark spots, they can also darken an already existing hyperpigmentation. It is therefore essential to protect your skin with sunscreen, whether to prevent hyperpigmentation or to avoid its aggravation.
It is recommended to opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays since these two types of rays contribute to the development of hyperpigmentation. For example, a broad-spectrum SPF 50 mineral sunscreen will give you maximum protection against UV rays.
Other Popular Ingredients
Several other ingredients exist to treat hyperpigmentation, such as retinol, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and more. Although these ingredients are effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots, the majority of them are also photosensitizing, that is, they sensitize the skin to solar radiation. In this sense, these products are less suitable for sensitive skin.
Luckily, there are a host of other hyperpigmentation-targeting ingredients that aren't photosensitizing. This is the case of the ingredient Ta which can be added to the customized day cream or even the customized serum from Omy. This dragon fruit extract brings radiance to the skin and dramatically reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Prevention Is Better than Cure
Although there are several treatments that can reduce the appearance of dark spots, it is to your advantage to prevent their appearance. And even if you already have hyperpigmentation, it is also smart to prevent the appearance of additional dark spots.
In this sense, sunscreen, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients like niacinamide are your best allies in preventing the development or progression of hyperpigmentation!
(1) Vashi NA, Kundu RV. Facial hyperpigmentation: causes and treatment. British Journal of Dermatology. 2013;169(s3):41-56.
(2) Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, Chhoa M, Matsubara A, Miyamoto K, et al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. British Journal of Dermatology. 2002;147(1):20-31.
(3) Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2004;3(2):88-93.