One of the biggest skin concerns is hyperpigmentation. In most cases, you will inevitably develop or have hyperpigmentation, but what if we told you there are at least five things you're doing daily that could contribute to or making it worse.
Below we have compiled a list of the top five things you're doing daily:
- You are not wearing sunscreen. We made sunscreen a #1 offense because it is that serious! We know that melanin provided us with some level of protection from the sun; however, it does not and will not 100% protect us from its damaging effects. Therefore, if we want to limit, reduce or help fade present or prevent future signs of hyperpigmentation is important to make it a part of your daily skincare routine. Fun Fact: Sunscreen should be applied daily (rain, sleet, or snow) and replied at least every 2 hours.
- You are overdoing your skincare routine. We know cleanliness is next to holiness, and there's a common belief that the reason you make be breaking out or experiencing random breakout is a result of not doing enough. False! There is no need to cleanse/wash the face more than twice a day or exfoliate more than 1-3 times within a week. Why do we say this? The acid mantle, that's why. You have to understand that this 'invisible' protective layer on the skin's surface protects against bacteria, microorganisms and reduces moisture loss. When we use products not as directed or excessive, you can strip the acid mantle resulting in dry, irritated, or inflamed skin. Excessive dryness and irritation can trigger our melanocytes to produce more melanin. Haven't heard about melanocytes? Visit our hyperpigmentation blog.
- You're picking at active or healing bumps/blemishes. Hyperpigmentation can result from a traumatic event (i.e., injury or inflammation). It's normal after a breakout to experience PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) due to the sudden rush of inflammation and swelling to help heal the area. It's often compulsive to feel the need to pop, buster, or pick at bumps because it is unpleasant/unsightly to look at, or there may be swelling, pain or pressure. However, picking or popping during the healing process causes another traumatic event to occur, resulting in more melanin production. Tip: Given pimples and blemishes result from clogged follicles, please leave 'extraction' to professional. There's a method required to ensure no damage is caused that may result in the spread of more acne activity or scarring.
- You're stressed. We know that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies in more ways than one. But, what does this have to do with hyperpigmentation? We'll take you through a quick A&P lesson. Stress can trigger the adrenal gland to produce more cortisol. Cortisol helps reduce inflammation and contributes to our fight and flight response. However, when we are stressed continuously, we can cause our adrenal gland to become fatigued, resulting in less cortisol production. Meaning that inflammation in the body has a chance to increase or persist, triggering melanocytes to produce more melanin. We will see the development on the face's outer edges in these cases.
- You don't patch test your products. It's something we've already heard we need to do when trying a new product, but how many people follow the recommendation or understand why it's so highly recommended? Remember, hyperpigmentation can directly result from a traumatic event (swelling, inflammation due to an allergic reaction). What's so traumatic about not patch testing your products? Glad you asked! You can experience an allergic reaction to the products or their active ingredients resulting in . . . dark marks, spots, or patches (hyperpigmentation).
Are you currently doing or not doing something on this list? It's time to shake up your routine by adding sunscreen and reapplying as directed, and relaxing slightly more. We know some things take time, and old habits die hard. Take it one day at a time!