If you struggle with dark spots and discolouration, you’re not alone. In fact, according to Dr. Dennis Gross, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, the number one skin concern for women is not ageing or wrinkles, it’s hyperpigmentation. But what exactly is it and how do you treat it?
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation, the term used to describe areas of uneven pigmentation, is caused when melanin (what gives your hair and skin its colour) is overproduced in certain spots, causing the area to look darker than your natural skin tone. Theses brown patches are most commonly caused by excessive sun exposure, hormone imbalances (as a result of birth control or pregnancy), and inflammation or injury to the skin (a breakout, a bug bite, or even an area you might have scratched or picked at too much). Hyperpigmentation usually appears on the face, neck, and décolletage.
Related article: 15 Essential Beauty Treatments To Try Now That You’ve Got The Time
How do you treat it?
Hyperpigmentation is notoriously difficult to treat, but it is doable. If you’re really serious about it, it’s best to visit a dermatologist for in-clinic treatments such as light therapy and peels. However, there’s also a host of pigmentation fighting products that you can add to your everyday routine. The key is to look for formulations that feature ingredients such as liquorice extracts, vitamin C and E, niacinamide, beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic, and alpha hydroxyl acids, like glycolic and lactic. Of course, the easiest way to deal with pigmentation is to avoid it altogether by using a good sunscreen and leaving spots alone, especially when they’re not “ready”. SPF will also help keep current pigmentation from darkening.
Related article: 7 Zinc Oxide Sunscreens That Blend Like A Dream
What products should I try?
While it’s unlikely a single product will completely erase dark spots, these ones will certainly help lighten them.
Emma Lewisham grew up worshiping New Zealand’s harsh summer sun and by her late 20s she started noticing discolouration and brown spots. But it was during her pregnancy that Lewisham’s uneven complexion really knocked her confidence. As a result, she set about creating a product that dealt with hyperpigmentation while remaining free of toxins, fillers, synthetic chemicals, and artificial colours and fragrances. Instead, Skin Reset is formulated from 24 of the most high-performing natural ingredients from around the world.
Each bottle contains 190 skin-beautifying ingredients such as organic prickly pear, which is known for its high concentration of vitamin E, and kakadu plum, which has the highest concentration of vitamin C in the world, alongside a host of other minerals, antioxidants, aminos, and omega fatty acids (3, 6, 9, and the rare “beauty omega” 7).
This next-generation overnight serum from home-grown clean skincare brand, Allies of Skin, is supercharged with a hardworking blend of 11% Mandelic, Lactic + Salicylic acid, 8 brighteners and 7 antioxidants and peptides, helping to treat stubborn pigmentation, melasma, large pores, persistent breakouts, uneven texture and even blackheads. While most AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids) serums focus only on the exfoliation aspect that can sometimes lead to tightness and irritation, this multitasking booster is formulated to not only gently dissolve dead skin cells but also replenish moisture and strengthen the skin’s delicate barrier, with its hydrating blend of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and essential fatty acids from organic rosehip and tamanu oil.
Part of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Clinical Grade range, the brand’s Professional Grade IPL Dark Spot Concentrated Serum boasts an innovative formula straight from his practice formulated to help fade the look of stubborn dark spots and discolouration for an even and radiant complexion. Jam-packed with 10% L-ascorbic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid, and arbutin, this pro-level formula is clinically shown to reduce the appearance of sunspots, age spots, and dark patches in just a few weeks.
IDS is a skincare line made to deliver highly visible results that surpass those achieved by most prescription products, without the side effects they often cause. The brand’s Fair Complex comes with a proprietary formulation of peptides and active ingredients that everyone can benefit from, regardless of skin tone. Alongside lines and wrinkles, skin dullness and hyperpigmentation it also works to target the signs of ageing. The skin-brightening formula is hydroquinone-free, but coupled with state-of-the-art ingredients and IDS’ patented NEULASTIN technology, it effectively prevents melanin over-production and visibly counteracts age spots and hyperpigmentation without irritations or side effects.
Formulated with 15% dermatological grade Vitamin C (one of the highest in the market), Derma Lab’s Lumiclar Pure Vitamin C15 penetrates deep into the skin’s epidermis and rapidly evens out the complexion for a radiant glow. Together with ultra-stable forms of ascorbic acid, skin becomes brighter, firmer, and more lifted. Vitamin C’s powerful antioxidant properties also reinforce the skin’s defence against free radicals, while the Derma Mimic Complex locks in moisture and strengthens skin barrier for hydrated, healthier skin.
Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is a high-tech gel that resurfaces dull skin, lifting dead skin cells away by gently dissolving the glue that holds them to the surface. Formulated with a combination of glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids, and blended with raspberry extract, T.L.C. Framboos sinks in easily and delivers an effective level of chemical exfoliation without the harsh side effects like dryness or sensitisation. Fine lines, wrinkles, and discolouration, along with excess oiliness and the appearance of pores, will appear dramatically reduced. Meanwhile, horse chestnut, bearberry, and white tea help to calm and soothe while improving the appearance of broken capillaries.
A South Korean skincare brand that has recently launched in Singapore, Huxley’s products are formulated around Sahara-sourced prickly pear, which is rich in vitamin E and brimming with antioxidants to prevent moisture from escaping while promoting healthy skin cell production for a more resilient, youthful appearance. The brand’s Brightly Ever After Essence offers a light, milky-textured formula that targets uneven skin tone, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It’s also enriched with niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B with brightening properties that aids in reducing dullness for an even skin tone.
Related article: The Best Luxury Body Lotions To Try Now