Let’s Talk About: Hyperpigmentation — ODE Dermatology

Let’s Talk About: Hyperpigmentation

Here’s how to banish those pesky dark spots

Let’s Talk About: Hyperpigmentation

As seen on En Route

By Vira Anekboonyapirom •

Hormones, DNA and the sun are all factors we have no control over, just like hyperpigmentation when it comes to our skin.

It’s the buzzkill that gets in the way of a flawless complexion; the type that only Instagram filters are made of.

If you’re like me and you’re still battling the remnants of last month’s angry hormonal pimple, then read on as I speak to Dermatologist, Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan to find out why we get hyperpigmentation and how to banish those unwanted dark spots.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Pigmentation and hyperpigmentation can be used interchangeably to describe a darkened area of the skin.

While pigmentation is responsible for the colour of our hair, skin and eyes; it’s produced by the melanocytes in our body.

Hyperpigmentation on the other hand describes those same melanocytes in our skin cells that produce the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin, which occurs from either sun damage or skin trauma.

Enter, dark spots.

How do we get it?

There are quite a few reasons why we get dark spots and these can include:

      • Hormonal fluctuations
      • Inflammation
      • Sun exposure
      • Ageing
      • Trauma to the skin
      • Genetics
      • Certain medications such as antimalarials and antibiotics
      • Lichen Planus
      • Addison disease

Dr Gunatheesan tells us “That the most common cause of hyperpigmentation, is melasma which is thought to be due to endocrine factors (oestrogen and progesterone), genetics and has a higher incidence in darker skin tones.”

How can we reduce the occurrence?

Don’t have room for another freckle? Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!

If you suffer from post-inflammation hyperpigmentation, either from acne or trauma to the skin, include active ingredients into your skincare routine.

Are there treatments we can use to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation?

Nobody plans on getting acne or accidentally causing trauma to their skin, so the great news is, those scars can be reduced through skincare treatments and by adding a few simple active ingredients into your skincare routine.

Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan’s recommendation is:

1. Sunscreen is “An absolute must! Look for a broad-based UVB and UVA, ideally a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide.”

2. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, “Augments sun protection when combined with a broad-based sunscreen.” It is important for hyperpigmentation as it helps inhibit the over-production of melanin.

3. Vitamin B3 is an “Anti-inflammatory active that calms inflammation, increases skin immunity and reduces DNA damage.”

4. Vitamin A complex “To be used at night to break up pigment clumps and recalibrate skin renewal.”

If you suffer from melasma, then you’ll need to be prescribed topical maintenance skincare to keep the melanocyte activity in check.

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