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What is hyperpigmentation? In a nutshell, it covers sun spots, age spots, acne scars (i.e. post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and general patchiness. It’s common and harmless – but can be annoying! Luckily, if you're asking yourself how to get rid of skin hyperpigmentation, the good news is that most forms don't usually require expensive laser treatments. Good, ol’fashioned skincare can go a long way to combatting dark spots. We’ve got the best vitamin C serum for hyperpigmentation (in our view), as well as chemical peels, creams, cleansers and toners to brighten and even out your skin tone. We even stock a dermatologist-recommend range specifically formulated to fight the most stubborn hyperpigmentation on sensitive skin that our customers rave about (hello, Clairial from SVR Laboratories). We've also done a bit about hyperpigmentation, acne and all that it entails. To find out more including tried and tested solutions, keep reading.
What’s the best hyperpigmentation cream in Australia?
When it comes to how to treat hyperpigmentation, what consistitutes the 'best' treatment will depend of course on your skin type, your sensitivities and your other skin concerns. For instance, vitamin C is a favourite, with most serums showing results in as soon as a week. However, sensitive skin might not take to it as well, preferring arbutin instead. Those who can tolerate acids will love a good glycolic acid serum, while those with darker skin tones might prefer mandelic acid. And if you have acne, chances are that niacinamide or BHA might be more your jam. But there are no hard and fast rules, so it's about find what (or which combination) suits you best. You might also want to address any potential triggers. For our personal favourites, just scroll down.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
There are several causes of hyperpigmentation, with one of the biggest being sun exposure. It's why wearing sunscreen religiously is important in treating discoloration. You could have the best serum for hyperpigmentation in the world, but it won't be as effective at prevention as proper broadspectrum sun protection. Think of it as insurance for your skincare.
One of the other main causes for hyperpigmentation is acne, or more accuractly, post-inflammatory scarring. A popped or broken zit is essentially a wound, which can leave a scar when it heals. The thicker the skin (a plus when it comes to preserving your youthful good looks but a minus when it comes to scarring), the longer the scars tend to last after a breakout. Not picking at your pimples and using the right hyerpigmentation products (see below) will make a huge difference.
Should acne hyperpigmentation be treated differently?
Hyperpigmentation from acne might feel chronic if you are having persistent breakouts, but don't worry - it's eminently treatable and preventable. Firstly, don't pick at your zits! Pockmarks can't be treated effectively by skincare, although surface scarring can. When we squeeze our pimples (particularly large, cystic acne), we may risk permanent scarring. Secondly, try an ingredient which treats both the acne as well as the post-acne scarring: BHA is great at this, with pore-unclogging and exfoliating abilities. Niacinamide and vitamin C can also assist, with both being anti-inflammatories and niacinamide soothing redness as well.
How do you treat hyperpigmentation on face vs body?
When it comes to hyperpigmentation of the skin in any place, vitamin C is generally the gold standard of at-home treatments. But on the flip side, it can be pricey and it's not always practical to spread your favourite vitamin C serum all over your back to help fade old acne scars. So, what can you do to treat hyperpigmentation on your body? Try using an exfoliating scrub once a week or fortnight in the shower, to remove dead skin. On alternative days after your shower, spritz on a pH correcting toner on affected areas (like this one, which comes in an economical jumbo bottle) and apply your favourite body moisturiser with a few of drops of a high-strength exfoliant or a strong vitamin C serum mixed in. At the same time, don't forget to keep your skin hydrated and well protected from the sun by using a good broadspectrum SPF! Dehydration can worsen hyperpigmentation, and UV rays are one of the leading causes of discoloration.
I have hyperpigmentation on lips: what should I do?
Dark lips are perfectly natural - not all of us have pale peach lips and that's more than okay! It's no impediment to getting your true colour out of a lipstick, because a little bit of concealer on the lips and you're good to go. If it's something that is truly bothering you, the same skincare that you're using to treat hyperpigmentation elsewhere can merely be applied to the lips: just be careful not to lick it off. That includes your SPF.
Why do I get hyperpigmentation so easily?
Some of us are just more prone to dark spots and discoloration than others. For instance, those with red hair and pale skin are generally more susceptible to freckles and sun spots, simply because of their pigment pattern. There's also an increased risk of hyperpigmentation on dark skin. Evidence suggests that darker skin has a higher TEWL (Trans Epidermal Water Loss) rate than fairer skin types. Because dehydration worsens hyperpigmentation, tan skin may be more susceptible to discoloration from dryness (e.g. ashy skin and flaking). Dark skin also tends to have larger mast cells, which dictacte how are body responds to immune stresses (such as healing a popped zi)t: a concentration of large mast cells could produce more scar tissue, which may account for how damn long it takes for pimple scars to fade on deep skin tones.
Some of Kanvas Beauty’s best products for hyperpigmentation include:
SVR Laboratories - Clairial Night Peel: This is one of our favourite products for hyperpigmentation. Why? It works - even on the most stubborn marks. Age spots, sun spots and even older acne scars look much lighter after only a couple of weeks' of consistent use of this peptide peel.
SKIN&LAB - Vitamin C Brightening Serum: This certified vegan hyperpigmentation serum has it all! Made with a stabilized form of vitamin C as well as niacinamide, glutathione, peptides and turmeric root extract, it works so well that it's now in the top 3 best-selling vitamin C serums on Kanvas Beauty.
Acure - Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum: This vegan anti-ageing cream (often called the affordable dupe to Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Cream) is packed with peptides, vitamin C, ferulic acid, glacial glycoproteins, turmeric, AHAs, BHAs - the list goes on!
Some By Mi - AHA 10% Amino Peeling Ampoule: Acne scars hyperpigmentation? This serum is a goodie! It uses 10% AHA in the form of mandelic acid to help fade pimple scars. There's also some BHA (salicylic acid) to clear pore-blocking debris and reduce the risk of future breakouts, as well as PHAs and LHAs to render skin smooth, soft and even-toned.
Vitamin C What is it: This powerful antioxidant inhibits melanin overproduction. It's also an anti-inflammatory, and in the right dosage for your skin, helps reduce redness. This means a brighter and more even complexion, less acne scars after a breakout, and less sun spots. Vitamin C comes in many forms. Pure vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) can be unstable, oxidizing if exposed to heat and sunlight. For those who are a bit lazy about their storage, there's also stabilized vitamin C, which is just as effective. Best for: Any kind of hyperpigmentation of skin. Suggested products: SVR Laboratories' Vitamin C Ampoule, Acure's Brightening Vit C & Ferulic Acid Oil Free Serum and SKIN&LAB's Vitamin C Brightening Serum.
Peptides What is it: Peptides are essentially amino acids, which make up the building blocks of collagen. They’re preferred to actual collagen extract in skincare formulas, because they are typically smaller in size than collagen molecules and can be more easily absorbed by the skin. Best for: Age spots and discoloration accompanied by fine lines. Suggested products: SVR Laboratories’ Clairial Night Peel and Mary & May's 6 Peptide Complex Serum.
LED Therapy What is it: LED therapy can penetrate the skin at a cellular level and work their benefits over time. In fact, it was originally developed for astronauts to promote tissue healing and collagen production! It’s proven to work, but the catch is that it requires consistency and frequency (e.g. 15 minutes, 4-5x per week) for the best results. Best for: Sallowness, fine lines and hyperpigmentation Suggested products: ECLAIR’s LED Therapy Mask.