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Hyperpigmentation

When you have a problem with hyperpigmentation on your face, it means that you have excess and unwanted pigment. This is pigment that is present in your skin beyond what is normal for your natural skin complexion. This can happen for many reasons. The most common reasons for abnormal excess pigment include:

  1. Healed skin injuries, including pimples, rashes, and wounds (called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Here, melanin and sometimes iron from red blood cells are left behind in skin to cause brown discoloration.
  2. Melasma (hyperpigmentation that can be in both of the top two living cell layers called the epidermis and the dermis). Melasma is also erroneously called “the mask of pregnancy” because your personal hormone levels may play a role in causing this skin problem.
  3. Age spots. Most of the brown color of age spots is due to excessive sun exposure over the years. These are also erroneously called “liver spots” though the liver has nothing to do with them.
  4. Dead cell build-up. Thickened and excessive dead skin cells can hold melanin pigment to create increased brown skin color. This is easy to fix, as simple exfoliation can remove the brown color.

Because melanin pigment production is stimulated by UV sun exposure, the most important treatment for all facial hyperpigmentation problems is sun protection. In addition, exfoliation of the dead cell layer that holds pigment will lighten hyperpigmentation, often quite quickly. Use of products that also loosen the 'glue' that holds skin cells together will help enhance exfoliation. These ingredients are called keratolytics and they include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinoids (prescription tretinoin and non-prescription retinol).

There are also ingredients in skin care products that can help to even skin color by turning down the production rate of melanin. These ingredients include the retinoids mentioned above and vitamin C, hydroquinone, and some botanicals like kojic acid.

Create your complete skin care regimen by addressing as many of these treatments and interventions as possible. The essential skin care steps are:

  1. Cleanse with cleansers that exfoliate like Replenix Scrub, and/or use a Facial Buf Puf Sponge with your favorite cleanser. Cleansers with glycolic acid and salicylic acid are excellent choices, such as the Foaming Acne Cleanser, especially if your hyperpigmentation is from acne lesions. 
  2. Correct by both removing existing pigment and turning down pigment production using Retinol Night Treatment, Glycolic Acid Face Cream, Pigment Fading Pads, or Vitamin C Serum.
  3. Hydrate with moisturizers matched to your skin type.
  4. Protect with only the best broad spectrum zinc oxide sun protection. Match the product to your skin type so that you love your sunscreen and use it 365 days a year.

 

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