Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin texture has far surpassed lines and wrinkles as women’s top skin concerns. We value skin that looks as close to clear and healthy as possible – with or without laugh and frown lines. Here’s the lowdown on hyperpigmentation…
Your probability to develop pigmentation is in your genes
Simply explained, hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction and uneven distribution of melanocytes in the skin. The darker your skin is to start with, the more melanocytes you already have. As melanocytes’ main function is protecting your skin, more protection signals are sent in darker, melanin-rich skins.
This is also why paler skins generally react to sun damage differently – sunburn and peeling in the short term, and long-term textural damage and lines and wrinkles presenting at a much younger age long term.
There’s more than one type of pigmentation
Hyperpigmentation comes in many forms – the most common ones being UV, post-inflammatory and hormonal.
Pigmentation resulting from UV damage can appear anywhere on the body, and can show up as anything from freckles to large marks.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation results from wounds, injuries, and even repeated friction. Acne scarring is also classified as post-inflammatory pigmentation, as are most marks that result from long-term inflammation in wounds, sores and injuries on the skin surface.
Hormonal hyperpigmentation is generally a result of oestrogen-related imbalances, and most commonly occurs as a side effect of oral contraceptives, during and after fertility treatment and pregnancy, and during menopause. It can also be a side effect of medications or hormonal conditions.
Hormonal pigmentation is notoriously tricky to treat, as treatments are generally ineffective until the root cause has been addressed.
Hyperpigmentation can take years to surface
We often see sun damage incurred as teenagers and young adults showing up as hyperpigmentation in women in their 30s and 40s. It doesn’t even take years of repeated sun exposure – a few bad sunburns is enough to do damage.
Prevention equals cure
While everyone is sick to death of hearing they should wear SPF50 every day, there are multiple reasons you should give in and just do it. While you’re protecting your skin from harmful UV rays with your daily SPF, your skin cells can tick that task off their to-do list and get to work at actually doing a bit more repair work to already damaged cells. Everybody wins.