How to treat dark spots and hyperpigmentation
Dark spots on your skin, also known as hyperpigmentation can be caused by many things.
Sun spots, post-acne scars, melasma, age spots - whatever the cause, they aren’t a health concern but if you wish to get rid of them for aesthetic reasons, we have good news.
You can effectively lighten or completely remove hyperpigmentation with the help of targeted cosmetic products and a good skincare routine.
WHAT CAUSES DARK SPOTS?
Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin overproduces melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour. This process is called tyrosinase and causes spots or patches of skin to appear darker than surrounding areas. It’s a common condition that affects people of all skin types.
The main causes of hyperpigmentation include:
- sun exposure;
- skin inflammation, trauma or injury to the skin;
- skin conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis;
- pregnancy, hormonal changes and oral contraceptives;
- medications that increase pigmentation (like some antibiotics);
- liver disease;
HOW TO TREAT HYPERPIGMENTATION
As always, I recommend seeing a dermatologist first to identify the root cause and decide on the best method of treatment.
The good news is that we have a wide array of professional salon treatments (laser, IPL, microdermabrasion, etc.) and cosmetic products containing both natural and synthetic ingredients helping to treat dark spots. Remember, however, that hyperpigmentation starts deep in the skin and takes a long time to remove. If you start soon after the dark spots appear, it may take around 6 months and older discolourations may take even one-two years to completely fade.
Best results are achieved by combining professional treatments with tailored skincare products that target hyperpigmentation.
INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR
Topical treatments for hyperpigmentation will include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as:
- hydroquinone - very efficient at removing hyperpigmentation, however, unless prescribed by a doctor, products with hydroquinone are banned in the UK because of their potentially serious health side effects;
- azelaic acid - antioxidant and inhibits melanin overproduction, also helps with acne and reduces inflammation;
- kojic acid - inhibits melanin overproduction, works slowly but delivers good results over time; may be irritating to sensitive skin types;
- retinol and retinoids, such as tretinoin - very effective at speeding skin cell renewal (thus speeding up fading of dark spots), healing acne and reducing signs of ageing but not advised for sensitive skin types and pregnant women;
- vitamin C like l-ascorbic acid or vitamin C esters like tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (used in Deerieo Aurora serum); excellent antioxidant and skin-brightening effects;
- niacinamide (a form of vitamin B-3) - a skincare superstar that not only brightens the skin but also helps reduce inflammation, acne and fine lines; used in Deerieo Daily Glow face cream;
- soy - prevents the dark pigment from reaching the surface of the skin, skin firming, anti-inflammatory;
- liquorice root extract - skin brightening, anti-inflammatory, reduces redness and irritation.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Avoid exposure to the sun. Use a UVA/UVB SPF30+ sunscreen or higher to protect the skin and stop hyperpigmentation from becoming darker. Wear sunscreen every day, even when indoors, because UVA rays that cause dark spots penetrate through windows. Wear wide-brimmed hats and avoid sunbathing and tanning beds.
- Avoid picking at spots, scabs and acne. This causes skin injury and can cause further inflammation.
- Don’t use harsh mechanical scrubs and avoid over-exfoliating. This causes micro-injuries in the skin, leading to inflammation and dark spots.
- Don’t apply lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your skin - they are not cosmetic grade and not only won’t be effective but are highly likely to irritate your skin, causing more hyperpigmentation.
HYPERPIGMENTATION SKINCARE ROUTINE
In the morning:
- Cleanse your face with a gentle, non-drying cleanser (cream cleanser, balm or mild moisturising soap like Deerieo Purity);
- Apply vitamin C-containing serum before the moisturiser. NOTE: A water-based serum with l-ascorbic acid is applied before the moisturiser. An oil-based vitamin C serum like Deerieo Aurora is applied after the moisturiser or you can blend 3 drops with a portion of moisturiser.
- Apply a face cream with niacinamide like Deerieo Daily Glow;
- Finish off with a broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF30+ sunscreen. Layer the sunscreen in two layers: ½ teaspoon of an SPF, let it dry and follow with another ½ teaspoon on SPF. Let it fully dry before applying makeup.
In the evening:
- Double cleanse your face to fully remove makeup and SPF. We recommend Deerieo cleansing balms like the Veil or Berry Clean as a first cleanse to effectively dissolve impurities and deeply cleanse your skin, followed by our moisturising Deerieo Purity face and body soap;
- Use an AHA/ BHA toner to gently exfoliate your skin and speed up skin cell turnover;
- Apply Deerieo Daily Glow face cream containing niacinamide;
- Apply 5 drops of Deerieo Aurora oil serum with bakuchiol (retinol alternative), vitamin C, collagen-boosting Coenzyme Q10 and antioxidants.
To summarise, dark spots are a common aesthetic concern and take a long time to fade or reduce. The best thing you can do is prevent them by wearing a good SPF daily, avoiding picking or damaging your skin and reducing inflammation by treating inflammatory skin conditions in consultation with a professional.
Did you find these tips helpful? Have you been dealing with hyperpigmentation? Let us know in the comments!
Karolina from Deerieo x