Hyperpigmentation is a condition that affects many people, especially women. It is a skin condition that causes the skin to have an irregular darkening of the skin. This is usually caused by injury, excessive sun exposure, acne marks and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can make someone feel very self-conscious. One way to easily treat these blemishes is with the help of a dermatologist. However, another way is through home remedies and avoiding triggers for hyperpigmentation.
Today’s hyperpigmentation and acne market look very different to that of a decade or even five years ago. Many different treatments and medications are on offer, but the one area they can all agree on is the importance of preventing both from becoming long-term problems.
The first stage in managing acne is to make sure you have an understanding of what causes it. Acne, for example, is caused by changes in hormone levels, which are influenced by your diet and stress levels.
A good way to start treating your hyperpigmentation begins with an accurate diagnosis as to what is causing it, as there are many acne treatments on offer that are not effective for hyperpigmentation.
A number of factors play into how severe your acne will be. While certain medications that you might take for other underlying issues can make your acne worse, there are also many factors that can be improved through healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
Finding a balance between healthy lifestyle choices while having other underlying issues taken into consideration is key in ensuring you have the best possible chance at managing and improving your hyperpigmentation or acne.
Hyperpigmentation acne is a type of acne where the skin gets dark spots. Dark spots occur when the skin is damaged by inflammation or injury to the skin. However, the main cause is usually inflammation in the skin. Most of the time, lesions caused by hyperpigmentation remain on the face and neck areas.
Table of Contents
How Does Hyperpigmentation Acne Affect Confidence & Self-Esteem?
So, you’ve got a pimple on your face, what do you do next? If you’re anything like me, you start the process of self-blame. Somehow it’s always my fault. I pick at my face and end up causing more breakouts. It’s a never-ending cycle of going round and round in circles – trying to get rid of unnecessary pimples while also trying to maintain confidence and a sense of self that doesn’t revolve solely around my appearance.
One of the most frustrating things about dealing with hyperpigmentation acne is how little information there seems to be about it. This is a skin condition that’s even more common than regular acne, but it seems to get less attention from researchers and companies offering skincare solutions. In fact, there are fewer than 30 ingredients that are verified as effective for hyperpigmentation.
Most people have experienced the embarrassing blemish of acne at some point in their lives. It is part of growing up and most people outgrow it over time. However, there are a few people who suffer from acne that leaves behind hyperpigmentation, which is an extended scarring process that is often hard to get rid of.
Hyperpigmentation acne can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Many people feel self-conscious and even embarrassed. As a result, they often hide from the public eye, become too social and avoid going to public places or events.
When a pimple disappears and gets replaced by a dark spot, it is known as hyperpigmentation acne. The risk of hyperpigmentation scars is higher for the ones with dark skin tones and when there is less melanin production, it results in dark spots. Usually, hyperpigmentation acne reduces gradually with time, but if the acne/ scars are deep, that spot becomes permanent. There are some therapies that can fasten the fading process, but it may take many months or years. There are many factors on which its treatment depends, like your skin type, the severity of the situation, and skin tone.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation Acne
After a pimple disappears, dark spots can appear as extra melanin is produced by the skin. Melanin is responsible for skin color, hence if it’s overproduced in one patch or spot, it can cause the skin to look brown or dark brown, or tan. In the dermis part of the skin, some forms of hyperpigmentation acne can occur and these are blue-grey colors that can be permanent. There are various intensities of hyperpigmentation for which doctors are unsure and further studies are going on to know what influences this.
Post skin inflammation, melanin over-production can start. There are some experts who believe that immune factors and inflammation can cause melanin production, but the exact reason behind this is still not sure, but some of these factors include chemokines, prostanoids, and reactive oxygen. Once hyperpigmentation acne develops, its appearance can also intensify due to external factors.
Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation Acne
Hyperpigmentation occurs when there’s an excess of melanin in a given area. In layman’s terms, this is what causes your skin to have uneven color. When you have this problem, it can be difficult to cover up. This hyperpigmentation is usually the result of trauma to the skin, such as acne.
Hypertrophic acne scars are raised bumps on the skin that can appear red or brown in color. They’re caused by inflammation around the hair follicles and can last for months or even years after the original pimple heals.
Treatment of Hyperpigmentation Acne
The first thing to treat hyperpigmentation or acne treatment is to know its cause. If acne disappears and becomes a dark spot, one should prevent it to become hyperpigmentation acne. Early treatment of this is very important as it can fasten the fading process. Some spots can also go away without treatment but can take up to 4 to 12 months. But the ones which are deep in the dermis could be difficult to fade and might become permanent.
There are many ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation acne of which 10 ways are as follows:
Use products with vitamin C, kojic acid, glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that is derived from sugar cane. It can be found in many beauty products, ranging from moisturizers to cleansers and spot treatment creams.
Glycolic acid helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by improving cell renewal and stimulating the production of collagen. It is also used to remove dead skin cells, which allows moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Over time, your skin may develop dark spots from a variety of causes. These include:
- Sun damage – UV rays from sun exposure can cause dark spots and uneven skin tone.
