Hyperpigmentation: What is it and How Can it be Treated?

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin concerns in the world. And yet, few people know exactly what it is, what it looks like, and how to treat it. Today, we’re delving into all things hyperpigmentation, and will be suggesting a few ways to treat this widespread skin condition. 

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation refers to skin that appears darker in colour. This darker skin can take many forms. It can be a small patch, cover larger areas of the body, or even affect the entire body. There are several different types of hyperpigmentation, with the most common being melasma, sun spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma is related to hormonal changes in the body and can occur as a result of pregnancy or oral contraceptives, while post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by injury or inflammation of the skin, such as acne. Sun spots are the most common form of hyperpigmentation, and they are the result of sun exposure over time (it’s worth noting that the sun poses the greatest risk of hyperpigmentation to your skin). Thus, while hyperpigmentation can not necessarily be prevented, you can lower your risk by wearing sunscreen outside, avoiding the sun when its UV rays are at their strongest, and wearing a hat or other protective clothing outdoors. 

While no type of hyperpigmentation is typically harmful, it’s worth checking in with your doctor if you notice a new patch or section of your body that is darker in colour. Once your doctor can confirm it isn’t a symptom of any other medical condition, then it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to find a way to minimize the appearance of it. Luckily, there are a few different ways to do so, which we touch on below. 

Hyperpigmentation Treatments

In some circumstances, dark spots or patches will fade away on their own. But in others, you may need to take action to reduce their appearance and eliminate them altogether. There are many at-home remedies that are proven to help fight hyperpigmentation. Two of our favourites are aloe vera and green tea extract. Aloe vera contains aloin, which is a natural and non toxic compound that works to lighten the skin. Pure aloe vera gel can be purchased at most pharmacies, or you can opt for a skincare product like our Antioxidant Botanical Moisturizer that has aloe vera juice in it. Further, green tea extract has been proven to have a depigmenting effect when applied topically to the skin. That is why we include it in nearly all of our products, including our Antioxidant Botanical Facial Serum. Lastly, apple cider vinegar has also been shown to help fight pigmentation, owing to the acetic acid it contains. The best way to apply apple cider vinegar to your skin is by mixing it with water, applying it to the affected area(s) of the skin, leaving it on for two to three minutes, and rinsing it off. If you’ve tried every at-home remedy and nothing has worked, consider consulting a dermatologist who might be able to recommend a more aggressive form of treatment, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or cryotherapy.