Pigmentation comes in many forms such as freckles, sunspots, and melasma (commonly known as   hormonal pigmentation), and post-inflammatory pigmentation, which can occur after trauma. 

Hyperpigmentation, which is the name given to areas of the skin that become darker than the surrounding skin, and how to treat it, is one of the most frequently asked questions across the skin care industry.  

To help tackle some of the mystery, misconceptions and uncertainty surrounding how to deal with the various types of pigmentation, let’s take a closer look at how it occurs.  

How does pigmentation occur in the skin?  

Skin gets its colour from various pigments, including melanin, which is produced by cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes reside in the lower layers of the epidermis. Our skin colour is determined by genetics, and how active or inactive these melanocytes are. Different factors can increase melanocyte activity and cause uneven pigmentation - known as hyperpigmentation. 

What are the primary triggers for hyperpigmentation?  

UV

Melanin is produced by the melanocyte cells when they are exposed to the sun. The more sun exposure, the more melanin that is produced. 

Hormones

Hormonal fluctuation, especially the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, can stimulate the overproduction of melanin. This can also occur when taking the contraceptive pill and other types of medication and is often more prevalent in deeper skin tones where the skin is already producing an abundance of melanin. 

Trauma

Trauma to the skin triggers melanin to deposit at the site of injury - this is commonly seen post blemishes and breakouts. Over exfoliating, certain types of hair removal and topical steroid use can also cause this type of pigmentation which is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

Alpha-H Skincare image
Alpha-H Skincare image

How can my skincare help to prevent hyperpigmentation?  

It all starts with SPF 

Preventing and treating hyperpigmentation starts with SPF. As UV stimulates the production of melanin in the skin, minimising exposure is key to both fading existing and preventing further uneven skin tone as pigmentation will continue to darken with ongoing sun exposure.  At Alpha-H, we recognise that skin health starts with broad spectrum UV protection and our daily sun protection products are suitable for all skin types. Shop the range here - SPF

Antioxidant protection 

Inflammation directly contributes to pigmentation, so finding ingredients that help to counteract oxidative stress is the next vital step in an anti-pigmentation treatment routine. 

Antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, C and E all play functional roles in helping to suppress and prevent hyperpigmentation. If you are new to Vitamins in your daily regime, we suggest starting with Vitamin C Serum each morning. Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum is suitable for all skin types and tones and works to suppress irregular melanin production whilst simultaneously protecting against damaging UV-induced free radical attack.  

Exfoliation 

Exfoliation helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by removing surface cells stained with pigment, leaving the skin looking fresh and clear. It is important to use exfoliants correctly and not get carried away as over-exfoliating can lead to inflammation and start the hyperpigmentation process all over again. 

Liquid Gold three alternate evenings a week is excellent for this purpose, it contains anti-inflammatory Licorice extract to soothe and protect whilst 5% Glycolic Acid works to gently encourage cell turnover and remove dull surface cells. 

The key to treating hyperpigmentation is to be consistent. It’s also important to remain realistic about results, and understand that in addition to the regimes mentioned here, stubborn forms of hyperpigmentation like melasma may require another modalities or consultation with a dermatologist to achieve the desired results. 

 

Still unsure which products would be best for your skin? Click here to book in for a virtual Skin Consultation with one of our qualified Skin Specialists, to find your bespoke routine tailored to your individual needs