- Aging – As you get older, your skin becomes thinner and more delicate, allowing your skin to develop visible brown patches.
- Hormones – Hormonal changes can cause acne and other breakouts that leave behind dark spots.
Glycolic acid dissolves the glue that binds old skin cells to reveal a smooth, even skin surface. It has been used for many years as an exfoliant in various skin care products because of its ability to promote new cell growth and quicken the healing process.
Reduction in brown spots – Glycolic acid promotes rapid surface skin cell turnover, reducing brown spots and other hyperpigmentation.
Lightens dark spots over time – Glycolic acid can lighten dark spots in addition to preventing new ones from forming. This is because glycolic acid stimulates epidermis melanocytes which produce the pigments of melanin responsible for brown spots and acne scars.
Vitamin C is another important antioxidant that can keep your body healthy. Known famously as ascorbic acid, it can reduce scarring effects and increase collagen production.
Vitamin C is one nutrient that has been proven time and time again to have a variety of benefits including antioxidant properties which can help protect your skin from damaging free radicals, and even help with clearing dark spots and reducing wrinkles.
Many studies suggest that an increase in vitamin C levels in skin tissue is directly proportional to the inhibition of melanin production in skin cells. This means that vitamin C can be very helpful in preventing hyperpigmentation such as dark spots on the face, especially when coupled with a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies, which are also a major source of this anti-aging nutrient.
The best sources of vitamin C for beautiful, clear skin include brightly colored foods such as red peppers, sweet potatoes, berries, and citrus fruits.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C may be helpful in improving the appearance of dark spots, according to some dermatologists. Vitamin C is a primary ingredient in many skin-care products because it helps skin to regenerate. Vitamin C may also help stimulate collagen production, which can tighten your skin and reduce wrinkles.
Also known as a natural bleach, kojic acid is used for aging, and spot removal, and is best for brown-colored acne.
Alpha arbutin is extracted from the bearberry plant. It’s considered as an alternative to hydroquinone and it’s been used for a long time to lighten dark spots and fade melasma or dark pigmentations. You can find alpha-arbutin in various skin-lightening products.
Why Alpha Arbutin is Better Than Hydroquinone?
Alpha arbutin is the safest and most effective skin-lightening agent available today. It is also one of the most potent alternatives to hydroquinone.
Here are a few reasons why it is better than hydroquinone:
- Unlike hydroquinone, which must be custom compounded in a doctor’s office, alpha arbutin is available over-the-counter.
- Alpha arbutin has no known toxic side effects (for example, it doesn’t cause exogenous ochronosis).
By comparison, hydroquinone readily absorbs into the skin and can cause a host of side effects including exogenous ochronosis, the brown pigmentation around the nose and mouth, hyperpigmentation, blistering, redness, and itchiness.
- Alpha arbutin won’t bleach your skin.
- Alpha arbutin has a higher concentration of melanin-stimulating properties.
Alpha Arbutin FAQs
- Is Alpha Arbutin the same thing as hydroquinone?
No, hydroquinone and alpha-arbutin work differently. Hydroquinone is a powerful chemical that lightens skin by slowing down the production of melanin in the skin. On the other hand, alpha-arbutin lightens the skin naturally by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. It has also been shown to promote collagen production and improve skin elasticity and texture.
- What are the side effects of using Alpha Arbutin?
Alpha arbutin is a topical antioxidant ingredient derived from the bearberry plant. It has been reported to be gentle and safe, even when used in high amounts. To date, no side effect of this ingredient has been reported
- What is the recommended dosage for Alpha Arbutin?
The recommended dosage for alpha-arbutin is from 0.5% up to 2%, but it all depends on skin type. For sensitive skin, less than 1% concentration is recommended.
- How do I know if Alpha Arbutin is right for me?
If you’re looking for a solution to address hyperpigmentation, there’s a good chance that Alpha Arbutin is the perfect fit for your skin type. However, always consult your doctor for expert advice on whether this is the right treatment for you.
Alpha Arbutin also has anti-aging properties, so if you’re looking to arrest signs of aging or preserve the elasticity of your skin, this could be a good match for you.
But remember – Alpha Arbutin is not a miracle cure. Skin lightening is a gradual process, so it’s important to remember that no product can deliver instant results.
One common solution for hyperpigmentation is to treat it with a laser treatment. This treatment takes a little time and money, but it is worth it in the end, as it helps remove the brown spots on your face. This treatment uses light energy to improve skin surface and is used when hyperpigmentation cases are more severe. Also known as resurfacing treatment, it grows new skin with an even tone and smoother surface. These are also good for fair skin as some laser techniques can result in brown spots in the case of dark skin. Please see your doctor/ dermatologist if you want to go for a laser peel.
In this technique, the epidermis is removed using a handpiece or small crystals, and works nicely for flat spots. This works best for fair skin and might be required weekly to get the best results. Usually done at experts’ or dermatologists’ offices, microdermabrasion is considered a less effective form of dermabrasion.
