One of the most common “side effects” of acne prone skin is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is caused by an excess production of melanin – something that acne inflammation brings out.
WHAT IS HYPERPIGMENTATION?
Hyperpigmentation a is skin condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the usual normal surrounding skin. This happens when the skin produces more melanin than it should, usually after inflammation or from increased hormones, and it affects people of all skin types and can happen on the skin anywhere on the face or body.
TYPES OF HYPERPIGMENTATION
- Sun spots
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Age spots
The color of these dark spots can range anywhere from red to brown and last for several weeks to several months.
Hyperpigmentation comes in different forms and they include conditions like melasma, sun spots or photoaging, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, age spots aka liver spots and freckles.
This skin condition is characterized as “gray-brown” patches that appear on the cheeks, upper lip and center of the forehead which are frequently caused by hormones. Melasma is common during pregnancy stages, or while taking birth control pills. Melasma often stops or resolves after giving birth or discontinuing intake of hormonal contraceptive pills for some women but sometimes it can also occur or show up in some women with no hormonal explanation. Melasma is also known as chloasma spots.
This skin condition is also known as photoaging. Sunspot is one of the forms of hyperpigmentation which typically shows up later in life after exposing oneself to the sun’s UV rays. Sunspots or photoaging appear larger than freckles do and they look more like clusters of dark spots on the skin complexion.
A common type of hyperpigmentation is Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or rather known as PIH, is a scientific term used for the pesky dark spots which show up after a pimple goes away or heals. It also occurs after skin trauma such as an insect bite or scratch. Any form of irritation causes the melanocytes to be activated and create more pigments, hence resulting in dark spots where the irritation took place.
Age or liver spots are common forms of hyperpigmentation that occur to sun damage. Dermatologists often refer to them as “solar lentigines” as they appear as small, darkened patches are usually found on the hands, face or other areas that are frequently exposed to the sun.
These forms of hyperpigmentation are known as hereditary brown spots and most prominent on the nose bridge and cheeks. They are common at any age but start during childhood.
WHAT CAUSES HYPERPIGMENTATION?
As mentioned above, hyperpigmentation is caused by an increased melanin synthesis brought by the increased hormonal levels in a human body.
Aside from this, hyperpigmentation also results from the following:
Also known as solar lentigines or sun exposure. Our body produces more melanin to protect our skin from prolonged exposure to Mr. Sunshine and too much melanin production can cause dark spots or patches called age spots or sun spots to appear on our skin.
People who have had skin inflammation experience having darkened skin. Skin inflammation includes acne, eczema, lupus and skin injury. Skin inflammation often leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Who’s Most LIkely To Develope Hyperpigmentation?
People who frequently expose themselves to the sun’s UV rays for a long period of time without applying sunscreen and those who previously had skin inflammation are more likely to suffer from hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is considered as a benign skin condition as well as a cosmetic concern more than as medical, which can be treated by having sunscreen protection and treatments like laser, microneedling, chemical peels, and skincare ingredients like Vitamin C, or niacinamide.
Most people experience some hyperpigmentation for one reason or another, so even though it can take a huge toll on your self-esteem, there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. And there are so many products and procedures out there to help. You just have to find the one that works for you
My Experience Living With Hyperpigmentation
In my case, however, my discoloration won’t seem to go away. Ever since my first major breakout I have had the same multiple hyperpigmentation spots on my cheek, some have slightly faded but none have faded to the point where I am comfortable leaving the house without makeup.
Unfortunately, because I have acne-prone skin, hyperpigmentation will always be a problem (as soon as one begins to fade I get another pimple that naturally leaves behind yet another unpleasant mark).
I have consulted doctor after doctor and used product after product in hope that something will help clear up my hyperpigmentation but alas nothing has worked. I have been told that there are very limited options to getting rid of hyperpigmentation. Here is some example: creams, laser treatments, chemical peels, skin lighteners, derma-rollers, and the worst of all “time”.
Over the counter creams and higher end creams personally, have almost no effect on my hyperpigmentation. Laser treatments are, again very expensive and time-consuming. Chemical peels and skin lighteners – very time-consuming and (along with the some of the other treatments) Derma-roller procedures carried out by a dermatologist can also be too time consuming for me.
Waiting it out has never worked for me and as I explained earlier it usually leaves me disappointed because I discover new spots left behind by current acne breakouts.
This is why I am very fond of Banish’s Banish Kit microneedling system. I think that offering an at home alternative that is not only less expensive but also effective is a great idea. I know that many people will agree with me when I say having acne is a “gateway” problem, it starts off small and then gradually gets worse without proper treatments. But once the acne is treated then marks are left behind, whether it’s hyperpigmentation, scars, or both (like in my case)!
The whole experience can be draining, but it’s great that there are ways to treat hyperpigmentation especially with the Banish Kit microneedling system.