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What is Hyperpigmentation?

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that causes patches of skin to becomes darker in colour. This occurs when excess Melanin is produced by Melanocytes - Melanin producing cells. Medication, hormonal changes and everyday beauty rituals can cause Melanocytes to produce excess Melanin.

Does Hyperpigmentation impact men and women equally?

Pigment damage can occur in both men and women. However, it is most common in women. This is due to the increased concentration of the hormones Progesterone and Estrogen that women have. This increased concentration raises the risk of pigmentation spots. Effects of this can be especially seen during pregnancy, when using hormone medication or contraception.

In men (but also in women), hyperpigmentation can occur due to using antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, natural oils or over the counter products like hay fever medication.

Does Hyperpigmentation impact darker skin more?

People of colour are more prone to Hyperpigmentation because we have more Melanocytes (Melanin producing cells) and much larger Melanocytes. These larger Melanocytes are more sensitive to heat meaning that the more exposure your skin cells have to heat, the greater the chance that the Melanocytes may become damaged and leak Melanin.

Lighter and fairer skin tones have smaller and more dense Melanocytes in the lowest layer of the epidermis, so damage to their Melanocytes cells will create lighter Hyperpigmentation spots, making it easier to treat.

What are some of the everyday things we do that can increase our chances of Hyperpigmentation?

  • Hair removal (IPL/ laser treatment and chemical hair removal)

  • Use of medical or chemical peels

  • Exposure to UV rays without optimal sun protection

  • Over exfoliating the skin i.e daily scrubbing with a washcloth or similar or using acid-based creams

  • Use of particular skin lightening creams

How can you reduce your chances of getting Hyperpigmentation?

  • Protect your skin with sunscreen which includes a UV-A and B-filter, like Titanium-dioxide, Iron-oxide, Zinc oxide and doesn’t include perfumes, alcohol or mineral oils

Tip: Apply a sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out, this gives the sunscreen enough time to be activated and reapply every 2 hours!

  • Avoid the use/overuse of certain ingredients in your products, such as:

  • Alcohol

  • Fruit acid peels, such as Glycolic acid and Lemons

  • Vitamins A, Hydroquinone, Vitamin C, Argan oil (only use these products during evening hours, as they are very sensitivity to UV radiation)

Try not to…

  • Cut out or extract of blackheads (if you don’t have the right techniques and equipment)

  • Squeeze inflamed bumps

Can you reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation?

Yes - Hyperpigmentation can be reduced if the cause is no longer active anymore. The first and most important step is to allow your skin time to recover from the trauma. This recovery period is key to preventing the over stimulation of the already sensitive and damaged Melanocyte cells.

The recovery period can take up to 12 months, during this recovery period it's important to keep your skin moisturised - hydrating the skin with products that soothe your skin.

Using sun protection during day time is very important to avoid that your Melanocytes heating up in the sun and shade!

Collaboration by Mella Care & Colour Uncoded

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