Hyperpigmentation is a common skin care issue that can be difficult to treat. Sunspots, freckles, uneven skin tone, discolouration and acne scarring are all examples, with some people suffering from more than one of these skin concerns.
Before we clarify some of the common causes, it’s essential to understand why hyperpigmentation can be difficult to treat. It’s directly linked to the amount of melanin in your skin. Asian skin is particularly prone to hyperpigmentation as it naturally contains high levels of melanin. Studies have also shown that hyperpigmentation may appear earlier in Asian skin than Caucasian skin.
Hyperpigmentation is a result of an increase or redistribution of melanin, the dark skin pigment released in response to injury. Other factors that contribute to hyperpigmentation include sun exposure, fluctuating hormones, and genetics.
Prolonged sun exposure, opens in a new window will most likely result in an increase of melanin as a way to protect the skin. Often, this presents itself as darker patches of skin known as ‘sunspots’ or ‘age spots.’ These are common across the face, chest and on the back of the hands.
Freckles can also become more prevalent after sun exposure. These small brown spots can appear from a young age, typically across the nose and cheeks. In summer, when UV rays are more intense, they appear darker.
Discolouration due to acne scarring develops as pimples or spots begin to heal. During the initial stage — known as post-inflammatory erythema or PIE — the area is red. If left untreated, the skin turns brown, and this stage is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Depending on how quickly your skin heals and the products you use, you might experience one or both of these conditions. PIH can also develop after an injury, such as a bruise, cut or burn. The appearance can worsen with sun exposure as the skin will produce more melanin in a process called hyper melanosis.
All forms of hyperpigmentation are made worse by UV exposure, so it’s essential to apply a broad-spectrum SPF daily. Read on to discover the five best ingredients to treat hyperpigmentation.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the hero ingredients to treat hyperpigmentation.
According to skin experts, vitamin C, opens in a new window is one of the top ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. However, bear in mind that choosing the right form of vitamin C is crucial to effectiveness. The most stable and trusted form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid, which we can find naturally in our food.
To combat hyperpigmentation, vitamin C blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase which is essential for the formation of melanin pigment in the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin. Research shows that vitamin C strengthens the skin barrier and protects the skin from pollution and other environmental aggressors like UV rays. That’s why it’s beneficial to apply a vitamin C product in the morning before you apply your sunscreen. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C also diminishes fine lines and reveals a more youthful complexion.
AHC Peony Bright Luminous Serum, opens in a new window is a lightweight formula containing two potent vitamin C derivatives, ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucoside. The other ingredients, such as pink microalgae and black tea ferment, provide the skin with a dose of hydration that is essential for healthy skin. Apply two to three pumps on the contours of your face after using your toner.
Antioxidants are an essential part of any skincare routine targeting hyperpigmentation. They protect the skin from pollution and free radicals – molecules released naturally by the body and can cause damage to lipids, protein, and DNA in a process called oxidative stress. That’s why it’s important to keep them balanced by incorporating antioxidants into your beauty regime. Oxidative stress occurs due to UV damage, poor sleep, inadequate nutrition, smoking and various other reasons that will damage the complexion and cause skin aging and hyperpigmentation.
Glutathione is an antioxidant naturally found in our cells. It inhibits tyrosinase activity – the first step of melanin production in our skin. This super ingredient can be found in AHC Luminous Glow Real Eye Cream For Face, opens in a new window, a moisturising cream that can be used for both the eyes and face. Scientifically formulated to give you glowing results, this cream is clinically proven to brighten skin and reduce wrinkles in 2 weeks. Apart from its antioxidant functions, this two-in-one anti-aging and brightening product addresses 8 skin concerns* to smooth, replenish the skin moisture, and reduce dark circles.
Apart from treating hyperpigmentation, antioxidants help to brighten the complexion and even out your skin tone. AHC 365 Red Serum is a potent cocktail of plant-based antioxidants for a brighter complexion and free radical protection. It also contains hyaluronic acid for hydration, hibiscus flower extract, and a selection of revitalising vitamins to take total care of various skin concerns. Apply a pea-sized amount of serum to your face and neck with your fingertips and let the formula absorb on its own.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a fantastic all-rounder. Water-soluble and non-irritating, it has proven to provide excellent results for various issues, including hyperpigmentation.
The reason it works so well is that it reduces melanosome transfer. Melanosomes are the cells responsible for the production and deposition of melanin, the darker skin’s pigment. By reducing melanosome transfer, niacinamide slows melanin production thus decreasing hyperpigmentation. There are other ways in which this powerhouse ingredient helps to combat hyperpigmentation. It soothes rough or bumpy skin, revealing a smoother, more even skin tone. It is also great for acne as it regulates sebum production and acts as an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can reduce redness on the skin.
AHC Peony Bright Spot Corrector, opens in a new window is a rich cream that contains niacinamide with the power to reduce the appearance of dark spots. This targeted spot treatment enriched with radiance-enhancing ingredients such as vitamin C derivatives, ceramides, and Palmaria palmata extract helps even skin tone. Apply it to your targeted areas after using a serum.
4. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs are chemical exfoliants that help remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of new ones. The most popular AHAs are glycolic and lactic acid – the former is derived from plants and the latter from milk. Products containing AHAs are an excellent way to target hyperpigmentation as they boost the skin’s renewal rate, allowing dark spots to heal faster. Another benefit of the increased skin renewal rate is a noticeably smoother and more even skin tone.
AHC Peony Bright Clearing Toner , opens in a new windowcontains AHA, fruit enzymes and plant extracts to soothe the skin and promote a clearer complexion. After cleansing, apply 4-6 drops with a cosmetic pad or cotton ball. Gently swipe across your entire face, neck and chest. Allow to air dry before applying moisturiser.
Panthenol or vitamin B5 is a powerful anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. It improves skin protection and hydration, which can help prevent hyperpigmentation.
AHC Premium Ex Hydra B5 Emulsion contains high-purity hyaluronic acids and D-Panthenol to promote better texture and more radiant skin. This moisturising product with mild ingredients is suitable for dry, sensitive skin. After using toner, squeeze a coin-sized amount onto the palm of your hand and pat gently onto the skin until absorbed.
So that’s it – our top five super skincare ingredients to fight hyperpigmentation in all its forms! Remember, though these common skin woes may seem challenging to treat, you’ll see better results by selecting the right ingredients. Check out at what AHC has to offer to treat uneven skin tone, opens in a new window and get ready to say goodbye to your skin problem!
*Total effects 8-in-1 anti-aging eye cream for the whole face: replenishes moisture, enhances brightness, smoothes fine lines/wrinkles, restore skin elasticity, improve sagging skin, increase skin density (restore firmness/improve skin texture), reduce appearance of dark circle, help improve skin luminous/glow.
- Characteristics and management of Asian skin, International Journal of Dermatology, opens in a new window
- Clinical and biological characterization of skin pigmentation diversity and its consequences on UV impact, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, opens in a new window
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