By Nicollette Samuels
We all know the feeling of having unwanted guests who come over unannounced and stay for a week to months at a time. These guests not only cause you to be inconvenienced, but they also love to leave you a mess to clean up after they leave. These messes are like little reminders of their horrible stay, not at your home, but on your face; I’m talking about hyperpigmentation. Yes, hyperpigmentation or acne marks, those pesky little marks that stay on your skin after finally getting rid of those annoying zits. But what if I told you that there are ways of making those dark spots disappear a lot easier?
First, we must answer the question: What is hyperpigmentation? Well, it’s is a common skin condition where areas of skin become darker than the surrounding skin due to excess production of melanin (the thing that gives skin its color). Types of hyperpigmentation include age spots, melasma, freckles, and acne marks.
Now that we know what hyperpigmentation is, here are a few active ingredients that can help treat it.
Exfoliating your skin should be one of the first steps taken to help treat hyperpigmentation. Exfoliation helps to remove layers of dead skin on the face that can cause dullness and clogged pores. Both physical and chemical exfoliation can achieve this, but chemical exfoliation, specifically AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid), can gently accelerate and promote cellular turn over, buffing away discolored skin cells.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide is a widely popular ingredient in skincare for a very good reason; it has various amazing properties. Niacinamide is known for visibly improving moisture, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and uneven skin tone. Niacinamide works as a melanosome transfer inhibitor, which prevents melanin moving from the bottom layer to the top layer of the skin. This makes it a perfect ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin C is an incredible topical antioxidant known for creating a brighter complexion and evening out the skin tone. This ingredient can help protect your skin from pollution and can even be considered anti-aging, helping to keep your skin looking younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. There are many derivatives of vitamin C, but L-ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid is considered the king of all derivatives. When using this form of vitamin C, make sure that the packaging is just right because without it, it can affect the product quality. The ideal packaging would be an opaque airless pump bottle, but since most are packaged in dropper bottles make sure that it is dark colored and you use it as quickly as possible to get the most out of it. To make this form last even longer, try storing it in the fridge to keep it in a dark, cool environment. Other forms of vitamin C include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl glucoside, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, etc. These derivatives are less high maintenance and more gentle than l-ascorbic acid.
This might be a little surprising, but oils can help improve hyperpigmentation as well. Tamanu oil has skin regenerating and rejuvenating properties that allow it to treat eczema, stretch marks, acne marks, acne, and sunburns. This is a thick oil and might not be pleasing to use all over the face, so try using it as a spot treatment.
When it comes to hyperpigmentation, the sun is not your friend. It can be the reason why you have hyperpigmentation in the first place or why it is getting worse. The body produces melanin to help protect you from sun overexposure; this is what causes age spots. To prevent this from happening use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.