The Best Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

I didn’t really struggle much with acne when I was in high school. I thought that I was in the clear, until I got to college and a combination of poor diet, stress, and drinking caused my skin to go crazy. I constantly had clusters of breakouts around my mouth and on my cheeks. I tried many different treatments and after 5 years I have finally managed to get things under control! Of course, my acne couldn’t leave without a departing gift: acne scars.

A lot of people think that clearing their acne will resolve all of their skin issues, but in reality it is just one head of the Hydra! Often times scars and hyperpigmentation are left behind once the acne has cleared. Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by sun damage. So….how do you slay that dragon? Let’s discuss!


Hyperpigmentation: Over the Counter Treatments

One of the products I developed to help combat hyper pigmentation is our SHINE face oil. SHINE naturally fades dark spots and blemishes on the skin, for a more even skin tone. Comprised of moisturizing oils, it hydrates and nourishes, while naturally diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. And *bonus!* you can now purchase a small sample of SHINE for just $2 to try the feel + smell of it before you commit.

Another great way to help with acne scars? Invest in Niacinamide! It has a lightening effect on skin affected by hyperpigmentation. It works by inhibiting melanin transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. At 2% concentration, niacinamide was shown to reduce facial sebum production which can decrease the prevalence of acne in some individuals and, in turn, prevent formation of acne marks. And if you want to bump it up to 4%, a study done by Procter & Gamble showed that 4% niacinamide combined with n-acetylglucosamine (2%) had a profound lightening effect on hyperpigmented skin with little to no adverse effects. (source)

Another great ingredient to look for is licorice root extract (one of SHINE’s ingredients). Licorice contains glabridin, which inhibits the enzyme responsible for melanin production. You can try adding licorice extract to your finished beauty products; don’t add more than 10% concentration for the whole container!  Some quick math should help you avoid adding too much.


Hyperpigmentation: Office Procedures

If you’ve tried everything and are still struggling with hyperpigmentation, you can always seek help from a professional. A popular in office procedure known as dermabrasion can help lighten hyper pigmentation. Dermabrasion is a technique that uses a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges (called a burr or fraise) to remove the upper layers of the skin. The brush or burr rotates rapidly, taking off and leveling (abrading or planing) the top layers of the skin. This process injures or wounds the skin and causes it to bleed. As the wound heals, new skin grows to replace the damaged skin. (source) This procedure is most commonly done for those suffering from hyperpigmentation as a result of acne scars.


Takeaways: Treating Hyperpigmentation

Most people experience some hyperpigmentation for one reason or another, so even though it can totally suck and take a huge toll on your self esteem, there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about! And there are so many products and procedures out there to help. You just have to find the one that works for you! Good luck, and keep your head up.

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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