Hyperpigmentation can feel like one of the most troublesome skin issues ever. Unlike acne, there aren’t many facial cleansers or clay masks focused solely on fading those dark spots. As a result, trying to get rid of those spots is often frustrating and disheartening. We totally feel your pain.
However, we don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Although treating hyperpigmentation tends to entail a long and arduous journey, it’ll be completely rewarding in the end. When you finally have the skin you’ve always wanted, you’ll be glad you never gave up.
In our eyes, the first step to treating any skin issue (or any issues in general, for that matter) is to learn as much as possible about the problem before you head out for an intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment or a glycolic acid peel (you might not even end up wanting these!). So, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to absolutely everything you should know about hyperpigmentation. Let the journey begin!
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
In order to give your skin the very best treatment possible, it’s important to fully understand the issue of hyperpigmentation. This will help you identify, prevent, and manage it effectively.
So, here’s the basic rundown. Hyperpigmentation occurs as the result of melanin overproduction. For one reason or another (we’ll talk more about those later), your body begins producing excess melanin in certain areas. This results in dark spots or patches on the skin.
Keep in mind that hyperpigmentation goes by many names:
Each of these labels refers to the same common issue: they’re each a type of hyperpigmentation.
Indeed, hyperpigmentation is highly prevalent. It affects women and men of all ages and skin tones. Most of the time, it’s completely harmless (if you don’t count the skincare frustration it tends to cause).
We should note that, in certain cases, the overproduction of melanin signifies a more serious medical condition. If you are at all concerned about the health and safety of your skin situation, be sure to see a physician right away for a diagnosis.
Fortunately, because so many people deal with hyperpigmentation, there are countless treatment options available. Although it may be tedious and time-consuming to determine the routine that works perfectly for you, it’s entirely possible with the right knowledge and resources at your disposal.
Speaking of skin knowledge, let’s delve into the next subject you’ll need to brush up on—the most prevalent causes of hyperpigmentation.
Fast Facts About Hyperpigmentation
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation can affect up to 65% of darker-skinned individuals.
Around 48% of people with hyperpigmentation report a family history of it.
15-50% of pregnant individuals exhibit some form of hyperpigmentation.
Common Causes of Hyperpigmentation
Getting rid of hyperpigmentation is only doable if you’re aware of the commonplace activities and habits that contribute to hyperpigmentation. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at those common causes:
Any skincare lover reading this knows just how harmful the sun really is for our skin. Unfortunately for the outdoorsy folks, too much time in the sun can lead to a whole array of skin issues (not to mention serious diseases like skin cancer).
Here’s why soaking up the sun is not the best idea for anyone who struggles with hyperpigmentation. Basically, melanin acts as the skin’s natural sunscreen (although, of course, you should still be wearing your regular SPF). However, when your skin gets a little too much exposure to the sun, those powerful UV rays will disrupt the melanin-production process. Ultimately, this results in hyperpigmentation (or sun spots, more fittingly).
Beyond that, there’s another reason that sun damage is the first bullet on this list—sun exposure may actually worsen the appearance of pre-existing spots. So, all in all, the sun is very bad news for anyone in the hyperpigmentation club.
We all know that acne is bad enough on its own. When you add hyperpigmentation to the mix, it takes the issue to a whole new level.
Sometimes, even after an acne breakout clears up, it leaves behind a long-lasting dark spot (or many). This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while the troublemaking acne itself is called hyperpigmentation acne.
Why does acne lead to skin discoloration, you ask? The body produces melanin as a response to inflammation. So, when you experience inflammatory acne, it’s highly likely that your body will try to protect you with a boost of melanin.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation comes in many shades, ranging from white, pink, and red to purple, brown, and black. It all depends on your skin tone and the severity and depth of the hyperpigmentation.
This issue is very common—in fact, most people who have acne (even mild forms) will deal with it at some point in their lives. However, picking at or popping your acne will increase the likelihood that your skin will soon face postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is because picking and popping tend to increase inflammation.
Hormones and Aging
Finally, there are a few less-controllable factors that contribute to hyperpigmentation. Namely, things like genetics, hormones, and general aging tend to bring about this skin issue.
A Family History: Some people are more prone to hyperpigmentation simply due to their family history with the issue.
Pregnancy: Many women experience hyperpigmentation during or after pregnancy, when hormonal changes get them all out of whack. This can result in a kind of melasma that is so common, it’s literally referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.”
Hormonal Changes Due to Aging: As we grow older, our hormones begin to change. For many people, this means more and more hyperpigmentation.
Clearly, these causes are a bit more difficult to avoid than the first two. We don’t have much control over our hormones, genetics, or our aging timeline (we wish). However, that doesn’t mean that hyperpigmentation is impossible to treat in these cases. In fact, no matter what is at the root of your hyperpigmentation, it’s very likely that there is a suitable solution out there. That’s what we’ll be getting into next.
