Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unnecessary Evil: Hyperpigmentation


As if dealing with huge mountain sized zits isn't traumatizing enough, the after-math of such zits are far worst than the zit itself. Yes I'm speaking about dark spots also known as Hyperpigmentation. If you had a chance to read my skin woes then you know that I am no stranger to acne.  I dealt with it as a tween, teen and grown-ass woman but what I've grown to realize its not necessarily the pimple that I loathe (they are usually gone within a week) its the dark spots that are left behind to remind me of the pimple for months on in. Of course I wouldn't dare pop the pimple as a matter of fact I would avoid it like the plague but once the inflammation went away I was still left with a "friend".  

During one of my many visits to the dermatologist, I was able to gain a better understanding of this common skin condition. After being told "only time will fade the scars" I learned about the causes, effects and treatments that can help fade spots faster.  

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that is caused by an increase in the skin’s melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to skin and hair. Unfortunately, due to the high levels of melanin in our skin, individuals of color are highly susceptible to this common plight; the darker the skin, the more prone to discoloration an individual will be.

There are many factors that will trigger or intensify the appearance of dark spots and scarring. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a direct result of acne. PIH is a discoloration that occurs following an inflammatory wound to the skin; this can include pimples, cuts, burns, picking, etc. When such a trauma takes place, skin cells are automatically triggered to regenerate and produce melanin in order to heal the wound. But the result is typically excessive levels of pigment that surpass the intensity and lifespan of the original spot. Aside from acne, certain drugs and antibiotics can also cause hyperpigmentation, as well as cosmetic procedures like laser hair removal and microdermabrasion. It’s important to note that dark spots are triggered, and extremely intensified, by direct exposure to sunlight as well. Thus, lack of sunscreen use will only make matters ten times worst.

There are both natural and chemical treatments for hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is not permanent so dark marks will eventually fade but this can be a very lengthy process. Natural solutions such as glycolic acid, cocoa and shea butters and Vitamins A/C/E are great for targeting marks because they heal damaged cells.

Another popular option is a chemical lightening agent called Hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is available in varying potencies, typically 1-2% (over-the counter) or 3-4% (by prescription only). It works by blocking the enzymes responsible for melanin production. Thus, it should only be applied directly to the dark spots (otherwise, you will be lightening your regular skin as well). It is strongly advised that products with hydroquinone be used at night, as they can have reverse effects when exposed to sunlight; spots will actually become darker. Even once the creams have soaked into the skin overnight, sunscreen is an absolute must. It is very important that races with darker complexions also protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

For me, my previous accutane treatment and clarisonic helps keep breakouts and hyperpigmentation at bay. I still get random flair ups that leave the dreaded 'dark marks' but I just dab vitamin E oil to help speed the fading process and I WEAR AN SPF 45 MOISTURIZER EVERY-SINGLE-DAY {Aveeno Positively Radiant}!

Here are some products you can to try to rid your skin of hyperpigmentation and help achieve flawless skin: 
Do you have issues with hyperpigmentation? What do you use to help fades the 'dark spots'? 


8 comments:

  1. I have suffered with this issue my whole life. When I was a teen I used the Ambi Cocoa Butter Bar along with their Fade Cream. I think my body because immune to it, because it stopped working for me as the years went on...lol. I then learned about exfoliating which I only do about twice a week (I use St. Ives Apricot scrub). I currently use Palmer's Fade Cream only on the dark spots. For my face wash I uses Palmer's Cocoa Butter bar in the morning and at night. I just recently started used I toner at night which surprising works, which is Apple Cider Vinegar (I learned about that via Youtube)

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  2. Like That Tiffany, I have dealt with this issue for a long time. I just got frustrated with the whole thing, and gave up with trying products to even out my skin. However, I'm at a point in my life where I really want to rev up/improve the look of my skin--so I'm SO glad I found your blog recently and SO glad that you posted this! I'd love to try shea butter, but I'm scared that it would only make my skin oilier, and produce more breakouts...have you had any issues with that? I'm writing down the products you mentioned and will give them a try! =D

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  3. @ That Tiffany, i totally forgot to mention that i use St. Ives Apricot scrub a couple times a week. That stuff rocks... like seriously!

    @ NC Peach, i've stayed away from shea butter on my face for that very reason. I have really oily skin and never wanted to chance it but i do have a friend who also has oily skin that swears by it. if you decide to try it please let me know how it works for you.

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  4. Nice story! I liked it, please share your story because it is very interesting to read so i would like to read more and keep sharing. I become friend follower of this blog.

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  5. I have just recently started to seriously address hyperpigmentation,which have plagued me for nearly two decades.It all started when I was a teenager and kept hair removal cream above my upper lip on for two long which resulted in the whole of my lip area being surrounded in black skin which i wouldn't mind but the rest of me is light skinned so i just look very unsightly like i have a tache and beard or am a messy chocolate gobbler! lol
    Its very unattractive,but must'nt grumble.
    Anyway I have tried civants meladerm please don't bother it dosnt even work as a basic moisturiser let alone a treatment,please dont try natural food stuff like garlic,lemons they just burn and make matters worse by leaving more of the same.microdermabrasion didn't work for me either,nor did homeopathy but what appears to be doing the job is Decleor specifically the aroma white oil and their extreme brightening essence which i use at home with their cleansing and toning products.I have not gone for a facial with these guys so don't have any expert advice thus I'm hapazardly using the products from the knowledge i garner online about massage techniques etc its only been a week or so but my pigmenation appears to be breaking up,i'm pretty much in shock,a noticable improvement from someone who also has vitilgo,pores,spots so its highly unexpected and therefore recommended anyway time will tell I do hope it continues to work on my skin.

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  6. skin Plus is a beauty consultant specializing in medical aesthetics in Delhi. To find out more about skin pigmentation treatments in Delhi.

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  7. skin pigmentation treatment marks are a serious problem that women around the world face. This is especially important in the Middle-East.

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  8. The VLCC Pumpkin Peel Facial is made of natural Pumpkin, which is good for regeneration of cells and, thus, acts as a preventive agent against dryness, ageing and acne. Skin Pigmentation Treatment

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