The 411 on hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Morgan Littler | 0 comments

As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone- even skin tone included. As something that is often taken for granted, when dark spots begin to appear, you’re often left questioning what the heck you did to deserve them. So, to help answer your burning questions, we’ve put together a guide on skin pigmentation and uneven skin tone; answering what they are, how they are caused and how you can reduce their appearance. It's the 411 on everything you need to know (and avoid) to achieve your #skingoals.

What you will learn: What is uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation, How they're caused, and how to reduce it.

What you won’t learn: How to never age (Sorry! We are still trying to figure that one out too!)

 

What is uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation?

If you’re reading this and don’t fully understand what hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone even is, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

  • Uneven skin is an umbrella term used to describe a myriad of skin concerns that look as though your skin is inconsistently colored including hyperpigmentation as well as blotchiness, melasma, rosacea, age spots and more.
  • Hyperpigmentation is the term used to describe an area of skin that is noticeably darker than the rest. Hyperpigmentation is caused due to an excess production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that is responsible for skin and hair colour, which then leads to the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Freckles and moles are a form of hyperpigmentation.

 

How is uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation caused?

There are multiple reasons why your skin can present as uneven or why hyperpigmentation is occurring.

  • Pregnancy & hormones: One particular hormone-related hyperpigmentation of the skin is Melasma, caused by an increase in hormone stimulation. This is most commonly experienced by pregnant women, though some contraceptives can also cause this reaction. Another hormonal factor that can increase the appearance of uneven skin tone is menopause. As estrogen regulates melanin production, when this action is removed, its synthesis increases, resulting in areas previously exposed to UV appearing more pigmented.  
  • Air pollution: Air particles such as smoke, gasses from traffic, and dust may not always be easily spotted, but can penetrate your pores. This causes your immune system to enter defense mode and overproduce melanin to fight off the foreign particles. 
  • Sun Damage: All those days in the sun will come back to bite you. Overexposure to direct sunlight and UV can result in a form of hyperpigmentation as UV rays accelerate the skin cell ageing process, which includes skin cells called ‘melanocytes’ which produce melanin. When these skin cells become accelerated, they over produce melanin causing dark spots on the skin known as age spots. Sun damage doesn’t always immediately show its effects, though over time as your skin changes colour these sunspots will start to become more noticeable.
  • Scarring: Referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, this darkening of the skin is a result of injuries like allergic reactions, surgery or acne. These triggers induce an inflammatory response which stimulates the growth of more melanin, once again resulting in the appearance of dark spots. 

 

How to prevent and reduce the appearance of uneven skin and/or hyperpigmentation

  • SPF! SPF! SPF!- We say it all the time and we’ll say it again, SPF is your skin’s FRIEND (maybe even its bestie!) and is so important for preventing uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation from forming by acting as a barrier to harmful UV rays, stopping them from penetrating your skin and accelerating the ageing process of your skin cells. As an added bonus, broad-spectrum SPF will also help fight off fine lines. Win-win! 
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production, evens out skin tone and reduces pigmentation and sun damage. Using a serum, like our Rejuvenating HY C serum that contains Vitamin C will help to target and correct those stubborn hyperpigmentation spots.
  • Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is a natural ingredient (we know it doesn’t sound natural, but it is) that helps to lighten dark spots on the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Lactic acid can be found in our Facial Moisturiser, Gel Cleansers and Facial Mask.
  • Exfoliate: Exfoliating regularly (2-3 times per week) will aid in reducing the appearance of uneven skin tone as it clears dead skin cells, dirt and any other nasties off the skin’s surface and out of the pores allowing for products to penetrate the skin and do their thing. If you’re on the hunt for a natural and gentle exfoliant check out our AHA Enzyme Exfoliant.
  • Patience: Vigilant skincare takes time. Give yourself time to change your habits and allow time for your treatments to work.

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