What is hyperpigmentation?
There are many theories on how to treat pigmentation but first, what is hyperpigmentation?Hyperpigmentation is a darkened area of the skin caused by the over production of melanin. This overproduction can be induced by sun damage, post acne healing, scar healing or hormonal and internal imbalances and stagnation.
What is melanin in relation to sun-damage?
Melanin is pigment found in layers of the skin, giving skin its color and is produced by melanocytes. Sun exposure stimulates the production of melanin. This is your skin working to protect itself from the damaging effects of the sun. This is why your skin becomes darker after sun exposure.
Sun exposure can also cause a permanent stretching (dilation) of small blood vessels, leaving skin with a mottled, reddish appearance.
What is sun-damage?
Also known as age spots, solar lentigines are flat spots of increased pigmentation, usually brown, black or gray. They vary in size and can be found on the face, hands, upperback and areas most exposed to the sun. Solar lentigines increase with repeated sun exposure and age. They can develop in large numbers and are different from freckles, which are red or light brown and smaller in size. Freckles tend to develop earlier in life, and can lighten in winter months.
Lentigo maligna is a type of pigmentation growth that starts as a dark flat spot that slowly darkens, enlarges and develops in areas of long-term sun exposure, such as face, hands and legs. Eventually the spots can develop into a melanoma, a type of skin cancer that begins in the top layer of skin and then invades the underlying skin tissues.
Too much sun exposure and the sun’s ultraviolet rays breakdown the collagen, elastin and connective tissue deep inside the skin. This causes the skin to loose it’s strength, resulting in sagging, creases and loose skin.
It is also worth mentioning there are many reasons that exposure to the sun is important for health. It is when the exposure veers into too much, too often. The damaging effects of the sun are also related to how much inflammation there is in one’s body. Inflammation makes us more reactive to the negative effects of the sun.
*Pay close attention and have spots/moles/freckles checked by a dermatologist regularly, especially if they change shape, color or become itchy or inflamed.*
What is post hyperpigmentation?
Pigmentation left from acne, cuts, scrapes or minor injury to the skin due to tissue inflammation and can be treated similarly.
How to treat Hyperpigmentation externally
Begin with a supportive product routine. Opt for a botanically based results driven and a both a hydrating and lightly exfoliating home care routine. Avoid heavy creams and oils on the skin, as these can cause a sluggishness to the skin when used improperly and will increase the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Pair your product use with supportive skin movement practices such as Gua Sha, lymphatic drainage and face massage. These movement modalities works by assisting micro-circulation, lymphatic drainage and the bodies natural metabolic processes to breakdown. This will help to remove waste and keep skin nourished while building clarity from the inside out.
If you are exposed to the sun often, a large brimmed hat and zinc or titanium dioxide mineral based SPF is a must to treat hyperpigmentation concerns, as this protects skin from further hyperpigmentation.
How to treat hyperpigmentation through more medical style spa style methods could include a series of microneedling treatrments. These treatments must be performed by a knowledable practitioner and will yield best results with a holistic and nourishing and supportive home care routine.
How to treat Hyperpigmentation internally
Hyperpigmentation can be a representation of heat and/or stagnation in the body. The liver is alos very connected to hyperpigmentation in the skin. Alcohol, inflammatory foods, diet and stress can all create a blotchiness/stagnation and lack of lymph movement in the skin. Each if these factors effect the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Both internal and external hydration are also key components in keeping the complexion flushed and healthy.
Keep inflammation low throughout the body, avoid a heat inducing diet, keep coffee (acidic) to a minimum, little to no alcohol and avoid birth control and both synthetic medication and supplements. The more hydrated, well rested and well fed with high energetic food, the less noticeable pigmentation concerns may be. Exhaustion, stress, frustration and agitation can also induce blotchiness and deepen pigmentation concerns . Our emotional states heavily reflect through our skin and you can read more about this correlation of emotional health and skin here.
With all of that being said, hyperpigmentation is so common. Do not let the filters and lighting methods of the current times believing otherwise. I’ve shared the photo above to show my own skin and hyperpigmentation.
With Love, Jen xx