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What is Hyperpigmentation? Causes, types and treatments available on the market.

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Today at head office we received a request to talk about hyperpigmentation so let’s drill down into what it is, how it occurs and how to prevent it.

- You will be able to find out what causes hyperpigmentation and most importantly the different types of possible treatments.

One Skin For Life Hyperpigmentation example on the woman face

What’s hyperpigmentation?

This is a term that describes skin that appears darker than the surrounding areas. There are different types of Hyperpigmentation, the common ones being Melasma, sunspots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is very common - acne, burns, skin rashes or other trauma to the skin can stimulate melanin production and this can lead to darker spots on your skin. It’s often harmless skin discolouration and may not require treatment. However, some may prefer to treat it and remove any Hyperpigmentation marks, for those who are looking for a solution to remove those marks we have good news there are different methods that you can try.

What is Melanin?

It’s a substance in your body that produces eyes, hair and skin pigment. The more melanin you produce, the darker your eyes, hair and skin will be.

Here is an example of Vitiligo a long-term skin condition. It’s caused by a lack of melanin ( pigment in the skin)
Here is an example of Vitiligo a long-term skin condition. It’s caused by a lack of melanin ( pigment in the skin)

Types of hyperpigmentation

* Melasma: it’s believed to be caused by hormonal changes and may develop during pregnancy. Areas of hyperpigmentation can appear on any area of the body, but they appear most commonly on the stomach and face.

* Sunspots They’re related to excess sun exposure over time. Generally, they appear as spots on areas exposed to the sun, like the hands and face and bust.

* Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. Inflammation conditions such as eczema, acne, and skin infections such as pityriases. A common cause of this type of hyperpigmentation occurs when a skin injury or trauma heals and leaves a flat area of discolouration behind.

*Birthmarks and freckles: They are often genetic and stimulated by exposure to the sun. They might be raised or flat and they are usually harmless but you should see your GP if you notice any unusual changes.

*Skin cancer- Melanoma have an appearance of darker spots or moles with irregular shape. Have a look at the NHS advice on skin cancer.

Two women with freckles for One Skin For Life blog

What causes hyperpigmentation

Depending on the type of disorder, other risk factors for hyperpigmented patches may include:

✅ Oral contraception, infertility treatment or pregnancy due to hormonal changes.

✅ Darker skin types, which are more prone to pigmentation changes.

✅ Medication that increases your sensitivity to the sunlight eg antibiotics.

✅ Trauma to the skin, such as a wound or superficial burns, acne and some laser treatments.

Where hyperpigmentation can appear:

  • in small patches on the face, neck and bust area due to exposure to the sun without any sun protection.

  • cover large areas of the body when skin is exposed to excess time in the sun.

Hyperpigmentation on face

The most common reason why hyperpigmentation can occur on the face is the acne scars, laser treatments, acid peels and injuries.

Melasma in pregnancy

One Skin For Life recommends  how to deal with Melasma during pregnancy

Typically due to changes in hormones melasma is triggered, for example during pregnancy or when using birth control pills. Some skin experts call this the mask of pregnancy but it can also occur on the abdomen.

Melasma can disappear when a pregnancy ends or when we stop birth control pills.

Treatments for hyperpigmentation

Due to many different types of hyperpigmentation and each condition requires its own course of treatment. Once you have identified the cause of your hyperpigmentation then the appropriate treatment can be crafted.

Some of the treatments can leave your skin vulnerable to UV light which may require you to use extra sun protection. We recommend Daily Defence Peptide Cream SPF30

Hyperpigmentation treatment for face

We recommend products that contain:

Alpha Arbutin

Vitamin C,


Glycolic Acid


What is Alpha arbutin?

Alpha arbutin is naturally extracted from plants such as bearberry, blueberry and cranberry and also exists in a synthetic form called deoxy-arbutin.

Used in skincare to successfully manage hyperpigmentation by preventing the formation of melanin in the skin. This can be found in our Multi-Vitamin Brightening Night Serum.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is definitely one of the best ingredients on the market for pro-ageing support and maintaining a smooth, even and glowy complexion. Since it interferes with melanin production Vitamin C fades hyperpigmentation marks by downregulating the activity of melanin synthesis.

We use a stable concentration of 12% Vitamin C.

Retinol for hyperpigmentation.

Retinoids and their anti-inflammatory properties are highly effective in treating acne and hyperpigmentation. The combination of Retinol and Niacinamide is one of the best ingredients to fade Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Try our Retinoid Night Oil for maximum results.

What is Glycolic Acid and how it can help with hyperpigmentation?

Glycolic Acid is extracted from sugar cane and is in the same family as lactic acids ( derived from sour milk). These are known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, AHA for short! Due to its low molecular weight, this type of acid can penetrate your skin deeper, helping to increase collagen production and remove dead skin cells. Be cautious as acids can irritate skin and can create further hyperpigmentation if used in the wrong strength or not accompanied by Sun Protection. It is especially important for people who are prone to hyperpigmentation to use gentle exfoliants.

Experience gentle Glycolic Acid acid peeling with Multitude Multi-Acid Treatment, 7.5% of AHA's.

Niacinamide for collagen production and reduction of pigmentation.

Niacinamide is another substance that can reduce the production of melanin synthesis but also it can help boost collagen production in the body. Niacinamide can help in maintaining the integrity of the skin natural barries from outside pollutants.

Discover our award-winning WONDERCREAM, containing Niacinamide!

If the discolouration in your skin is making you feel self-conscious it may be worth speaking to a Makeup consultant to match your skin colour with a concealer until it fades.

Alternative targeted procedures such as micro-needling, chemical peels, laser & photo therapy treatment may be helpful for increased results. Speak to an expert Skincare Professional or contact our Professional team for more advice.

How to Prevent hyperpigmentation.

To avoid long-term sun exposure - wear a hat to shade your face and scalp

Use SPF daily.- Choose sun protection that is at least SPF 30 and use it on daily basis even in the cooler months to protect your skin from additional UV exposure that is present throughout the whole year.

Incorporate Vitamin C into your daily Skincare routine.

Limit scratching or picking at scabs or broken skin.

My appearance and hyperpigmentation.

Living with a condition that affects your appearance can have an impact on your mental health or affect your self-esteem and confidence.

What Hyperpigmentation support we can offer you?

If you’re battling with the impact of hyperpigmentation, help is available.

At One Skin we offer counselling, well-being support and skin consultations to help you diagnose which type of hyperpigmentation.

Treatment then can be recommended for your needs by a trained skin care expert practitioner. Emotional and psychological support over one-to-one sessions is recommended if self-esteem is affected due to any type of hyperpigmentation. If you want to find out more you can speak to our support team.


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