Acne-related hyperpigmentation refers to the dark patches that develop after a blemish has healed. Although hyperpigmentation is harmless, it can be challenging to heal.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin, usually in dark spots, melasma, scarring, and other conditions. They appear when the skin produces an excess of melanin or pigment. Dark spots and discoloration can show up because of internal and external factors, like unprotected sun exposure, inflammation caused by chronic health conditions, or injuries to the skin.
Melasma, called the pregnancy mask, is the temporary darkening of the skin. Fluctuation in hormone levels can cause this darkening during pregnancy or when using birth control. The cause can also be excess sun exposure. Darker toned skin and women are especially prone to developing hyperpigmentation.
The go-to treatment for hyperpigmentation is hydroquinone. There are several other effective ingredients to choose from, including:
- Arbutin: An extract of the bearberry plant that can inhibit tyrosinase activity when applied to the skin. Tyrosinase, a copper enzyme found in both plants and humans, speeds up the production of melanin, showing up as dark spots. Arbutin addresses these dark spots, while gentle exfoliators like lactic acid can help smooth skin texture.
- Tranexamic Acid: This skincare ingredient has become increasingly popular. It is a derivative of amino acid lysine that inhibits melanocytes’ activity, contributing to stubborn brown patches and dark spots.
- Kojic Acid: Kojic acid is a derivative of rice fermentation, typically used for Sake. It can also be a useful inhibitor of unwanted pigment and effectively improves the appearance of inflammatory marks caused by acne.
- Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid derives from grains like barley, wheat, and rye. It contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help get rid of bacteria trapped in pores. It can also help treat breakouts and naturally address discoloration and dark spots.
- Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that helps both the inside and outside of your body healthy. It has many names, including ascorbic or L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid can help reduce the appearance of scarring. It can also boost collagen production, which can help even out your skin tone.
- Licorice Root: Licorice root was a treatment for stomach issues for centuries, but its components can help diminish hyperpigmentation. It has beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant elements that protect and heal the skin. One of its features, known as glabridin, is an effective antioxidant and skin-soothing ingredient. Licorice is a popular ingredient for products meant for sensitive, reddened skin.