What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

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A common condition involving discolouration of the skin, hyperpigmentation affects thousands of men and women across the UK. But what exactly causes the condition and what’s the best way to treat it?

A common condition involving discolouration of the skin, hyperpigmentation affects thousands of men and women across the UK. But what exactly causes the condition and what’s the best way to treat it?

What is hyperpigmentation2 - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is basically a fancy name for skin discolouration – or darkening – and can affect men and women of all different skin types, ages and backgrounds.

The darkening occurs when your skin produces too much melanin, a pigment that gives your complexion its colour. This, in turn, can make patches of your skin appear darker in certain areas.

On the whole, the condition is usually harmless. While many people live comfortably with hyperpigmentation, there are now a growing number of ways to prevent and treat the condition if it bothers you.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is basically a fancy name for skin discolouration – or darkening – and can affect men and women of all different skin types, ages and backgrounds.

The darkening occurs when your skin produces too much melanin, a pigment that gives your complexion its colour. This, in turn, can make patches of your skin appear darker in certain areas.

On the whole, the condition is usually harmless. While many people live comfortably with hyperpigmentation, there are now a growing number of ways to prevent and treat the condition if it bothers you.

What causes it - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

What causes it?

Before we get onto the treatments, first let’s tackle the causes. 

There are three widely recognised types of hyperpigmentation, all with different causes; melasma, which is common during pregnancy; sunspots, which are caused by UV exposure; and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can come on after a skin injury.

While melasma is believed to be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, and will usually fade over time, sunspots are triggered by excessive sun exposure – one of the more common causes of long-term hyperpigmentation.

But how exactly does sun damage create these blotchy dark patterns? Well, melanin is one of your skin’s natural defences against UV damage, so naturally the more you expose your skin to sunlight, the more your body has to produce. Over time, after much shedding of skin, this melanin comes to the surface, producing the darker patches of skin known as sunspots.

Lastly, hyperpigmentation can also be brought on by inflammation or injury to the skin. This can include anything from acne, eczema or lupus to a simple cut.

What causes it?

Before we get onto the treatments, first let’s tackle the causes. 

There are three widely recognised types of hyperpigmentation, all with different causes; melasma, which is common during pregnancy; sunspots, which are caused by UV exposure; and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can come on after a skin injury.

While melasma is believed to be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, and will usually fade over time, sunspots are triggered by excessive sun exposure – one of the more common causes of long-term hyperpigmentation.

But how exactly does sun damage create these blotchy dark patterns? Well, melanin is one of your skin’s natural defences against UV damage, so naturally the more you expose your skin to sunlight, the more your body has to produce. Over time, after much shedding of skin, this melanin comes to the surface, producing the darker patches of skin known as sunspots.

Lastly, hyperpigmentation can also be brought on by inflammation or injury to the skin. This can include anything from acne, eczema or lupus to a simple cut.

What can help?

Thanks to a growing number of cosmetic treatments designed to tackle hyperpigmentation head on, it’s now easier than ever to reduce the appearance of those darker patches of skin. The treatments which are most effective are the ones that speed up your skin’s natural shedding process. Here are a few that we, at Arch Aesthetics, would particularly recommend.

What can help?

Thanks to a growing number of cosmetic treatments designed to tackle hyperpigmentation head on, it’s now easier than ever to reduce the appearance of those darker patches of skin. The treatments which are most effective are the ones that speed up your skin’s natural shedding process. Here are a few that we, at Arch Aesthetics, would particularly recommend.

Microdermabrasion - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

Microdermabrasion

One of the best known treatments for hyperpigmentation, microdermabrasion uses ultra-fine microcrystals which are hard enough to scrub away dead skin – without causing any damage.

This vacuuming of dead skin cells encourages the growth of a smooth new layer, revealing the fresh, less pigmented skin underneath. In doing so, microdermabrasion also stimulates your skin’s production of collagen, giving your complexion a plumper, healthy glow. Two birds with one stone!

Microdermabrasion

One of the best known treatments for hyperpigmentation, microdermabrasion uses ultra-fine microcrystals which are hard enough to scrub away dead skin – without causing any damage.

