Everyone loves having a beautiful summertime tan, however, no one enjoys what shows up when the glow fades: dark spots. Known as hyperpigmentation, they are the result of an overproduction of melanin that can be triggered by many external and internal triggers. While they can show up quickly, they can take years to truly fade, causing frustration for many people. Today we’re going to discuss the triggers and what you can do to beat hyperpigmentation for good!
Sun Exposure: Sun exposure is one of the top causes of hyperpigmentation. Melanin acts as the body’s defense mechanism to prevent UV damage from reaching the deeper layers of the skin and damaging DNA. When UV enters the skin, it starts a chain reaction that eventually results in melanin production; typically this is seen as a tan. However, sometimes this process can result in an overproduction of melanin in one spot, resulting in a dark spot.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: While more common in those of African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent, this form of hyperpigmentation can occur in anyone. Unlike the previous from of hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of some sort of trauma to the skin including acne, invasive treatments, burns and other causes of inflammation in the skin.
Hormonal Hyperpigmentation: Hormonal hyperpigmentation can show up in a variety of ways, but the most common is the “pregnancy mask.” After periods of significant hormonal change, dark patches can be left behind. These patches typically look different than dark spots and normally occupy a larger area of the body.
Protect Yourself: Avoiding excess sun exposure is the best way to both prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. Because UV exposure triggers melanin production, every time you go out unprotected you risk darkening these spots. Wearing protective clothing, such as sunglasses and hats, and an SPF of at least 35 are the best ways to protect yourself. Jane Iredale’s Powder-Me SPF, offers adequate protection, comes in a convenient to apply powder form, and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Home Care: Other than wearing SPF there are many home care products that can successfully treat hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone has been one of the top treatments for many years, however concerns about its side effects and possible carcinogenic qualities make it less than ideal. Luckily, there are many other alternatives that have proven to be either almost as effect or equally effective without all the damaging side effects.
- dm Skincare Clari-tone serum: This powerhouse contains kojic acid, azelaic acid and alpha-arbutin, all clinically proven to inhibit tyrosinase activity, an enzyme that acts as a catalyst for melanin production. Combined with the exfoliating properties of salicylic and lactic acid, this serum is also ideal for those who are acne prone.
- Decléor Aromessence White Brightening Serum: This gentle, oil based serum is great for all skin types and contains a blend of essential oils, including acacia, parsley, lemon and chamomile. Acacia in particular has been shown in clinical testing to significantly reduce melanin and erythema in the skin and is useful in both the treatment of hyperpigmentation and dermatitis.
Professional Care: A professionally done facial is the quickest way to jumpstart your way to a more even complexion. When combined with proper homecare, dark spots can be a thing of the past. As with all facials, we recommend a consultation with one of our licensed Estheticians to help determine what treatment will be most appropriate for you.
- HydraFacial with Britenol add-on: Although the base HydraFacial treatment is amazing at treating hyperpigmentation, with ingredients such as glucosamine and lactic acid, the britenol add-on is really where you will see a difference. Britenol uses a proprietary blend of alpha-arbutin, which lightens dark spots, and vitamin c, which inhibits melanin production. Plus, the treatment only takes around 30 minutes and is only needed on a monthly basis.
- Decléor Aroma Bright: This deeply restorative facial combines the powerful ingredients found in Décleor’s Aroma White line with soothing massage for a service that is both results driven and relaxing.
- Mega Peel: This treatment combines the mechanical exfoliation of microdermabrasion with the power of the precision peel to lighten and brighten the skin. To see full results a series of at least 6 treatments is necessary spaced out about 10 days to 2 weeks apart.