We see it nearly every day: People stressed that their skin looks “splotchy,” or that they have “spots.”
In many of these cases, the culprit is hyperpigmentation, one of the most common causes of skin discoloration. Yes, these dark patches are noticeable. But the good news is, they’re not as scary as you think.
Actually, the good news about hyperpigmentation is three-fold:
- Hyperpigmentation is very common, so you don’t stand out as much as you think you do. Loads of people experience it, especially in our older Sarasota-Manatee population.
- Hyperpigmentation is totally natural.
- There are many all-natural treatments available to reduce hyperpigmentation.
Our certified, experienced aestheticians will be happy to give you a thorough hyperpigmentation consult and walk you through your own personalized treatment plan. In fact, as a Bradenton med spa, hyperpigmentation is among our most treated skin conditions.
As with so many skin issues our certified professional aestheticians encounter at Bellagena: We’re familiar with the problem, we can figure out what’s causing it, and we’re experts at the treatment.
Where Does Your Skin’s Color Come From?
The color in your skin comes from a natural substance called melanin. Melanin is normally produced in your skin’s inner layers and also provides the color of your hair and eyes.
Melanin’s primary purpose is to absorb UV light from the sun in order to protect your skin. (This is why people with naturally darker skin tones—ie more melanin—are on average at less risk of skin cancer.) Therefore, when you spend more time in the sun, your body produces more melanin. Hello, Florida summer!
What is Hyperpigmentation?
When parts of your skin overproduce melanin, we see that as hyperpigmentation. Unlike a natural, even tanning of the skin, hyperpigmentation occurs when the melanin overproduces unevenly in patches or spots.
Hyperpigmentation can occur anywhere on the body, and it varies in size.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
While it’s not always immediately apparent what has caused hyperpigmentation in an individual, science has made a few connections between your body’s normal functions and melanin production.
It often boils down to hormones, inflammation, and/or sun exposure.
Therefore, the following conditions or situations can be linked to hyperpigmentation:
- Hormonal fluctuation (including pregnancy, menopause, perimenopause or birth control). This usually results in a condition called melasma.
- Medications, including chemotherapy;
- Endocrine conditions like Addison’s disease;
- Too much sun.
How Do You Treat Hyperpigmentation?
First, we determine the cause of your hyperpigmentation before recommending a treatment regimen. Fortunately, there are lots of options!
Traditional prescription and over-the-counter hyperpigmentation skincare solutions focus on lightening the affected areas. Rx hydroquinone or OTC topical retinoids, used consistently over several months, have been shown to lighten skin in some cases. (Unfortunately, hydroquinone overuse can also cause skin darkening, which is the opposite of what we’re going for in this case!)
At Bradenton’s Bellagena, we focus instead of tyrosinase inhibitors and anti-inflammatory solutions. Tyrosinase is part of a key step in how the body turns amino acids into melanin. So when we suppress the tyrosinase, we suppress the melanin production.
Our favorite, most effective tyrosinase inhibitors include
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Healthy, all-natural—what more could you ask for?
- Kojic acid: This traditional Japanese skincare ingredient was discovered as a byproduct of sake, soy sauce and rice wine.
- Resveratrol: The polyphenol antioxidant associated with red wine, resveratrol has well-proven anti-inflammatory properties that soothe your body’s melanin triggers.
- Ellagic acid and other antioxidants: Ellagic acid is an antioxidant that comes from fruits and nuts, so safe and effective that it’s commonly recommended to pregnant people for pigmentation issues.
These skincare solutions are available in a variety of topical skincare products; oral options have also been developed over the last few years, though they’ve been studied less.
As with all our skincare solutions, it’s important that your whole skin health is taken into account while utilizing these treatments. That means having a proper cleansing and exfoliating routine to ensure that your skin is otherwise healthy and most receptive to the tyrosinase inhibitors.
Of course, we also recommend that you stay out of the sun as much as possible while treating your hyperpigmentation. Otherwise you’re just treading water.