What Is Hyperpigmentation?

The Problem: Dark Spots and Uneven Skin Tone

Hyperpigmentation, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. Known by many names such as brown spots, liver spots, age spots, sunspots, melasma, pregnancy mask and solar lentigines, hyperpigmentation can affect the skin color of people of any race, and usually appears on the face, hands and other areas commonly exposed to the sun.

The Cause

Hyperpigmentation occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. The number one cause of hyperpigmentation is sun damage. However, slower cell turnover, which happens as we age, can further contribute to the prominent appearance of an uneven skin tone. Additional causes for hyperpigmentation include hormonal changes in women, injuries to the skin, acne and genetics. But no matter what the cause, all forms of hyperpigmentation become worse with exposure to the sun, as melanin absorbs the energy of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays in order to protect the skin from overexposure.

Hyperpigmentation vs. Melasma

Melasma, or chloasma spots, is another form of hyperpigmentation. Though similar in appearance to age spots, melasma takes up larger areas of darkened skin and often occurs as a result of hormonal changes. For example, shifting hormones during and after pregnancy can trigger an overproduction in melanin that can cause melasma spots on the face and abdomen, among other areas. This is one reason melasma is also commonly called the “mask of pregnancy.” Women who take birth control pills may also develop hyperpigmentation as the drug alters women’s hormones.

The Solution

Use an at-home skincare regimen, consistently, that is designed to even skin tone and increase cell turnover. Not only are Stemology products natural and clinically proven, they also use proprietary StemCore-3 Technology, featuring stem cell derivatives (skin specifically cell cultured tissue), combined with other peptides, plant stem cells and ingredient “helpers” for maximum effect. Use a natural, clinically proven, skin lightener, without hydroquinone. Most prescription creams used to lighten skin contain hydroquinone. However, hydroquinone is a controversial ingredient that has been banned for cosmetic use in other countries such as the UK. Before using a treatment with hydroquinone, do your research on the ingredient. Many studies have found that it can be carcinogenic and toxic. We say “better safe than sorry” and recommend our Cell Revive Brightening Serum for a safe, natural, and chemical-free way to even skin tone. Professional facials and laser treatments can help with hyperpigmentation. If seeking a laser treatment, ensure that you are going to a licensed professional esthetician and that he or she tests the treatment in an inconspicuous place as the treatment potentially could make the condition worse instead of better. If you think your hyperpigmentation could be caused by hormonal shifts or medications, consult your doctor about adjusting or changing your medications. If birth control pills seem to be the culprit, explore other birth control methods through your physician. Because hyperpigmentation is worsened by sun exposure always, always wear sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends daily use of a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, applying it at least 30 minutes prior to going outside and reapplying every two hours. Here’s to your best skin at every age!