Understanding Hyperpigmentation: Causes, Treatments & Prevention

Summer is here, and that means so is a common skin condition called Hyperpigmentation. For some, no matter what you do or don't do to your skin, it can feel like dark spots on your face are an inevitable part of enjoying time outside. So, if that summer sun has your skin seeing those frustrating brown spots, we’re here to say there are options that will clearly help. 


Understanding Causes

Hyperpigmentation is caused by excessive melanin production (your skin's natural pigment). It can be triggered by inflammation caused by acne, eczema, aggressive skin-care products, genetics, sunlight, and certain medications. Although prescription medications are often used to treat hyperpigmentation, wearing sunscreen all the time—yes, even when you're staying indoors—can help prevent and reduce further discoloration of the skin. 


Treatment Do’s and Don’ts

From never forgetting your sun protection to professional treatments, here are several options you need in your summer skincare toolbox that can help get your skin back on track.

  • Don’t forget sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen daily (at least SPF 30) is an absolute must if you hope to prevent brown spots. And make sure you don’t skimp on the application. You’ll need at least a nickel-sized amount to cover your face alone and then reapply every two hours. If you really want to reap the benefits, combine regular sunscreen use with other sun protection strategies, such as seeking shade when you can and wearing sun-protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses.
  • Do add a Vitamin C Serum to your routine. Vitamin C is known to reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone. Look for a product that brightens, fights aging, and protects by using a potent complex of antioxidant vitamin C, lactic, and malic acids. These acids work at the molecular level to give skin a firmer, brighter look. 
  • Do repair the skin with an Alpha Hydroxy Acid/exfoliating Acid, such as Glycolic Acid. Glycolic peels can improve skin tone and evenness and potentially suppress the production of melanin, which may help reduce dark spots. They are best when used 1-3 times a week on the face and neck, followed by a hydrating serum and a good moisturizer.
  • Don’t forget to enlist the help of your skincare professional. They can work with you on professional treatments like chemical peels, laser therapy, and microdermabrasion, which can also be effective. They will also understand your skin and its triggers and work with you on a consistent at-home skincare routine as well as offer targeted professional treatment options.


Prevention Strategies

Prevention is possible as well. In addition to sunscreen, incorporating antioxidants like Vitamin E and Niacinamide into your routine can provide additional protection against UV rays and environmental stressors that can contribute to hyperpigmentation. These ingredients help stabilize your skin's barrier function and reduce inflammation, which can prevent the darkening of existing spots. Remember, consistency is key when treating hyperpigmentation or trying to prevent it—stick to your skincare routine, protect your skin from the sun, and be patient with the process. Your skin will thank you for it.