Because of the amount of melanin in their skin, people with darker skin tend to have more prominent and noticeable scarring. Acne, eczema, and wounds are some of the most common causes of scarring, and those have the ability to either darken or lighten dark skin, a condition known as hyperpigmentation.
While it is nearly impossible to reduce it at home, there are ways to minimise its visibility. And we’ve looked into how you can reduce these unsightly spots…
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Excess melanin can form in the skin in some cases, causing hyperpigmentation – when an area of skin appears darker than the skin around it. Melanin is a pigment found in our skin, and while it is present in all skin types, skin of colour contains more melanin than white skin.
Hyperpigmentation can occur in the epidermis, dermis, or both. The outer layer of your skin is called the epidermis, and the dermis is deeper in your skin below the epidermis. Although epidermal hyperpigmentation is easier to treat, it may take months to see results. Dermal hyperpigmentation is more difficult to treat and can be permanent in some cases. Hyperpigmentation is also more severe and lasts longer in people of colour, and it can cause psychological distress, so an effective treatment is essential.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation in people of colour can be caused by a number of factors, including:
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by an injury or an inflammatory skin condition. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, lupus, insect bites, cuts, and burns are just a few of the possible causes. Because post-inflammatory pigmentation appears on the site of your injury or inflammation, you may notice a darker spot on your skin after your acne heals.
Melasma is a condition characterised by larger areas of hyperpigmentation. It usually appears on the face and can be found on the forehead, nose, cheeks, jawline, or chin. It can also appear on your neck, arms, or chest, though this is less common. It is unknown what causes melasma, but it is thought that sun exposure, genetic factors, hormonal changes, and certain medications or cosmetics all play a role.
How Do You Treat Hyperpigmentation?
Before you can begin treating hyperpigmentation, you must first determine what is causing it. If the dark spots are caused by acne, you should see a dermatologist before addressing them.
Sunlight can make dark spots appear even darker, which is why using sunscreen is critical in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. To better absorb harmful UV rays, your skin cells produce more melanin, therefore to protect the skin, you should wear SPF every day, regardless of the weather, and use a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist is a lightweight SPF 50 sunscreen that can be used under or over makeup. It has a non-greasy texture and an invisible finish, allowing your makeup to last longer. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which keeps your skin feeling and looking hydrated.
If you prefer your a cream SPF, the Avène Very High Protection B-Protect SPF50+ Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin is formulated with the brand’s Thermal Spring Water to soothe and hydrate your skin while protecting it from environmental aggressors and UV exposure.