What Is Hyperpigmentation & How To Treat It
By: Brittany Priore Illustration: Manjit
Do you ever get a pimple, pray for it to go away, and even after the acne gods have answered your prayers you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of the pimple? You know, the brown, purple, red, pink-ish dark marks that your pimples leave behind? That’s called hyperpigmentation, it occurs when an excess of melanin, the pigment that produces the color of your skin, forms little spots on your skin. But why does this happen to some people and not others? Well, if you’re young and healthy, not pregnant, or experiencing any hormonal changes from pregnancy, birth control or any diagnosed hormonal imbalances, it simply means your body produces more melanin than the average person. It’s fairly common in most people. I’ve actually been suffering from it since I was in high school! I never quite understood why my friends didn’t have the same reaction to pimples like I did. I wouldn’t mind breakouts so much if I didn’t have a ton of inflamed red marks on my face afterward, you know? Even when I’m not broken out, I still look broken out because of all the marks! What’s so bad about one pimple? Not much, but combine that one pimple with a face full of hyperpigmentation, and now you’ve got a problem. But don’t worry, there are various preventatives and methods to help reduce the appearance of your dark marks!
Your skin absorbs 60% of what it touches. So, let’s think about how many times a day you touch your face. Now, let’s think about how many times a day you pick at your blemishes. Do you know how much dirt and bacteria is underneath your nails? I’ll spare you the gruesome details. But, girl, it’s a lot! Stop picking at your face because it’s not only causing you to breakout, it’s also causing you to develop more hyperpigmentation. The more pimples you get, the more marks you will get too. I know it’s hard but try to resist the urge!
Whether you exfoliate with a toner, scrub, or peel it’s one of the most important steps in your beauty routine and should not be skipped- even if you have clear skin. Exfoliating prevents dead skin cells from building up and clogging your pores which not only produces more oil, it causes more breakouts. And again, the more breakouts, the more hyperpigmentation. Exfoliating also stimulates collagen production, which causes new cell turnover. This will leave your skin looking healthy, bright, and smooth.
Vitamin C is a magical antioxidant that reduces skin inflammation, promotes collagen production, and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation. In addition to all that, the new cells help smooth uneven texture. Thus, giving your skin a bright, fresh, and healthy glow. Don’t worry about breaking out. Vitamin C aids in repairing the skin’s barrier. Once it’s healed and working properly, you will notice the oil production on your face has balanced out. This will then result in properly hydrated skin, soothing any itchy, flaky, or dry patches.
Moisturizer and SPF should always go hand in hand. Although, if you could only choose one, it should definitely be SPF. Moisturizer softens and hydrates the skin while SPF protects it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. It also darkens your hyperpigmentation causing it to appear brighter and more irritated.
For persistent hyperpigmentation there are chemical peels, lasers, and microneedling that can help renew healthy skin cells faster and more effectively than at home treatments can. Before deciding on any procedure, check with your dermatologist to see whats best for your skin.