The Best Natural Remedies for Hyperpigmentation
Now, it’s time to get into the good stuff—the best treatments for hyperpigmentation. Some people swear by chemical peels to reach the deep layers of their skin, and laser treatments from the dermatologist, but we’re not so sure. You shouldn’t need a prescription to have great skin, and not everyone wants to dive into the wide world of retinoids, kojic acid, and corticosteroids like hydroquinone. It’s kind of a lot.
Here at Gleamin, we’re all about keeping things all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that we’re huge proponents of the natural method—Mother Nature’s medicine, if you will.
In the following sections, you’ll find all the best natural hyperpigmentation remedies. Many of these ingredients are common and, therefore, completely affordable. We can promise you that one of these solutions will help you achieve the skin you’ve always wanted.
So, let’s explore the most effective hyperpigmentation treatments out there:
If you’ve ever come home from a long day at the beach to discover a painful sunburn, you’re probably familiar with aloe vera. This gel, which comes from the aloe vera plant, has been a go-to sunburn soother for as long as we can remember. That is why you may be surprised to discover that it offers tons of additional skincare benefits.
Today, of course, we’ll be discussing the aloe vera in the role of hyperpigmentation brightener. Aloe vera contains a few powerful ingredients that make it the perfect remedy for this skin issue.
This substance contains a compound called acemannan that may help fade the appearance of dark spots. Likewise, it’s known for another key chemical called aloin—a substance that brightens the skin and—you guessed it—reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation. With these two potent compounds at its disposal, aloe vera should have your skin looking flawless in no time.
Using Aloe Vera for Hyperpigmentation:
If you decide to turn to aloe vera for hyperpigmentation, we’ve got good news for you—it’s super easy, quick, and inexpensive to use. All you’ll need is a bottle of aloe vera gel (or an aloe vera plant whose leaves you’re willing to cut open).
Next, let’s discuss one ingredient that’s widely considered to be a skincare staple—vitamin C. This vitamin has wide-reaching health benefits not only for our skin, but for our general health as a whole. Among those benefits is the ability to fade dark spots.
How does it work, exactly? Long story short, vitamin C helps to prevent the appearance of dark spots in the first place. Plus, on top of that, it can help stop pre-existing hyperpigmentation from getting worse.
In addition, vitamin C is full of antioxidants. As such, it supports skin’s natural turnover process and helps maintain healthy growth of new skin cells when taken in a supplement. Topically, vitamin C is excellent for reducing the appearance of scars, soothing the effects of sun damage, and fading the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Next up, we’ve got another all-natural, potent ingredient—turmeric. If you’ve never heard of turmeric before, here’s the quick summary: it’s a brightly colored, orange-ish ingredient that typically comes in the form of a powdered spice (though it’s also available as an oil or in raw root form). It’s used in many industries, from cooking to fabric-dyeing to ancient medicine.
In this article, we’ll be focusing solely on skincare. Turmeric has become hugely popular in recent years, and that’s not without good reason. With soothing, antioxidant, and cleansing properties, it has countless amazing benefits to offer.
These properties give turmeric the unique ability to treat hyperpigmentation. Like vitamin C, it blocks melanin production to help prevent the formation of dark spots. Moreover, as an antioxidant, it’s ideal for fading those spots and keeping your skin bright and youthful.
If you’re hoping to give your skin the gift of turmeric, there are plenty of at-home face mask recipes out there. Making your own turmeric mask is crazy simple, and your skin will love you for it.
Finally, let’s discuss a tried-and-true skincare ingredient: clay. Clay masks are probably the most popular form of face mask on the market, but have you ever wondered why?
Well, you’re about to find out. Basically, clay can do it all—from exfoliation to moisturization and more. In this way, clay keeps your skin feeling fresh and pure.
There are numerous types of clay available, and each of them brings its own unique benefits to the table. For example, kaolin clay (or white clay) is ideal for sensitive skin because it exfoliates without dryness or skin irritation.
However, when it comes to all forms of hyperpigmentation, yellow clay is likely your best bet. It’s more absorbent than white clay, and it should help the appearance of fade dark spots like a pro.
If you’re looking for a clay mask that will really take your skin to the next level, we have to recommend our Vitamin C Clay Mask. In fact, it uses all of the ingredients we’ve just mentioned—aloe vera, turmeric, vitamin C, and clay—to create the perfect remedy for hyperpigmentation. Plus, it also contains several other superfoods, like Kakadu plum and desert lime.
All in all, our all-natural mask is the ultimate remedy for hyperpigmentation, and it’s effective on both lighter and darker skin tones.
Other Factors to Consider in Hyperpigmentation Treatment
Hyperpigmentation is a complex issue, which means there are plenty of additional things to consider before you fully dive into your treatment journey. So, before we go, check out this list of the most important facts to remember about this condition:
There you have it—you should be all set to start treating your skin right.
Kick Hyperpigmentation to the Curb
At this point, you should be an expert on all things pigmentation. Clearly, it’s a complicated issue with a wide range of causes and triggers. On the flip side, there are plenty of effective ways to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation. So, no matter what you do, just don’t give up—you’ll get the skin of your dreams someday!