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Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation refers to abnormal darkening of the skin due to increased production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. The problem can appear in small patches or involve larger areas of the skin. These darkened areas can be challenging to conceal with regular cosmetics. What causes this condition and what can you do about it?

What Causes Excessive Pigmentation of the Skin?

Most frequently areas of abnormal pigmentation are due to sun damage or injury to the skin. Darkly pigmented areas called solar lentigines or age spots are very common on the hands and face. They are caused by damage due to sun exposure. Some medical conditions can contribute as can certain medications. Exposure to toxins or chemicals can also play a role. The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and oral contraceptives can also cause temporary, patchy pigmentation of the skin. It is also very common for people with acne to experience persistent red or purple marks on the skin after acne lesions heal. This is more prevalent among people who pick at their blemishes.

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It is also typical to see areas of increased pigment with other skin conditions such as psoriasis, pityriasis rosea, lichen planus and atopic dermatitis. These skin diseases cause inflammation, which stimulates melanin-producing cells called melanocytes to secrete more melanin. Inflammation can cause skin cells called melanocytes to produce too much pigment.

Hyperpigmentation occurs more frequently in people with skin that is darkly pigmented. There is a skin condition called melasma that occurs more often in those with deeper skin tones. The condition causes dark patches to form on the face, especially on sun-exposed areas. Melasma is more prevalent during pregnancy and is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.”

Treatment

One of the most effective ingredients for lightening darkly pigmented areas is a chemical called hydroquinone. It works by blocking an enzyme responsible for synthesizing the skin pigment melanin. It is most effective when combined with a weak acid such as glycolic acid that exfoliates the surface of the skin. The combination of these two ingredients helps to lighten and lift excessive pigment. Lightening products require up to 2 months for visible results. Some people experience skin irritation and sensitivity.

Corrective cosmetics can camouflage pigmented areas and even out skin tone.

Do Home Remedies Work?

Lemon juice is a home remedy commonly used to treat pigmented areas such as age spots. Lemon juice is a weak acid, which may help to exfoliate the upper layer of skin and lighten the pigment. It’s unlikely to be as effective as hydroquinone, kojic acid or glycolic acid, but you may see some gradual lightening over time with repeated use.

More Advanced Therapies

Dark hyperpigmentation that doesn’t respond to hydroquinone combined with glycolic and kojic acid can be treated with a prescription medication called TriLuma. It contains hydroquinone combined with Retin-A. There is a downside to this option. Retin-A causes skin irritation, redness and peeling in many people, so it’s best to use it only if other products don’t work. Laser therapy, dermabrasion and chemical peels can also be used, but these treatments are expensive and require downtime while the skin heals.

One way to prevent future pigmentation problems is to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that is effective on both UVA and UVB rays. Sun exposure stimulates melanin-producing cells which causes and worsens hyperpigmentation. In addition to applying sunscreen, wear protective clothing and stay out of direct sunlight as whenever possible.

Corrective cosmetics can camouflage pigmented areas and even out skin tone. These products provide good coverage and include a sunscreen to help prevent future pigmentation due to sun exposure. Treatments and cosmetics for excessive pigmentation work best when combined with sunscreen protection.

The Bottom Line?

Skin hyperpigmentation is a common problem. It can usually be lightened by using a combination of hydroquinone with glycolic acid and kojic acid but there are prescription options for unresponsive and more severe cases. Always use sunscreen to prevent future discoloration and to keep existing spots and patches from getting worse.

  

Hyperpigmentation Products

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Proven anti-dark spot action in just 4 weeks.
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A Hydroquinone-free skin lightener for all skin types.
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A two-step system to combat hyperpigmentation or discoloration.
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A rich, luxurious age-defying cream that's keeps skin hydrated, firm & feeling smooth.
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A unique combination of vitamin C, amino acids and minerals encourage collagen and elastin production and promotes wound healing.
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Illuminate dull and stressed skin with this brightening cream.
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Reveal brighter, more even skin tone with this 3 step regimen.
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This DNA repair serum is a powerful age-reversing serum.
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Diminish the look of dark spots and discoloration while brightening skin.
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This blend of brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredients reduces hyperpigmentation and redness.
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3.5oz | JU105
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This powerful blend of skin-illuminating botanicals helps restore clarity and visibly fade dark spots.
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Refines skin's texture and increases hydration as it reveals a visibly brighter complexion.
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Reduce age spots, pigmentation and skin imperfections with this serum.
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A brightening cleansing oil that leaves skin soft, fresh and comfortable.
$39.00
5oz | DC233
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A safe brightening serum that is proven to diminish hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
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1oz | PS011
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A brightening complex for mild to moderate skin pigmentation.
$70.00
1oz | US007
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A solution recommended for hyperpigmentation or discolorations.
$63.00
1.4oz | YK044
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On the go essentials for a brighter, more even skin tone.
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An oil-free tinted moisturizer made to correct uneven skin pigmentation.
$39.00
2oz | JI298
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A powerful age-fighter and potent lightening complex.
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Reduce the causes of discoloration to produce smoother, brighter and more even-toned skin at any age.
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1oz | NZ010
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A multi-tasking, oil and fragrance free lightening treatment that delivers glowing results.
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1oz | GO041
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Formulated by ancient Chinese healers and modern skin care scientists for pigmentation, dark marks and aging skin.
$60.00
1.7oz | FD001
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Bi-weekly complexion evening masque for all skin types looking to improve overall radiance.
$58.95
1oz | KI003
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A natural treatment that helps to clarify skin tone and diminish dark spots.
$63.00
1.7oz | YK045
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Even out skin tone and reduce any discoloration with this oil-free serum
$50.95
0.5oz | KI032
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Reduces the look of dark spots and discolorations while aiding in post-treatment recovery.
$55.00
1oz | FH044
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This formula corrects, brightens and helps prevent the appearance of new dark spots.
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0.5oz | DC217
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A gentle face wash that leaves skin brighter and with a more even complexion.
$28.00
3.4oz | JQ143
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This moisturizer helps to reduce skin discolorations while promoting overall skin wellness.
$50.00
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This lightweight facial mist helps to soften skin and restore youthful radiance.
$39.00
3.3oz | JQ144
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A 10-minute at-home cloth mask that saturates the face and neck with a brightening complex.
$50.00
5 Count | JQ166
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This treatment is a powerfully concentrated serum that helps to reduce skin discolorations.
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1oz | JQ145
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A nourishing and brightening night cream for all skin types.
$68.00
1oz | CP046
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A luxurious, rich and highly absorbent moisturizer for dry or damaged skin.
REG $60.00  NOW $45.00
2.06oz | DJ004
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On-the-spot treatment targets pigmentation marks.
$37.00
0.5oz | DC211
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This moisturizing, correcting cream helps to visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots.
$64.00
1.3oz | CP122
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This oil-free moisturizer smoothes lines, minimizes pores and reduces dark spots.
$64.00
1.3oz | CP098
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Uniquely designed, patented, radiance-releasing brush head duo.
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2 brush heads | CS155
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Microdermabrasion tool for superior exfoliation at home.
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An advanced lightening formula to diminish discoloration and improve overall skin health.
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1oz | SK036
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