Everything you ever wanted to know about hyper-pigmentation

Including how to get rid of it!
Image: Getty.

Hyper-pigmentation is a fancy word for the dark spots and / or patches of skin that many of us develop as we age, especially here in Australia where the climate is harsh and many of the skins are pale.

That’s kind of a hyper-pigmentation perfect storm if you will.

You see, these browns spots are mainly caused by sun exposure – which we tend to get a lot of here. And as such, they’re most commonly found on areas of skin that get sun exposure – so we’re talking your face, arms, and legs.

Clearly the most effective way to deal with these spots is to prevent them before they ever develop – which is easy really. All you need do is stay out of the sun and / or practice sun-smart behaviour.

You know what we’re talking about here – no sun exposure between the hours of 10am and 2pm (when the sun’s rays are most harsh), always wearing a hat and sun-protective clothing and plenty of sun screen with a high level of SPF (30 plus at the very least please).

But if you haven’t done that from birth (and who has?) then you likely already have some of these spots and patches showing. So what to do?

Paula Begoun, beauty expert and founder of the range Paula’s Choice, says your best bet is a combination of topical lotions or gels containing melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a well-formulated sunscreen and a prescription retinoid. You’ll need to see a dermatologist for that last one.

Chemical peels can also help diminish these spots and patches. Then there are also lasers and intense pulsed light treatments, both of which have been shown to make dramatic improvements.

girl with freckles
Freckles are pretty – sunspots … not so much. (Image: Getty.)

Sylvia Down, practice manager at Skin Renu, recommends Fraxel Laser for her clients who are concerned about pigmentation. It’s effective in removing dark spots and patches and also boosts collage meaning you look younger and more fresh, she says.

A definite bonus.

At White Hill Medi Spa they love a chemical peel. There’s no downtime, clients walk out with a knock-out glow and dark spots are reduced too. If you prefer a more natural approach there are powerful serums and creams to try.

Australian Skin Clinics’ National Training Manager, Darlene O’Gara, recommends laser rejuvenation treatments and also micro-needling for hyper-pigmentation, broken blood vessels and general redness.

“Micro-needling is a great treatment for stimulating the deeper layers of the skin with vibration-free micro needles, working to rebuild and restore the skin by reducing wrinkles and fine lines, and evening the texture and tone of the skin,” says Darlene.

Dermal Specialist Lucy Kuper likes Biologi Bqk Radiance Serum for combatting this very problem.

Biologi skin serum
(Image: Supplied.)

“It’s aimed at reducing pigmentation, improving skin tone and refining skin clarity,” says Lucy.

And it’s 100 per cent natural for the clean green beauty fans amongst us. Other powerful pigmentation-fighting products we like include Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum, Caudalie Vinoperfect Anti Dark Spot Serum and Swisse Blood Orange Brightening Facial Serum.

For sunscreen you can’t go past Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear Sheer Tint SPF30+ or La Roche-Posay Uvidea XL Melt-In BB Cream SPF 50+.

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