Post-Summer Skincare: Treating Hyperpigmentation
As summer winds down to a close, many of us may be noticing some unpleasant effects of a season of fun in the sun.
Though spending time outdoors during the summer months is fun, it can also lead to uneven skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation or dark spots, especially if proper sun care was neglected.
What is Hyperpigmentation and How is it Formed?
Regardless of skin tone, every person’s skin contains melanin, a pigment produced by melanocytes in the skin that acts as a form of natural protection against harmful UV rays by absorbing them and redistributing their energy.
However, when melanocytes are overly stimulated by sun exposure, they are triggered to overproduce melanin, resulting in dark spots on the skin known as hyperpigmentation. These spots tend to worsen as we age.
Years of sun exposure add up and is especially visible on areas where sun exposure is frequent and unavoidable, such as the face and hands.
Treatment for Hyperpigmented Skin
Since the early nineteenth century people have used the chemical compound hydroquinone to lighten dark spots on the skin by fading present hyperpigmentation and prevent it by reducing the production of melanin.
While hydroquinone was undoubtedly a powerful treatment against hyperpigmentation, scientists began to question the product’s safety.
After studies began showing some of the dangerous side effects of using hydroquinone, the FDA deemed it unsafe as a potential carcinogen. In addition to being a probable cancer causer, hydroquinone has also been found to be a skin irritant and makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, and therefore more susceptible to accruing hyperpigmentation.
Using hydroquinone can also result in the skin over lightening, resulting in a bullseye effect around dark spots known as a halo spot, or can even cause an opposite reaction, causing the skin to darken in a condition called ochronisis.
Strangely, the treatment is still available by prescription in the U.S. but has been banned in several other countries due to its potential carcinogenic properties and contaminants found in the product such as mercury.
Natural Alternatives for Treatment
If you are searching for a safer alternative to hydroquinone to alleviate hyperpigmentation, reach for products containing a Natural Hydroquinone Alternative to even out your complexion and also add antioxidant benefits for protection and prevention.
Look for organic products with ingredients like extracts from bearberry and licorice root, Tara tree and African potato to inhibit melanin production effectively and naturally.
Ingredients such as stone crop, punarnava root and Vitamin C also help to brighten the skin. Eminence’s trademarked Gigawhite formulation, which is made up of seven organically grown Swiss Alpine plants also work powerfully against hyperpigmentation.
What Else Can You Do?
Though at home treatment of the skin with products containing these ingredients will certainly help to minimize the appearance of dark spots, the best option is to avoid sun damage before it’s too late by consistently wearing an SPF and by covering the skin with sun protective clothing.
Another great way to target hyperpigmentation is with regular professional facial treatments, especially deeper treatments such as microdermabrasion.