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If you have patches of skin darker than your usual skin tone or dark spots or blackheads from injuries or trauma to your skin, chances are you have hyperpigmentation. While hyperpigmentation is not death threatening, it can be a little discomforting to have an uneven skin tone.

But do not despair; there is a plethora of treatments and skincare guide for hyperpigmentation, some of which I will get to in a few. But before we go down that lane, what does hyperpigmentation entail?

What is Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a medical term for the skin’s discoloration that happens when increased pigmentation is caused by excess melanin production. Some skin areas are darkened when hyperpigmentation occurs, and it may appear in varying sizes of patches or spots.

Although excess melanin production is the primary cause of hyperpigmentation, it is not the only cause. Underlying diseases and illnesses, prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun, scars from skin injuries and inflammation, hormonal changes, side effects of some medications like contraceptives and birth control pills, tattoos, and irritant cosmetic products, and likes can all cause hyperpigmentation.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

  • Freckles

Characterized by clusters of tiny brown or red spots on the face, freckles, also known as ephelides, happens when one is born with a collection of the pigment-producing cells – melanocytes – on the skin.

  • Solar lentigines

Solar lentigines are commonly referred to as liver spots, age spots, or photoaging and appear more on older people due to long pigment concentration resulting from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Spots may appear more on areas most exposed to the sun.

  • Melasma/Chloasma

Also called Pregnancy Mask, Melasma is a skin condition common in women, which causes large grey or dark patches on the skin, especially on the face, forehead, and stomach.  It primarily affects pregnant women and women on contraceptives and often fades on its own after contraceptives are stopped, or after a woman births her baby.

  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

PIH’s symptoms include irregular brown patches resulting from inflammatory conditions or trauma on the skin, and it is common in people of color. Examples are conditions like acne, eczema, and other blemishes spots.

Bonus: Rosacea

Although a different crop of skin condition, Rosacea is a condition that causes redness (blushing and flushing), visibility of small blood vessels, dryness, pus-filled red or pink bumps, swelling, and stinging or burning sensation to the T-zone area of the face and the cheeks. It is most common in light-skinned women from ages 30 to 60, and, although it has no pinpointed cause, has been greatly attributed to genetics and overexposure to UV rays.

Tips for Hyperpigmented Skincare


Nature has given us chemical-free options in plants and fruits with a substantial amount of healing properties. Some of these options include;

  • Aloe Vera Plant: Aloe Vera is rich in the nontoxic compound, Aloin also called Barbaloin, which studies have shown improves hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the deposition of melanin and removing pigmented cells on the skin. Apply the gel to the affected areas or use it as a mask.
  • Lemon: due to its rich citric acidity content, lemon is a natural skin lightening agent with antioxidant properties and can help lighten dark spots. Use lemon slices directly on the affected areas or lemon juice in combination with other naturals like yogurt, turmeric, and tomato.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is rich in acetic acid which has antifungal and antimicrobial properties and helps to lighten the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells. It also contains polyphenols that work well as an antioxidant. Combine ACV with water and apply it to dark patches on the skin.

The hyperpigmentation treatment’s primary function is to rejuvenate and brighten the skin and even the skin tone.  When selecting topical creams and other OTC (Over-The-Counter) treatments, go for those with brightening and spot removing ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinoid in Vitamin A (advisable to be applied only at nights), Hydroquinone, Niacinamide or pro-Vitamin B3, Alpha-arbutin, Liquorice extracts. Opt for products that face acids like Glycolic, Azelaic, and Kojic Acids.


The skin is naturally darkened when exposed to Ultraviolet Radiation from the sun because sunlight contributes to melanin production. What you want to do if you have hyperpigmented skin is to brighten your complexion and not further darken or discolor it, so avoid tanning and sunbathing as this can slow your treatment process and generally expedite the aging of your skin.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens and cosmetic products with SPF of at least over 30 must be included in your skincare regimen. Apply a generous amount of sunscreens at different intervals daily, especially if you are regularly out under the sun when it is at its peak – from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.


When you exfoliate, you help your skin “breathe” by shedding hardened and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface that clogs the pores. It is recommended for hyperpigmentation because it removes pigmented skin cells from the skin’s outermost layers, improving hyperpigmentation. Avoid harsh and aggressive exfoliants as they can do more harm than good, and go for those that suit your skin type.


Do not pick at your face or try to pop blackheads and pimples as this will only exasperate the trauma to the skin.

There are various cosmetic options for treating hyperpigmentation like laser therapy, chemical peeling, and microdermabrasion. Whether you are opting for cosmetic procedures or OTC treatments, consult with your dermatologist or skin care specialist for the right products and processes safe for your skin tone, as it is always best to have an expert’s recommendation.

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