This is the most common form of treatment. Photoprotection is defined as the use of sun creams or lotions and is an important technique for common people. Usually, hyperpigmentation impacts are more visible if someone has sun exposure, hence experts advise that there should be minimal exposure to the sun for people with hyperpigmentation acne problems. They should always use sunscreen and wear clothes that keep them away from the sun.
Products with Niacinamide & Retinoids
Niacinamide is from Vitamin B3 and is usually found in anti-aging and wrinkles products as it has the ability to retain water and can increase collagen production.
Retinoids are from Vitamin A and usually work by going deep into your skin.
According to skincare experts, face yoga is extremely beneficial in treating acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Along with reducing facial tension, they are also helpful in removing toxins from the system. Regular practice of face yoga can help improve hormonal imbalance.
There could be people who might not go for medication or therapies, hence using makeup or cosmetic camouflage could be the best option for them. One can use concealer (waterproof and non-greasy), or liquid bleach to hide all these spots.
You can also use chemical peels, which are less expensive than laser treatment, but they need to be done more often over the course of a few months. It uses acids to remove the skin’s outer layer which leaves smoother and even-toned skin. These containers are AHA and BHA (Glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Usually, it doesn’t matter the type of acids as these peels contain very high amounts of acid. Chemical peels generally reduce the dark spots appearance while over-the-counter medicines remove the upper skin. It’s very important to target the middle layer of skin as well, hence peel from a professional expert or dermatologist is required. This technique of chemical peeling is best for the skin if it’s fair.
If you are looking for ways to treat your hyperpigmentation without spending too much money and without going to see a dermatologist, then try a DIY hyperpigmentation remedy at home.
Hyperpigmentation acne is one of the main reasons for scarring. It also affects the self-esteem of people who have it. Hyperpigmentation usually occurs in dark-skinned people. It can be caused by a variety of factors like; sun exposure, stress, hormonal changes, aging, injury, inflammation and infections.
Hyperpigmentation can be treated with a number of remedies like; ayurvedic remedies that possess antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties like neem, turmeric, saffron, amla, essential oils, etc.
You can also consume neem leaves every day blended in milk along with Guduchi and turmeric. Another way is to make a paste using these ingredients and apply it externally to the problematic areas of your skin.
Why You Might be Failing at Treating Dark Spots on Face?
Even though we are so well aware of the fact that it’s great to use home remedies to treat dark spots and blemishes, seems that most of us are not quite familiar with these remedies. That’s why we have put together this list of the most commonly used treatment methods and the reasons why they fail.
Here are — things you need to know before treating your dark spots:
- Dark spots on the face need a very specific formula containing a few ingredients that are proven effective for reducing their appearance. Health and beauty can be a difficult industry. A whole lot of time and effort is put into maintaining the perfect body, skin and hair. But why do we often find ourselves struggling with minor issues like getting rid of dark spots on faces? The answer is that most of us make mistakes regarding our beauty regime.
- You have the wrong products. The right products to treat dark spots are brightening exfoliating and hydrating products. Products with vitamin c and hydroquinone are your best bet.
Products with retinol and glycolic acid help with exfoliation to promote the turnover of new skin.
Products with niacinamide, avocado oil and jojoba oil will ensure your skin is moisturized throughout the process.
- You’re using expired products. Stale products can’t treat anything. Always remember to check the expiry date of your skin care products before you use them.
- You aren’t using enough products. Creams and serums are not enough, you need to apply them as instructed. Some people think that 1 or 2 applications are enough, but you need at least 8-12 weeks of consistent treatment for changes to show.
The first 4 weeks are the hardest, after that, you should see changes in your skin if you’re using the right products and applying them as instructed.
How Can You Speed Up Your Dark Spots Lightening Process?
Any skin darkening can be caused by several factors such as hormones, stress, hormones, inflammation, and genetics. Some dark spots appear due to hormones (mainly from birth control), blood vessels showing through or targeting an infection or inflammation like rosacea. The most common dark spots are known as Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) and melasma. Melasma is common in women who tend to have more melanin in their skin, which makes them more prone to sun damage.
Vitamin A derivatives and retinoids are used to get rid of PIH and melasma by reducing the amount of melanin produced in the skin and speeding up cell turnover. However, there is a big difference between getting rid of hyperpigmentation (PIH & melasma) and getting rid of acne scars. The former can take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months while the latter can take 6 months up to 1 year.
However, there are a few things you can do now that can help speed up your acne scar and dark spots lightening process:
- Eat nuts & fruits high in Vitamin C such as kiwi, papaya, grapefruit & strawberries.
- Use vitamin C-based products like vitamin C serum & vitamin C moisturizer.
- Use products with niacinamide & arbutin for a more even skin tone.
- Make sure to prevent further breakouts on the same spot.
Your dermatologist can give you the best treatment with prescription medicines, skin-lightening products, and OTC products. Hyperpigmentation acne is very different compared to acne as it’s not a simple pimple, but a dark spot on the skin. The populations that are more at risk of developing this include Hispanics, Asians, Middle Eastern, and pacific islanders.