Hyperpigmentation: What is it and how to banish it!
One of the most popular/common questions I receive is how can you can get rid of hyperpigmentation. Most people of color know exactly that is and can relate to how annoying it is to deal with.
What is it? Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin due to skin trauma such as acne, surgery, sun damage, hormonal changes and scarring. It is most common among people of darker skin tones but no skin tone is exempt.
What causes it? Hyperpigmentation can be caused by external and internal influences including sun damage, post acne scarring, or even an old eczema/psoriasis flare ups. A surgery or even an injury that caused inflammation of the skin is another possible cause of hyperpigmentation. Additionally women who are pregnant often share stories about a sudden change in skin color and blotchiness as a result of hormonal changes. This type of hyperpigmentation is known as melasma and women of all skin tones can experience this. Additionally razor bumps and ingrown hairs that aren't treated properly can result in hyperpigmentation.
How to prevent it? While hyperpigmentation is difficult to avoid if you suffer from any of the aforementioned causes. There are ways to prevent/reduce the unsightly dark marks. Use sun protection daily and liberally to prevent sun damage. Do not pick, squeeze or pop any acne flare ups/pimples. This causes trauma and inflammation that can lead to infection that will surely make the problem worse and take longer to heal.
How to cure it? Again- wear sun protection daily. This will help prevent the hyperpigmentation from getting worse. Use a brightening oil/serum twice a day (day + night). Massage a small amount of Vitamin E oil directly to the dark spots and leave on overnight. You should see a reduction of your hyperpigmentation in a few weeks. Exfoliate. Delicately removing the layers of dead skin build up will allow for faster skin cell turnover and recovery-thus reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Depending on your skin type 1-2 times per week is ideal. Gua Sha! The technique of gently scraping the skin with a gua sha tool on the face to allow for lymph drainage can help reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and enhances brightness especially for post acne scarring.
Patience. Your dark spots won’t fade overnight so just be patient AND consistent with your regimen. Seek out laser treatments from a dermatologist. When all else fails and you’re not seeing any results, perhaps a laser treatment from a board certified dermatologist is in order. Some hyperpigmentation cases are more stubborn than others so in that case, I would advise seeking out medical assistance.