Can You Get Rid Of Sun Damage for Good? We Answer All Your Hyperpigmentation Questions

Pigmentation. Sun spots. Hyperpigmentation. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Freckles. Age spots. Melasma. Uneven skin tone.

If you've heard these terms before but don't really know what they mean, this article is for you.

Pigmentation is one of the most commonly Googled skin concerns, but what actually is it and what are the best hyperpigmentation treatments?

You can find out by listening to the Week 11 episode of Skincare School the podcast below (or keep scrolling for the quick version).

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Pigmentation refers to colouring of the skin and is generally caused by an excessive production of melanin (melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin its colour).

Hyperpigmentation is a condition where areas of the skin become darker in colour compared to the skin that surrounds it, making the overall appearance of the skin look uneven and sun damaged.

Things like sun exposure, skin injuries and inflammation can trigger melanin production resulting in hyperpigmentation. It very commonly appears on the face, neck and décolletage and unfortunately, is a really frustrating skin condition to treat.

In fact, I’d say fighting pigmentation could be a lifelong battle. (Trust me, I’m there …and continue to live through the battle now). It’s also a condition that often appears out of nowhere, as we age.

This is because our melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment) increase in size as we age. So while we’re young we may have a cute spray of freckles across our cheeks, as the year’s progress, in some skin types they can become denser, causing uneven skin tone and random areas of darkness. Fun times.

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Types Of Pigmentation.

  • Age spots are darkened patches that appear on the skin’s surface as a result of sun exposure. Colour can vary from light brown to dark brown.

  • Melasma is a complex type of pigmentation that may occur because of many contributing factors including hormones, medication and sun exposure. Melasma is often symmetrical on the face and commonly occurs on the top lip or during pregnancy, presenting as a mask across the nose and cheeks.

  • Sun damage can cause a mottled, uneven skin tone leading to a dull complexion. All pigmentation will appear darker with sun exposure.

  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) can occur in all skins but is most common in darker skin types, and those with acne-prone skin. It may appear at any site where there has been inflammation or skin trauma. Colours may vary from a light brown to a dark brown / grey. People commonly experience PIH as a spot where a blemish was previously.

You can learn more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in our YouTube video below.

Hyperpigmentation Treatments.

  • You can't ever really get rid of hyperpigmentation for good because it can pop back up whenever you're exposed to environmental or hormonal triggers.

  • Prevention is always better than a cure or treatment.

  • Your best defence against sun damage is wearing sunscreen.

  • Some skincare ingredients can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation:

    • Vitamin C and antioxidants.

    • Vitamin A and topical retinoids.

    • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs like glycolic acids).

  • Professional in-clinic skin treatments like Fraxel laser.

  • Pigment inhibiting serums for hyperpigmentation.

Best Products For Hyperpigmentation.

Cosmeceutical grade pigmentation fighting serums tend to use tyrosinase inhibiting ingredients that help prevent/stop/minimise the production of melanin spreading in your skin.

Another bonus: most pigmentation serums can easily be worked into your routine and when coupled with a good broad-spectrum SPF will provide your skin the full environmental protection it needs.

Additionally, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and in-clinic treatments feel like a total no-go zone then, using a good pigmentation serum at home can be a super effective way to help tackle pigmentation and = healthy/glowy looking skin while you wait. Always consult your GP or medical professional before introducing a new product into your skincare routine.

You can learn more about managing sun damage and hyperpigmentation in our YouTube video below.

1. Aspect Pigment Punch+

What: Aspect Pigment Punch+ 30ml

Why it's great:

This serum is perfect for treating age spots, melasma, sun damage and PIH. Suited to all skin types (yes, even pregnant/breastfeeding) it helps to even out and brighten your skin tone and is best layered under an SPF in the morning. Anyway, Aspect’s best-selling Pigment Punch serum was originally launched in 2007 and has recently been reformulated into this more advanced version that promises to pack a bigger punch. Add. To. Cart.

2. SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector.

What: SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector

Why it's great:

This is a serum that can safely be used twice a day. In fact, to really reap the benefits in the morning I’d apply after your vitamin C and before your SPF. Important to note that it does also contain 0.3% salicylic acid which some people might want to avoid during pregnancy.

3. Cosmedix Simply Brilliant 24/7 Brightening Serum.

What: Cosmedix Simply Brilliant 24/7 Brightening Serum

Why it's great:

This is legitimately a holy grail serum of mine. Also one that helped to fight my pregnancy-induced pigmentation after my son was born. Anyway, in-clinic treatments were completely out of the question and I used this religiously post birth. My skin GLOWED and eventually went back to normal. It does contain salicylic acid at a strength that Cosmedix advise to avoid while pregnant. However, it is definitely one that will help kick your pigment to the curb. Very gentle too.

You can shop pigmentation serums here and hyperpigmentation skincare products here.

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