Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin concerns facing people of all different skin types, and especially those with a darker skin tone. It is one of the major concerns that I see both with my patients and our customers at DermWarehouse. What exactly is hyperpigmentation? It occurs when the cells that create brown pigment that produces normal skin colors, melanin, become damaged as a result of sun damage, acne, inflammation or other conditions and form deposits in the skin.
So what can you do to combat hyperpigmentation? Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis is most important (my go-to advice!). This is the only way to prevent discoloration from getting worse and prevent new damage.
There are several key ingredients known to combat hyperpigmentation:
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that works by interfering with melanin production by melanocytes. The use of hydroquinone in concurrence with a daily sunscreen can help in reducing hyperpigmentation on the skin. All products containing hydroquinone must be purchased at a doctor’s office.
Arbutin is a natural ingredient found in plants such as cranberries, wheat and blueberries. Our bodies break it down into glucose and hydroquinone. For those with sensitive skin, arbutin found in products such as Obagi Clear Fx may be the best choice, as hydroquinone is produced slower.
Kojic acid can be found in various types of fungi during fermentation. It reduces the activity of tyrosinase (a key enzyme in the production of melanin) thus inhibiting melanin formation. If you’re looking to incorporate Kojic Acid into your skincare routine to combat hyperpigmentation, check out Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream, which contains Kojic Acid, Bearberry extract and Hydroquinone for skin lightening.
Phytic acid is a natural, plant-based antioxidant substance that helps combat hyperpigmentation by working as an exfoliator and inhibiting the creation of melanin in the skin. SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 uses Phytic Acid to help to minimize pores and discoloration of the skin, along with other ingredients such as Niacinamide, Marine Extract Blend and Tranexamic Acid.
Bearberry Extract is derived from the bearberry shrub. It works to combat hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin. In addition, bearberry has UV sun protection for the skin. The Reviva Labs Dark Spot Brightening Serum utilizes Bearberry Extract to improve skin tone and diminish age & dark spots.
Niacinamide is known to ward off free radicals, fight acne and is comparable to hydroquinone. This means it fights hyperpigmentation by converting into two coenzymes that give skin cells energy to carry out different processes, such as skin repair. The DefenAge 8-in-1 Bio Serum utilizes niacinamide to improve skin tone and texture (among many other excellent benefits), with results equal to 8 separate serums.
Hyperpigmentation is typically an issue that’s developed over a lifetime of skin damage. I always want to set realistic expectations for my patients and customers. All of the ingredients mentioned will greatly help hyperpigmentation, but it can take some time to see real results. Expect to use products for at least 3 months (with daily sunscreen use) to really begin seeing a difference.