Hyperpigmentation: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

A skin-related diagnosis (self-imposed or otherwise) is never fun – especially if you don’t know what to expect. Thankfully, if your dermatologist has noted signs of hyperpigmentation, there’s really nothing to fear. Overall, hyperpigmentation on the face, or anywhere else, is generally quite harmless. Generally, hyperpigmentation won’t affect your skin, but we’ll be the first to admit it: it can be fairly annoying, especially if the rest of your skin is smooth and even.

You heard it here first: while hyperpigmentation is harmless, you don’t have to live with it. If you’re striving for Poko-perfect skin, we hear your woes, and we want to help. Having experienced hyperpigmentation symptoms ourselves (and really, who hasn’t?), we know that some of the purported remedies can sound a little intimidating. From dermaplaning and lasers, to chemical peels and microneedling, the solutions are seemingly endless. However, they might not be accessible to all of us.

Despite this, there are several steps you can take at home, to prevent hyperpigmentation. It all comes down to your skincare of choice, of course. Plus, at Poko, we want to help you address hyperpigmentation with our range of products. Our skincare selection offers holistic, natural hyperpigmentation treatment options. These products don’t simply help to treat hyperpigmentation; they nourish your skin, leaving it smooth and even. There’s really no better way to address the issue – why not let Poko help?

Our Hyperpigmentation Products..

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If you experience hyperpigmentation, you’ll know that it can happen at any given time. It’s not exclusive to the summer months (although sun exposure can increase the chances of hyperpigmentation). But what is hyperpigmentation, exactly? Well, it’s easy enough to define – hyperpigmentations refers to darker patches or spots on your skin. This happens due to a number of different factors (don’t worry, we’ll get to that!), but ultimately, it results in excess melanin production.

While hyperpigmentation, like acne, can seemingly appear overnight, treatment requires some patience – especially if you’re doing it at home. Generally, however, treatments for hyperpigmentation are generally quite painless. In fact, you probably already have all the ingredients necessary, especially if you have a diverse skincare regimen. Conversely, if you don’t, fear not! We’ve put together a guide to hyperpigmentation, featuring everything you should know about the condition!

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Most dermatologists and skincare experts can agree on one thing – hyperpigmentation occurs due to inflammation. When this happens, our skin signals our melanocytes. These, in turn, produce more melanin, resulting in those pesky dark spots. However, the types of inflammation can differ. This means that the dark patch on your cheek could be a result of anything from acne to a reaction to a skincare product. Generally, though, hyperpigmentation generally originates from one of these issues:

  • Acne spots, or acne breakouts
  • Chemical reactions – an AHA experience gone wrong, for example
  • Hormone fluctuations; hyperpigmentation is fairly common in pregnant individuals
  • UV damage

With our handy list, you’ll be able to identify your hyperpigmentation causes. However, before you can begin to treat the issue, you’ll need to know what sort of hyperpigmentation you have! That’s right – there are three different kinds. Once you know what sort it is, we can go about detailing the different ways to treat it!

Based on this list, you’ll be able to figure out what sort of hyperpigmentation you have. While some types can be treated with over-the-counter skincare options, others might require certain lifestyle changes. For example, you can address sunspots, but if you aren’t meticulous about using sun cream (at least SPF 30!), then they’ll just come back with a vengeance. Therefore, by identifying your hyperpigmentation type, you can take the necessary measures to ensure that your skin is smooth and even – no dark patches to be seen!

Skincare Tips for hyperpigmentation

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Common myths about hyperpigmentation

Myth 1: Lightening products can help with hyperpigmentation

If you’re from an Asian or African family, you’ll know just how much your older family members prize lighter skin. The struggle against colourism is infinitely real. However, in the event of hyperpigmentation, put down the skin-lightening soap (or cream)! Many of these options contain toxic ingredients that could actually further harm your skin. Sure, they might help address hyperpigmentation, but they could also hurt and damage the skin around it. Plus, there are several other treatment options that won’t actually harm your skin!

Myth 2: Physical exfoliation is your friend – especially for stubborn spots

We’ll be the first to break it to you; physical exfoliation can actually harm your skin. Even outside of addressing hyperpigmentation, physical exfoliation can speed up the ageing process. It puts additional stress on your skin, creating micro-tears on your skin’s surface. Plus, if your skin is prone to bouts of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, physical exfoliation could actually worsen the situation.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exfoliate at all. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliant, starting with a gentle option – like our AHA Exfoliating Treatment. This will help remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface, making your skin appear brighter and smoother. It’ll also help the hyperpigmentation appear less prominent. 

