Beach season in all its spark is here and we are so happy about that. One thing that we may be concerned about is the appearance or the increase of the annoying dark spots under the sun. Hyperpigmentation, especially during summer, is the issue of the moment. And in order to combat it, we first need to understand what it is, its causes, how to prevent it, And What to do once the damage is done? So we can head into summer knowing exactly how to protect our skin and reduce the chances of hyperpigmentation.
If you have suffered from hyperpigmentation for quite a time now, then we know the toll it can take on your confidence. Therefore, we want to gently remind you that these dark patches take time to fade so be patient and kind to yourself throughout the journey.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
When certain patches of the skin usually localized in common areas become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin, this is called hyperpigmentation. A very common yet harmless skin occurrence usually caused by overactive skin cells called melanocytes, which stimulate the production of melanin (the brown pigment that produces normal skin color).
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
First and foremost, the number one cause of hyperpigmentation would be unprotected sun exposure. Hormones, illnesses, and medications come after. Pregnancy is another common cause, hormonal fluctuations usually trigger hyperpigmentation. Addison’s disease is another culprit, when one’s adrenal glands decrease in function this can result in increased production of melanin. Some antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs have been known to cause hyperpigmentation as well..
Why Does It Increase During Summer?
As mentioned above, the number one cause of hyperpigmentation is unprotected sun exposure. The main function of melanin is protection. And when you are more exposed to sun rays during summer, your skin produce more melanin to protect itself of being damaged from UV radiation and even free radicals. That’s explains why you may get more dark spots after a great beach holiday.
How To Prevent?
Avoid irritation and inflammation to prevent hyperpigmentation in the first place. If you have acne-prone or eczema-prone skin, then the best thing to do is to follow an appropriate treatment. For those who are inflamed from an acne breakout, an LED red light device is recommended alongside their solid acne regimen to reduce inflammation and redness. This device will help your products to penetrate deeply, making your skin more clear and refreshed.
Your best bet is sunscreen. Make sure to apply every day of the year. Apply generously and every two hours when you are spending long time under the sun. Also, choose a sunscreen with an 30 or more SPF. Don’t forget to apply on your ears and neck as they are more exposed to the sun than your face. If a hat won’t make your face feel hotter, then it might help you a lot. Lastly, wear your sunglasses to protect the eye area.
What To Do Once The Damage Is Done?
Of course you need sun protection to avoid further damage. Secondly, consider using brightening or bleaching creams (better check with your dermatologist). Antioxidants rich products like vitamin A, E, and C help in repairing damaged skin cells and even skin tone. You may also want to use a topical vitamin C serum which blocks free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Another thing to consider are chemical Peels like alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acids) and beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acids), these can exfoliate the skin and remove hyperpigmentation.
Lastly, for severe cases, you can go for an in-office treatments such as Microdermabrasion, Laser Resurfacing or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL).