When it comes to hyperpigmentation, we can find ourselves immediately looking for solutions to a problem we haven’t yet fully grasped. The truth is, hyperpigmentation is yet another example of our skins powerful ability to protect us from harm – in this case, specifically from the damage that can come from the suns UV rays. So rather than seeing the uneven skin tone and patches on your skin and feeling disheartened by the appearance, we should first recognise that not only is it so common for so many of us, but it shows the incredible lengths our bodies can go to work with the environment we are in, and not against it. By first understanding what hyperpigmentation really is and what causes it – we can then put in place daily steps which can over time show improvement.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
The term hyperpigmentation essentially refers to the darkening of the skin, becoming uneven in certain areas – usually the areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun. Dark patches and spots most commonly form on the face, chest, arms and legs and are referred to as sun spots or age spots. The scientific term used to describe the specific pigment in the skin that turns darker is called Melanin – so when the skin is exposed to more harmful UV rays, the body produces more melanin to protect it from damage, and the increase in Melanin production results in the darkening of the skin. This skin condition is mostly harmless, and isn’t something to worry about as for the most part it is a cosmetic issue – and the good news is there are ways to gradually reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. There are however, three different types of hyperpigmentation, and what most significantly differentiates them from one another is that they are caused by different factors. These three types are; age spots, melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
1. Age Spots
Otherwise known as or sun spots, the clues really are in the names – sun exposure and age can both lead to the formation of the most common form of hyperpigmentation. It is found most common amongst those over the age of 40, however can occur in younger individuals who may not have taken steps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. They show up on the skin as small dark brown or black freckles or small patches of pigment on the skin
This type of hyperpigmentation is usually found on the stomach and face, particularly the cheeks, forehead and bridge of the nose, and shows up as dark patches on the skin. Although men can develop Melasma, it is said that around 90% of those with the condition are women, more so those within the ages of 20 to 40. It isn’t yet clear what actually causes Melasma, but it is believed that it occurs as a result of Melanocytes (cells in the skin that produce pigment) producing too much melanin (pigment). The condition appears to be more common in pregnant women and women taking hormonal birth control and it is also found that sun exposure, stress and thyroid disease can also contribute to and aggravate the development of Melasma.
3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
PIH refers to the changing of the skin colour anywhere on the body after there has been an inflammatory wound, like acne or a rash. This is because during the healing process of the wound, melanin is produced, but the overproduction of melanin can lead to patches on the skin that can be dark and even pink or white in colour depending on your skin colour. This type of hyperpigmentation is quite common amongst eczema sufferers, and even those undergoing cosmetic procedures such as laser treatment or chemical peels. With PIH both men and women are equally as susceptible to the condition, and it can affect any skin colour but is most common amongst those with darker skin tones.
What Can Be Done?
When it comes to hyperpigmentation, there are definitely steps that can be put into our daily routines which can lead to improvement – but what matters the most with this skin condition in particular, is time and consistency. There is no quick fix to reducing the appearance of uneven skin tone, and that’s just the simple truth
– But with regular use of a few key ingredients and products, reducing dark patches and unveiling a more even complexion is very possible.
First and Foremost, SPF
We can first begin with putting in place some preventative measures, or steps that can stop further aggravation of the condition – most importantly, regular application of sunscreen. Topping up your SPF30 every couple of hours is paramount to fight off the harmful UV rays from sun exposure, and tackling the issue from this side of the coin is a lot easier than dealing with it after the fact.
Keep Moisturised and Finding Your Signature Serum
Next, it’s important to know that every solution for this issue will be a lot more effective if working with already hydrated skin – so your moisturiser is key! The Vemel Daily Moisturising Face Butter is the perfect everyday moisturiser to tick all your boxes, boosting collagen levels and providing long lasting nourishment to improve the overall health of the skin. Next is a relatively unknown ingredient that has been found to show promising results for sufferers of hyperpigmentation – Micro and Macro Algae Extract. Otherwise known as Brown Seaweed and Plankton, this extract is sourced from various different species of seaweed and algae – all of which are brimming with the fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals needed to keep our skin happy and healthy. For many of these Plankton extracts, it is the process of photosynthesis that enables them to survive – because of this they contain important enzymes which over time can help to brighten the skin and reduce signs of hyperpigmentation. So, including this ingredient in your routine in the form of a serum is the perfect addition to your skincare routine to target this skin concern a little more directly.
Take our Vemel Advanced Protective Serum for instance, with a beautiful blend of Micro and Macro Algae Complex, Plum Kernel Oil and Cherry Seed Oils, this serum can help strengthen your skin barrier as well as boosting radiance. Alongside these skincare gems, the Advanced Protective Serum also contains Aloe Vera, which can work wonderfully as a nontoxic hyperpigmentation treatment for those dealing with uneven skin tone. This is because one of the compounds Aloe Vera contains is Aloin, a natural depigmenting compound that can when used consistently over a long period of time, lighten the skin. Simply apply onto damp skin (to lock in extra hydration) morning and evening and follow up with your moisturiser, or simply use in place of your moisturiser depending on your skin type
Circulation is Crucial
As with any attempt to reduce hyperpigmentation – time and consistency is everything. Implementing a short face yoga routine during the application of your products can work wonders to to not only reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, but improve the overall complexion. Once you’ve applied a few drops of the Vemel Advanced Protective Serum (so your fingers glide and don’t drag!) spend a few minutes gently massaging and working the skin, to encourage circulation and increase lymphatic drainage. Face Yoga Expert, Danielle Collins, describes it best when explaining that ‘fresh blood brings oxygen and essential nutrients to your skin cells and helps to carry waste away. Since pigmentation and discolouration can be caused by a lack of oxygen, we want to work on increasing blood flow to the skin’.
Although hyperpigmentation is not a straight forward condition which can see overnight results with a single product, there is still hope to see improvement over a significant period of time. And whilst it may be a long journey, it should be one that remains ever rooted in the knowledge that our bodies continue to care for us in every way possible – and that is worth more than any physical transformation we could ever undergo.