Myth 3: Your skin always needs laser treatments for hyperpigmentation

Some people face more severe types of hyperpigmentation, which can require laser treatment. However, it’s important to understand that this isn’t always the case. In fact, most of us can address our hyperpigmentation from the comfort of our own homes. All it takes is a little time, patience, and TLC – and a good skincare regimen, of course. Before rushing out to sign yourself up for that expensive laser treatment package, try to address the condition at home. You’ll often be surprised at the positive results – and at a fraction of the cost!

Myth 4: People with darker skin tones don’t experience hyperpigmentation

Generally, hyperpigmentation is far more prominent on people with lighter skin. Therefore, you might have heard – or assumed – that hyperpigmentation doesn’t affect people with darker skin. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, people with darker skin tones can experience hyperpigmentation far more often, due to higher melanin levels.

In addition to this, people with darker skin might assume that they don’t need SPF due to the melanin in their skin – yet another myth! By removing SPF from your skincare routine, you’re exposing yourself to sun damage, and increasing the chances of hyperpigmentation. Furthermore, finding a dermatologist with experience in treating darker skin tones can be a little challenging, depending on where you live. Therefore, prevention is always better than cure: remember to be meticulous about your SPF usage, and address hyperpigmentation to the best of your abilities at home!

Myth 5: Hyperpigmentation only comes with age

If you think that hyperpigmentation only comes with age, then we’ve got some bad news for you – it doesn’t. You might associate older skin with age spots, and you’d be right to. However, it’s also important to remember that these splotches of darker, textured skin on the neck, chest, and hands are a type of hyperpigmentation (sun spots, to be specific). With that said, they don’t solely occur in older demographics. Hyperpigmentation can occur in any skin type, with any age group – especially if you’re a little lax with the SPF, or if you’re prone to breakouts.

How to get rid of hyperpigmentation?

Now that we’ve established the ins and outs of hyperpigmentation, let’s get down to the crux of the matter: how to get rid of it. At Poko, we swear by two specific ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation, or to prevent it from getting worse.

First, we’d recommend that you limit sun exposure. We understand that this isn’t always possible (especially if you’re partial to an early-morning run, or lunch in the park). In this case, we’d suggest adding UV-protective clothing to your wardrobe. By doing this, you’ll be able to protect your arms and hands from hyperpigmentation. Additionally, we’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: always wear SPF – at least an SPF 30. These steps will help protect your skin from UV damage, and prevent those annoying spots.

Our second tip might sound simple, but can be difficult for some people. It all comes down to this: stop picking at your hyperpigmentation spots! We’ve established that inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation to worsen. Therefore, by picking at your skin, you can cause even more inflammation, which then causes your skin to send yet another dose of melanin to the area. This, in turn, can make dark spots appear darker and more prominent. To avoid this, actively try and keep your hands to yourself, especially whenever you feel the urge to pick. Instead, you could use those itchy fingers to apply another coat of lip balm or hand cream – you’ll never be so moisturised!

There are also a selection of ingredients that you can add to your skincare routine that will help address hyperpigmentation. These include:

  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera contains aloesin, which helps inhibit melanin production. This, in turn, could help prevent hyperpigmentation. It’s found in a selection of our skincare products, including the Brightening Rosewater Toner.
  • Green tea extract: As it tackles inflammation, green tea extract could be crucial in the fight against hyperpigmentation. Research indicates that it could also potentially help address sunburn, which makes it an excellent choice for combating dark spots. Avail of its benefits in our Correcting Eye Cream.
  • Potassium azeloyl diglycinate: Derived from azelaic acid, potassium azeloyl diglycinate offers all its benefits in a water-soluble form. It’s a great way to address hyperpigmentation, as it helps to inhibit tyrosinase production. This enzyme works to produce melanin, and by inhibiting it, you could see a quick, effective turnaround towards brighter skin. It’s found in several Poko options, including our Purifying Gel Cleanser and Azelaic Acid Spot Gel.

Key takeaways

If you’re experiencing hyperpigmentation in a big way, we understand, and we want to help! Thankfully, the condition is fairly harmless, and the list of treatments is practically endless – from hyperpigmentation cream to more intense options, like laser treatments or dermaplaning. However, one thing is for certain: as with most other skin conditions, prevention is far easier than cure.

Therefore, it’s important to treat your skin well, and to protect it when you can, to avoid hyperpigmentation. Simple steps, like minimising sun exposure, and remembering to wear SPF, can all go a long way in the fight against hyperpigmentation. Swapping your physical exfoliant for a chemical one could make a difference here too! Ultimately, however, remember to be patient with your skin, as you start your hyperpigmentation treatment. With a little time, some patience, and the proper products, you’re sure to see a change.

Liked reading this? Read our blogs on various skin conditions such as Acne, Rosacea, Eczema, Psoriasis, Dry Skin & Anti Aging.

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