This vacuuming of dead skin cells encourages the growth of a smooth new layer, revealing the fresh, less pigmented skin underneath. In doing so, microdermabrasion also stimulates your skin’s production of collagen, giving your complexion a plumper, healthy glow. Two birds with one stone!

chemical peel - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

Chemical peels

While microdermabrasion physically scrubs away dead layers of skin, chemical peels use mild acids which interact with your skin and cause it to peel, taking any unwanted pigmentation with it.

The process might not sound pretty, but it’s actually far gentler than the name suggests. The agent at work is glycolic acid, and its main job is to quicken your natural skin shedding process. This then makes room for even-toned skin to take its predecessor’s place, causing any pigmentation to fade faster.

For the most noticeable results, we recommend returning for several treatments.

Chemical peels

While microdermabrasion physically scrubs away dead layers of skin, chemical peels use mild acids which interact with your skin and cause it to peel, taking any unwanted pigmentation with it.

The process might not sound pretty, but it’s actually far gentler than the name suggests. The agent at work is glycolic acid, and its main job is to quicken your natural skin shedding process. This then makes room for even-toned skin to take its predecessor’s place, causing any pigmentation to fade faster.

For the most noticeable results, we recommend returning for several treatments.

Retinoid creams - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

Retinoid creams

You don’t have to go under the needle to see a visible difference to your hyperpigmentation. There are plenty of creams that you can buy over the counter or online which claim to be able to clear your complexion after prolonged usage.

The main ingredient to look out for is retinol (or retinoid) – one of the most best anti-ageing ingredients on the market when it comes to cell regeneration. 

When applied to the skin, this magical vitamin not only encourages your skin’s collagen production, it also speeds up the shedding of old skin cells, reducing the appearance of pigmentation over time.

Remember though: retinol is strong and has been known to irritate more sensitive skin. For this reason, we recommend applying a retinol product one night a week to start with. As your skin gets used to the solution, you can gradually build up to a higher concentration to see more drastic results.

Retinoid creams

You don’t have to go under the needle to see a visible difference to your hyperpigmentation. There are plenty of creams that you can buy over the counter or online which claim to be able to clear your complexion after prolonged usage.

The main ingredient to look out for is retinol (or retinoid) – one of the most best anti-ageing ingredients on the market when it comes to cell regeneration. 

When applied to the skin, this magical vitamin not only encourages your skin’s collagen production, it also speeds up the shedding of old skin cells, reducing the appearance of pigmentation over time.

Remember though: retinol is strong and has been known to irritate more sensitive skin. For this reason, we recommend applying a retinol product one night a week to start with. As your skin gets used to the solution, you can gradually build up to a higher concentration to see more drastic results.

prevention - What causes hyperpigmentation and how can it be treated?

Can you prevent hyperpigmentation?

Of course, as with most things, prevention is better than cure – and preventing hyperpigmentation can be easy, depending on the cause. Although melasma is largely unavoidable, sunspots can be kept at bay with a broad spectrum sunscreen, especially during the summer, and by avoiding sunbeds at all costs.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can also be avoided. However tempting it might be, resist the urge to pick at spots, scabs, acne and other skin injuries until they’ve fully healed. Your skin will thank you for it!

Can you prevent hyperpigmentation?

Of course, as with most things, prevention is better than cure – and preventing hyperpigmentation can be easy, depending on the cause. Although melasma is largely unavoidable, sunspots can be kept at bay with a broad spectrum sunscreen, especially during the summer, and by avoiding sunbeds at all costs.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can also be avoided. However tempting it might be, resist the urge to pick at spots, scabs, acne and other skin injuries until they’ve fully healed. Your skin will thank you for it!

At Arch Aesthetics, we offer an array of safe and high-quality cosmetic treatments to help reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels.

For more information about our treatments, or to book a consultation, please click here.

At Arch Aesthetics, we offer an array of safe and high-quality cosmetic treatments to help reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation, including microdermabrasion and chemical peels.

For more information about our treatments, or to book a consultation, please click here.

2019-08-22T21:30:14+00:00

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