What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation, or skin pigmentation, is when certain areas of your skin are darker than the rest. It’s a fairly common skin concern that affects people of all skin types. It can appear in smaller patches, cover larger areas, or—in rare cases—even the entire body.
Hyperpigmentation happens when your skin produces more melanin than normal. Melanin is the pigment responsible for giving your skin its colour. The excess pigment is deposited deep within the skin, giving it a darker look than the skin around it.
What can cause hyperpigmentation?
These are some of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation:
Sun damage. It’s no secret that UV rays from the sun are harmful to your skin. In fact, they are responsible for up to 80 percent of the signs of premature skin ageing. One of these signs can be hyperpigmentation in form of age spots due to the lifelong exposure to the sun.
Chloasma (Melasma). Patches of dark pigmentation, usually on your face, can indicate hormonal changes. It is mostly, but not exclusively, associated with pregnancy hormones . During pregnancy, chloasma is sometimes called the ‘mask of pregnancy’.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When your skin goes through an inflammatory phase, such as acne or eczema, it may go into overdrive and produce these darker spots after it heals.
Medical conditions. In some cases, hyperpigmentation can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Addison’s disease. If you’re uncertain about what is causing the hyperpigmentation, it’s always best to seek professional help from your doctor or dermatologist.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation
Although not all causes of hyperpigmentation can be prevented, there are some steps you can take to prevent certain instances of hyperpigmentation:
Avoid direct sunlight. Try to stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm. Sit under a sun umbrella or in the shade when you’re outdoors to minimise your sun exposure.
Use a hat. Shade your face and scalp with a wide-brimmed hat.
Apply SPF. Choose sun protection that is at least SPF 15 and use it daily, even in the cooler months, to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Try Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 30 for a 2-in-1 benefit – moisturise your skin with this ultra-lightweight cream and protect it against the sun.
Limit touching your skin. Scratching or picking a mosquito bite or a spot can result in inflammation and lead to darker pigmentation on your face, so it’s best to avoid touching your skin. When you do touch your skin, for example when applying your skin care or makeup, make sure you wash your hands first.
Effective treatment for hyperpigmentation
There are certain ingredients and products that can help fade the look of dark spots, which may also help reduce the appearance of the brownish patches of hyperpigmentation on your face. Here are some of the things you could try:
Niacinamide Also known as vitamin B3 this powerful skincare ingredient has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even skin tone. Choose Olay Luminous Whip SPF 30 with Niacinamide and boost your glow. This product also contains SPF to protect your skin against the sun—one of the possible causes of hyperpigmentation.
Retinol This is one of the most talked-about ingredients of the decade, and retinol can be helpful in reducing the appearance of dark pigmentation spots by speeding up natural skin cell turnover. Go for Olay Retinol24 Night Face Moisturiser, which contains a powerful proprietary formula combining Retinoid Complex and Vitamin B3. Apply it in the evening, and notice the reduced appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots in the morning.
Microdermabrasion kit. These kits offer a safe treatment that can be done in the comfort of your home. However, they can only be effective in the case that hyperpigmentation occurs in the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. A microdermabrasion kit gently removes the top layer of dead skin for a truly radiant result.
CC creams. Worn under make-up or as a lightweight moisturiser, CC creams help even out your skin tone and conceal hyperpigmented areas. Choose Olay Regenerist CC Cream for radiant and fabulous skin, and an even complexion.
Vitamin C. Applying a product containing Vitamin C on your skin can help fade marks of hyperpigmentation for a more even-toned complexion. Olay Total Effects Whip SPF 30 with Vitamin C and E evens your skin tone while enhancing its beautiful brightness.
The key takeaway on hyperpigmentation
Sun damage is the number one cause of patches of hyperpigmentation, and you can do a lot to prevent sun damage by applying SPF and staying out of direct sunlight. To treat darker skin pigmentation, using products that contain ingredients such as retinol or Niacinamide can help.
While you’re here, you may be interested in reading up on other common skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles or discover how to put together a comprehensive anti-ageing skin care routine for smoother, younger-looking skin, no matter your age.