Basic Skin FAQs

Hyperpigmentation – What Causes It and How to Treat It

As we get on in years, our skin starts to go through changes. Fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, dehydration, uneven skin tone. Another thing we have to look forward to? Dark spots, which are also known as hyperpigmentation.

What is hyperpigmentation and what are the most common causes?

Hyperpigmentation happens when our skin overproduces pigment. Normal skin contains melanocytes. In turn, melanocytes produce melanin, a brown skin-colouring pigment. In certain cases, these skin cells can overproduce, and you get patches of skin that appear darker than your normal skin tone. This should not be confused with dermal melasma (since it occurs in the deeper layers of the skin and is more difficult to treat).

One of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation is sun damage. This type of hyperpigmentation appears as larger patches of darker skin.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, happens when a spot, a blemish, or a bug bite heals and leaves a mark. The area can vary in colour – from light brown to dark brown or even black – and it can go darker if your skin is exposed to the sun. While post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can affect anyone, it is more pronounced in people with darker skin tones, as the affected area will be more intense in colour for longer periods of time.

Available treatments for hyperpigmentation

You’ll have to be patient – no matter what type of treatment you decide on, you will not see results overnight.

Prevention and treatment – Sunscreen

It doesn’t matter what might be the cause of your hyperpigmentation, one thing you cannot be without is sunscreen. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect your skin against any new damage and ensure that any results you might achieve with your chosen treatments are effective.

We suggest 3-step plan to significantly reduce hyperpigmentation.

To exfoliate the skin, to increase cell turnover and to reduce inflammation.

A combination of Mandelic acid and Retinol will remove dead skin cells and reduce the number of pigment on the surface. Both Mandelic acid and Retinol also encourage cell turnover.

Vitamin C not only protects the skin against free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the skin, but it also helps turn off an inflammatory response that causes hyperpigmentation.

A recommended treatment to treat hyperpigmentation would include following Ishtar products:

Ultralase 10% Mandelic acid serum – to be used at night, every 3 days.

Bioactive 1% Retinol or Bioactive 2.5% Retinol serum – to be used nightly.

EFA ProRepair Oil with Tocoretinate-10 and Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate – to be used nightly.

Alternatively, you can also try our Clarity – C vitamin serum.

If you aren’t sure what combination of products would be best suited for your skin, please get in touch so we can help.

Additional treatments also include lasers. Even though lasers can give you fantastic results to treat hyperpigmentation, you will probably need a number of treatments, so budget accordingly.

Chemical peels are another option, as they will increase collagen production and cell turnover. It might be tempting to attempt these at home, but it is best to have a professional do a chemical peel.

Microdermabrasion can be suitable for people who suffer from milder cases of hyperpigmentation.

Do you have hyperpigmentation? What type of treatments and/or products gave you the best results?

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Roberta Striga

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