Hyperpigmentation…actually we’ll call it Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) as it relates to adult acne. This is basically the “souvenir” that’s let over once the acne pimple has healed. You know, that annoying brown spot that takes forever to fade. It can also appear after an allergic skin reaction, a cut or any other skin wound.
Just a side note…sun damage will cause hyperpigmentation as well, causing uneven skin with dark patches.
Dark spots, whether from acne, the sun, or a skin wound, can last anywhere from months to years depending on which layers of the skin are affected.
Can It Be Prevented?
Yes it can, but you have to be very diligent with the proper care of your skin. So, that means the sun is not your friend. That’s right the sun is definitely not your friend. This especially is the case if you have a darker skin tone. The sun will make the dark spots darker. Arm yourself with sunscreen even on hazy day. Don’t be fooled. Just because you don’t see the sun shining you are still being exposed to the harmful UVA radiation.
How do you treat Hyperpigmentation?
Well, just like with acne we don’t want to just spot treat an area here and there. We need to treat the whole face to see the best results.
As with dealing with our adult acne, treating hyperpigmentation takes patience and diligence too.
Here is a regimen that works…I know because I have used it and gotten great results:
Step One: Exfoliate
The goal and purpose here is to remove dead skin cells that contain melanin or pigment. In young people, the skin naturally turns over its dead skin cells about every 21 days. As we get older it can take twice as long. By exfoliating we can speed things up a little.
By exfoliating, our skin will appear smoother and more luminous…definitely a plus!! It will also allow for the penetration of lightening agents. We’ll talk about this in a bit. Stick with me 🙂
So, exfoliation can easily fit into your skin care regimen by using a cleanser that contains exfoliating agents such as gentle grains, or alpha hydroxy acids. I actually prefer the gentle grains but that’s just me. Remember everyone’s skin is different. You need to experiment and discover what works for you.
Step Two: Lightening or Evening Out the Skin Tone
Hydroquinone, pronounced hi-dra-kwi-known, is one of the most popular lightening agents out there. It can be found in toners and creams. I have had tremendous success using a toner that contains hydroquinone followed by a cream also containing it.
Step Three: Protection
Since we are treating our hyperpigmentation, we need to protect it from further sun exposure which will make our dark spots even worse.
It’s best to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. ( Remember, even if it’s hazy outside)
This makes the difference between seeing good results or little results. One day of going out without protection could undo months of treatment. Be diligent!
Being consistent with a skin care regimen specific for hyperpigmentation is a key factor in getting smooth and even skin.
Let's continue the conversation…meet me over on my facebook page
Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse and licensed esthetician who has suffered with acne and hyperpigmentation since the age of 12. She wants other acne sufferers to understand that even though acne is not curable that it is definitely controllable with the right regimen and lifestyle changes. Clear and radiant skin does not have to be a dream, it can be your reality!