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Treatments for Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots

First, before we talk about treatment, what is hyperpigmentation and what causes it?

Simply put, it’s dark, discolored skin caused by an excess of melanin. Melanin gives our skin and hair color and protects the skin and skin cells from sunlight, as it has the ability to absorb UV radiation.

However, it’s not quite that simple, there are types 4 types of hyperpigmentation and recommendations on how to treat each.

TYPES OF HYPERPIGMENTATION

Melasma -  It’s often referred to as a ‘pregnancy mask’ and is caused by hormonal increases, including pregnancy and oral contraceptives. It typically appears as flat, large brown patches on cheeks, forehead, upper lip and jawline.

Sun Spots - Also, referred to as age spots or liver spots are a result of UV exposure. They appear on face, chest and hands as flat, light to dark brown spots. 

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) - PIH is caused by acne, injury or trauma to the skin and appear as flat, pink, red or brown spots on the skin.

Freckles - This is the most common type of hyperpigmentation and a result of sun exposure. Those with a more fair complexion may be more susceptible to the appearance of freckles.

Pictured products: Citrus Facial Scrub, 15% Vitamin C Anti-aging Serum, Brightening Serum, Broad Spectrum Tinted SPF 30

TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Chemical peels - recommended for melasma, sun spots and PIH
  • IPL treatments - recommended for sun spots & freckles
  • Microdermabrasion – recommended for all
  • Products with natural skin lightening ingredients - recommended for all
    • Kojic Acid
    • Vitamin C
    • Alpaflor Gigawhite
    • Licorice Root Extract
    • Sepiwhite
    • Niacinamide (AKA Vitamin B3)

It's also beneficial to add a scrub to your regimen 2-3 times a week. It will get rid of dry surface skin and debris to brighten your complexion and also improve the absorption of other products.

If you are pregnant or nursing consult your physician before any treatments.

PREVENTION

You should also always wear a broad spectrum SPF to help prevent UV damage, as sun is a dominant contributor to hyperpigmentation and also exacerbates it. Even when you wear sunscreen, if you are spending time in the sun, the UV rays will enhance the appearance of the dark spots. If possible, limit your time in the sun and avoid direct sun on your face.

Hyperpigmentation is a very stubborn condition to treat, it requires a persistent regimen and pateince.  Also be realistic about the results.  With consistent use of SPF and brightening products you will see improvement, but to totally eliminate dark spots is very challenging; especially if you want to avoid toxic ingredients like hydroquinone.  

Wishing you clean and healthy beauty~

Cat & Mary


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