Hyperpigmentation is a relatively common and harmless skin concern but most people understand that having an even, unblemished skin tone is critical for youthful, healthy-looking skin.
So it’s not surprising to learn that a very common question is "How do I get rid of hyperpigmentation?"
Prevention is key to avoiding hyperpigmentation and eventually, the need for hyperpigmentation treatment. Below we will explore what hyperpigmentation is, the best strategy to avoid it - also, how to treat hyperpigmentation to ultimately reveal clear, supple and healthy skin.
What is hyperpigmentation and what causes it?
'Hyperpigmentation' is often confused with ‘pigmentation’ but the two are different. Pigmentation is the all over colour of skin. Hyperpigmentation is the body's over-production of the pigment melanin that shows on skin as brown patches.
There are different types of hyperpigmentation.
1. Melasma is the patches of brown discolouration that appear on areas of the face after sun exposure. Melasma can affect anyone but because pregnant women or women taking birth control pills or estrogen supplements are especially prone to it, Melasma is commonly known as 'pregnancy mask'. The condition is also common in dark skin.
2. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation happens when damage to skin through acne, eczema or psoriasis causes increased pigment production resulting in dark spots on the face. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs in all skin types, particularly darker skin tones.
3. Sun Damage from overexposure to the sun causes hyperpigmentation and is why so many light-skinned people develop dark spots. Sun damage also makes Melasma worse.
4. Oxidation Damage causes the skin to try to protect itself by overproducing melanin - resulting in hyperpigmentation brown patches.
Causes of oxidation damage in the skin:
- using retinol and other harsh, synthetic acid skin care ingredients
- overexposure to sun
- unbuffered sunscreen chemicals
- fluctuating hormones
- perfume bases (aldehydes)
- many of the supposedly harmless ingredients used in popular skin care products, including propylene glycol, dimethicone, PABA, triethanolamine (TEA).
Some treatments and products that claim to reduce hyperpigmentation can actually create or exacerbate it.
Many sunscreens can cause hyperpigmentation
Surprisingly, some of the most common triggers for hyperpigmentation are the sunscreening chemicals used in sunscreen formulas that don't have appropriate herbal 'buffers' to protect skin from damage. This is where Great Outdoors Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF15 is different. It is formulated by our herbalist founder David who treated skin cancer and sun damage at Royal Brisbane Hospital for seven years in the 1980s and has since been successfully treating sun damage and hyperpigmentation using high activity, fresh plant extracts.
Great Outdoors Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF15 is the only nutritive sunscreen on the market. It contains 17 medicinal grade plant extracts that 'buffer' skin from any negative effects of the combination of sun exposure and sunscreen chemicals on the skin - such as hyperpigmentation.
Note: all sunscreens use chemicals as the active ingredient. Zinc Oxide is a chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30.
Do cosmetic procedures help or harm hyperpigmentation?
Laser treatment can be very helpful in removing stubborn hyperpigmentation. Simplicité products are then incredibly helpful in healing and soothing post-laser treatment and importantly, in then keeping skin clear. Antioxidant Plant Serum is the best healing serum, using with the Basic Six products. Hyperpigmentation Serums A&B, used twice yearly, will keep any latent hyperpigmentation subdued.
Ongoing hyperpigmentation treatment is essential, otherwise existing patches will continue to enlarge if left untreated.
How to combat stubborn hyperpigmentation
For best results, follow the suggested daily routine below in order to significantly reduce persistent hyperpigmentation and also to lighten the background pigment of the skin tone. Remember, prevention is the best way to ensure hyperpigmentation doesn’t happen in the first place, so ensuring adequate physical sun protection is vital with the use of clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Simplicite routine to get rid of hyperpigmentation (download pdf here):
- Cleanse morning and night with Plant Gel Cleanser for your skin type.
- Exfoliate in the evening with either One Step Exfoliating Cleanser, or Exfoliating Face Treatment. Use Rosehip & Lavender Complexion Refiner at least twice weekly.
- Apply Sage Face Oil morning and night. Use much less oil in the morning during hot and humid weather but it's still important to use it both a.m. and p.m. for good results.
- Apply Alba White Day Creme in the morning. After warming creme between fingers, smooth over skin. This creme contains SPF 10 and is designed specifically to combat hyperpigmentation using concentrated, medicinal grade plant extracts including Green Tea and Bearberry. The creme protects skin during the day from incidental sun exposure as well as UV from fluorescent lighting.
- Apply Lemon Night Creme in the evening. As well as being a nutritive and nourishing night creme, ingredients such as Lemon and Carrot extract help to reduce hyperpigmentation. In extreme cases, also apply HyperPigmentation Serum parts A and B in conjunction with each other. Apply twice daily a few minutes before applying the day and night cremes.
- Apply the non-greasy and effective Great Outdoors Sunscreen with Moisturiser if you are spending time outdoors.
- Attempt to minimise sun exposure overall, but make sure your vitamin D level is adequate. Taking a simple blood test will give this information. It is essential to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet; oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or tuna, cheese and egg yolks; vitamin-D fortified foods can be ideal for vegans.
- View our range of products designed to combat hyperpigmentation.
If you are suffering from a different type of hyperpigmentation - post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or acne hyperpigmentation, read Brooke’s story of clearing her acne and residual acne scars. Also, view our range of products created specifically for clearing this type of hyperpigmentation, referred to as acne scarring.