For women of color, hyperpigmentation seems to be a fact of life that we can’t avoid. Whether it's caused by trauma to the skin, acne, sun exposure, inflammation, or even hormonal changes, those dark spots just seem to find us. While full-coverage foundations and concealers can go a long way toward covering hyperpigmented spots, at the end of the day, we all want a clear complexion, and who can blame us?
Now we all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so there are steps you can take to prevent hyperpigmentation before it becomes a problem.
Avoid Sun Exposure
If you find that sun exposure exacerbates your hyperpigmentation, try using a sunscreen. When you’re out and about enjoying the great outdoors, opt for an SPF of at least 30 and be sure to reapply if you’re swimming or sweating. While sunscreen can do much to prevent hyperpigmentation in the first place, it will also keep existing spots from getting darker.
Don’t Touch Your Face
You’ve probably heard this more times than you’d care to admit, but if your hyperpigmentation is caused by acne, you must avoid picking at pimples, blackheads, etc. Picking at acne causes trauma and inflammation to the skin, and that in turn causes your skin to produce too much melanin, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation aka dark spots on your face.
If it’s a little late in the game and you’re trying to undo some past damage, there are a few types of products on the market you can try.
Vitamin C serums are great for your skin in pretty much every way. Not only does Vitamin C impede the production of melanin, but when it is applied topically, it brightens the skin and fades dark spots to even out skin tone.
A few of the more popular vitamin C serums include:
- Olay Tone Perfection Serum
- CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Face Serum
- La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Face Serum
- TruSkin Vitamin C Serum for Face
It has been long held that hydroquinone is an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation. While hydroquinone is available by prescription (often at a concentration of 4%), products containing 2% hydroquinone are safe enough to be sold over the counter. Hydroquinone also impedes the production of melanin, so using these products will result in a brighter, more even complexion over time.
A couple of the more popular products containing hydroquinone include:
- Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector Remover
- Ambi Skincare Fade Cream
For many of us, hyperpigmentation is just a part of having a gorgeous deep skin tone. The good news is that, to some degree, hyperpigmentation is preventable. While avoiding the sun may not be wholly doable, you should always use sunscreen, and use it every day. Moreover, refraining from picking at pimples and other skin disruptions can be quite helpful. For older scars and spots, products containing Vitamin C and hydroquinone can fade existing spots and impede the production of melanin, revealing a brighter and more even skin tone over time.