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Hyperpigmentation removal: What you need to know

Hyperpigmentation removal: What you need to know

Do you suffer from sun spots, discoloration or dark acne scars? You’re not alone. Dark spots and discoloration, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation, are one of the most common skin concerns in the United States, especially if you have a darker skin tone. Keep reading to learn about hyperpigmentation removal now.

Hyperpigmentation: Types and causes

“When addressing hyperpigmentation, it’s really important to understand what it actually is and that it is a journey to properly target and correct it. Your skin gets its color from pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes. Melanocytes produce melanin which gives your skin its unique color. When the melanocytes are damaged, unhealthy, or pushed into overdrive they start to produce excessive melanin in certain areas, causing those areas to darken.” –Amber Murphy, Licensed esthetician, Advanced Skin Care Suite

From tans to acne, your skin keeps a visible record of the trauma it faces, which often shows up in the form of hyperpigmentation. While it might not show up for days or even years afterward, the hyperpigmentation you see now is the result of one of three triggers that causes the excess production of melanin:

1) Hyperpigmentation Trigger: UV Exposure

UV rays (whether via the sun or trips to the tanning bed) results in a tan – which is a response to injury in the skin. High exposure over time will produce unevenly distributed patches of melanin, often called “age spots.”

“When sunlight activates melanin production in exposed skin, the skin ‘tans’. A tan is simply a visible, uniform melanin increase. Melanin is the skin’s natural protective mechanism; a defense against ultraviolet radiation.

Unfortunately, the same sun exposure that darkens the skin simultaneously damages the skin, which ultimately leads to abnormal melanin production. UV radiation has a cumulative effect, and deposits of excess melanin amass over time. Many age spots that seem to appear out of nowhere have actually been decades in the making.” – Laura Kania, Licensed Esthetician, Snips SpaSalon

2) Hyperpigmentation Trigger: Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal birth control, hormone replacement therapy, and pregnancy can cause a surge of hormones that cause uneven melanin production, leading to what’s called melasma – or “the mask of pregnancy.” Exposure to UV radiation can make it more pronounced.

“Pregnancy is the main culprit, but birth control pills have been known to cause it as well. Melasma can be identified by its presence on both sides of the face in a symmetrical pattern. That being said, always see your doctor about any major skin changes.” – Laura Kania

3) Hyperpigmentation Trigger: Injury

Often called Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (or PIH), waxing, acne, insect bites, and razor bumps can cause excess pigmentation at the site of irritation. UV exposure can make it appear even darker. PIH occurs in roughly 65% of African Americans (1).

“Inflammation can cause PIH. A common instance of PIH is the discolored spot that remains after a pimple, insect bite, or other skin injury has otherwise mended. Even after the inflammation that initially triggered the excess melanin production is long gone, the hyperpigmentation persists, fading very slowly.

Furthermore, some oral antibiotics prescribed for acne actually render the skin more susceptible to hyperpigmentation, due to an increased risk of excess UV exposure. So those with acne need to be especially careful of PIH” –Kania

Your hyperpigmentation removal plan

“What my clients use on their skin at home daily is so important if they want to target these pigment-producing cells to transform their skins discoloration.” – Amber Murphy

1) Exfoliate

Exfoliation is necessary for all skin types for a variety of skin concerns including hyperpigmentation. It is a key step in your