In my Facebook beauty group, TC Beauty Collective, I often receive a mix of private or public requests on how to improve different skin conditions. I never advise people I haven’t met in person as I need to really see them face to face, so to speak, in order to assess the right course of action. That said, there are some common themes and gentle warnings that I do give to those not already seeking specialist treatment.

One of the most popular skincare areas I’m asked about is hyperpigmentation.

 

What is hyperpigmentation?

Simply put, hyperpigmentation is dark spots of excessive pigmentation.

 

Remedies

Easing hyperpigmentation, now that’s a tricky one. Broadly speaking, treatments that increase cell turnover will ease it over time.

Gentle, mild exfoliation can be used with caution on sensitive skin, but ensure that you start off gently. Ideally start with using a muslin cloth to rinse off your regular facial cleanser for a few weeks. If that’s not enough exfoliation for your skin, then step it up gently, but avoid any exfoliating cleansers with large, chunky particles, as they may cause more irritation in the long run.

AHAs, Glycolic peels and other forms of chemical exfoliation are touted as the go-to treatment by many women’s magazine. They are fantastic, yes… but should be used with care.

Dosage, frequency and time of day are all important factors in when and how to use them. They should only be used after a skin patch test, even if you have no known skin sensitivities. If you’re not sure about strength of a solution, then seek specialist skincare advice from a dermatologist or at the very least, someone more qualified in skincare than a Facebook beauty group.

 

Price-sensitivity

Finding corrective skincare to suit your budget is tricky because you don’t want to skimp on quality when it comes to skincare issues.

The Ordinary serums are fantastic but I truly believe that customers need to be guided by a skincare specialist (after seeing the condition of their skin in person – you can’t really diagnose online from a photo). Once they have seen your skin and diagnosed the condition, they can then select the serum or treatment that’s right for the customer. The Ordinary are fantastic quality and budget-friendly but you need to choose the right serum.

The wrong serum, or wrong application could damage skin further.

Too many on-the-shelf skincare products don’t carry sufficient advice on suitability. Glycolic peels and liquid AHA packaging are my biggest bug bears. So few of them even mention using only at night or protecting skin after use with SPF to prevent UVA/ UVB damage to the newly revealed skin.

 

Prevention is better than cure

Deeper skintones can be more prone to hyperpigmentation. If you’ve got a little melanin in your skin, then you need to be wearing facial SPF all year round. Make sure that it has broad spectrum sunscreen i.e. filters UVA/ UVB rays.

Topical antioxidants, like vitamin C sprays and moisturisers may also help. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that produces melanin in the skin, and so using a topical Tyrosinase-inhibitor like vitamin C can prevent overproduction of melanin.

Another trigger for hyper-pigmentation is skin damage caused by picking spots or after using certain acne treatments. Be mindful that with laser skin treatments for acne, you may get some discolouration after the inflammatory wound has healed. This is known as Post Inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

These tips will help keep hyperpigmentation under control in the longer term. It’s important not to forget that hyper-pigmentation does fade on its own over time. The time it will take and the extent to which it fades is dependent upon good sun protection and minimising recurrence.

In the short term, if you want to give the cell renewal process a kick start, seek specialist advice before using a new off-the-shelf skincare treatment with high levels of chemical exfoliant. An independent skincare specialist (not a salesperson!) will be able to guide you objectively and tailor a skincare program for you to ease the hyperpigmentation in a controlled and safe way.

 


I’d love to hear any recommendations for skincare specialist close to you, as it’s so hard to find quality working professionals in this field. Hit me up on the socials with your recommendations!

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