Suffer from hyperpigmentation? You need to read this.

Olive skin is often regarded as the holy grail of the tones. With the balance of yellow and green undertones making less resistant to sun damage and have the advantage in terms of resisting fine lines and wrinkles. However, one skin care issue that can really been a problem for olive skin is hyper-pigmentation and marking. So, we asked why?

According to Dr Emma Wedgeworth, Clinique’s Dermatologist Professional, it’s all about the melanin. “In theory, anyone can suffer from hyperpigmentation, but as skin of colour has a higher concentration of melanin it is more obvious.”

What exactly is hyperpigmentation and what causes it?

“Hyperpigmentation appears as dark spots or patches which result from excess production of melanin in certain areas of skin. It can be caused by a number of factors, including sun damage, hormonal changes, acne scars or trauma to the skin,” says Dr Wedgeworth.

Are there different types of hyperpigmentation?

There sure are. These are the most common types –

- Post-inflammatory pigmentation - occurs as a result of acne or trauma in skin, and is far more common and more problematic in skin of colour, which has a higher concentration of melanin.

- Sun-induced pigmentation: known as age spots or dark spots (scientifically known as solar lentigines) are often seen in lighter skin tones and comes as a result of too much sun exposure.

- Melasma: much more common in women and is seen during pregnancy, which is a result of hormonal fluctuations.

What is the best way to treat hyperpigmentation?

“First and foremost, sun protection is vital. Both UVA and UVB stimulate more melanin production and therefore pigmentation, meaning broad spectrum sunscreen should be used all year round.

High energy visible light can also stimulate melanin, especially in darker skins; tinted sunscreen and makeup containing iron oxide can help protect against that. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, can also help even and brighten skin,” says Dr Emma.

“It’s also worth knowing that a key enzyme in the production of melanin is tyrosinaise, and

ingredients that help reduce those levels are helpful to manage pigmentation. That includes things like kojic and azelaic acid, and retinoids can help tackle it too,” she says.

How can you protect against future hyperpigmentation?

You’ve heard it before, but sun protection is paramount. “Even small amounts of sunlight will stimulate pigment of any cause – and excessive sun exposure over the years can lead to

increased melanin production and an abnormal retention of pigment by skin cells, resulting

in sunspots,” says Dr Emma.

“To avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, always treat

skin conditions, like acne, early and effectively – and avoid unnecessary trauma. That

means absolutely no picking or squeezing under any circumstance.”

*source Clinique 2021

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