The one skincare woe that most of us brown skinned people face and often fight a loosing battle with. And most often than not, the reason is because we don’t know the science behind hyperpigmentation. So, let’s get started!
Human skin is often categorised in different scales. One such scale is the Fitzpatrick classification.
What is Fitzpatrick skin type?
It’s the internationally accepted medical classification of skin types based on the amount of melanin each type has. It starts with 1 and goes up to 4. 1 being very fair or pale skin and 4 being darkest. Most Indians fall somewhere between 2 to 4. The higher Fitzpatrick skin types are blessed with Melanin rich vibrant skin tones. But that same melanin creates higher scope for Blemishes and scars in higher Fitzpatrick types. The higher Fitzpatrick types have more sensitive melanocytes than the lower ones. The melanocyte is the cell which is responsible for the creation of melanin which gives our skin its colour. The primary function of melanin is to safeguard our skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.
Sun is the most abundant source of UV rays. Uv rays which are harmful for us are categorised in 2 types- UVA and UVB. UVA rays cause tanning, wrinkles whereas UVB rays cause sunburn. Without the built-in protection of melanin our skins are vulnerable to tan and premature ageing and sunburn. Now due to racial and geographical influences spanning thousands of years the activity level of melanocytes differs vastly. That is the reason why higher Fitzpatrick types get tanned easily but rarely burn as our melanocytes produce a greater amount of melanin that the lower Fitzpatrick types don’t. Type 1 and 2 Fitzpatrick skins always burn because of the lack of melanin which has greater protective properties against UVB than UVA. Higher Fitzpatrick’s are mostly from the tropical and subtropical geographical areas which get strong sunshine year-round. Even though higher Fitzpatrick (HF) have somewhat inbuilt protection against UVB thanks to our melanin rich skin, we are pretty much defenceless against UVA.
Our melanocytes are almost always on high alert and any kind of trauma to our skin results in hyperpigmentation. The trauma can result from UV rays or cuts, burns or acne. Depending on the degree of hyperpigmentation, there are different approaches to handle it. However, all these approaches stress on one single thing- sun protection. As we have mentioned earlier, sunrays are the primary cause of hyperpigmentation. So, in order to effectively combat hyperpigmentation, we need to wear sunscreen every single day no matter where we are or how the weather is. Daily usage of sunscreen with regular reapplication of it in necessary quantities goes a long way to protect our skin from UV rays.
How To Combat Hyperpigmentation:
“The initial step is to avoid anything that may prolong pigment deposition in the skin and keep hyperpigmentation from resolving on its own. Sunscreen, at least SPF 30, will help encourage fading by blocking UV radiation, which typically keeps and produces more pigment in skin” Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology suggests.
Together with SPF, topical antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Niacinamide and OTC retinoids can be used for faster and better results. Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs, beta hydroxy acid or BHA and Arbutin works wonders when it comes to combating hyperpigmentation.
You can try the Goodal Green Tangerine Vita C Dark Spot Tone Up Cream SPF50 for the best sun protection while treating your skin with Vitamin C. Another great product is Rovectin Clean LHA Blemish Ampoule which when used along with a good SPF works wonders in avoiding acne and fading out dark spots.
Vitamin C for hyperpigmentation:
Vitamin C is probably the most used ingredient to combat hyperpigmentation. Applying Vitamin C can reduce melanin production, thus brightening up the skin tone while also keeping your skin hydrated.
The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C is one of the best Vitamin C that you can treat your skin with. It comes in the purest form which is L-Ascorbic acid.
AHA and BHA for Hyperpigmentation:
AHA and BHA can help you combat hyperpigmentation by gently exfoliating the pigmented skin. While BHA is known to penetrate deeper into the skin than AHA, AHA is known to provide a brightening effect along with exfoliating your skin.
Dr. Oracle 21: Stay A-Thera Peeling Stick is a combo product with both AHA and BHA and can be your best friend if you are looking forward to combat acne and hyperpigmentation at the same time by exfoliating.
Niacinamide For Hyperpigmentation:
According to Medicinet: “Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a stable vitamin that offers a wide range of well-documented topical benefits. Niacinamide helps hydrate skin, treats hyperpigmentation, promotes skin elasticity, decreases redness and blotchiness and acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals.”
Niacinamide is the go-to ingredient for anyone trying to achieve a brightened-up skin. Accoje Whitening Capsule Ampoule is a great choice if you want to include Niacinamide into your routine.
We all have heard the term “pregnancy glow” in one way or another. But sadly, for some pregnant women, the pregnancy glow is a myth. Apparently 90% pregnant women witness hyperpigmentation in one way or another, also known as melasma.
Triggered by hormonal changes, the safest way to treat melasma is Vitamin C. While ingredients like BHA, retinoid and arbutin are not safe to be used during pregnancy, Vitamin C is the most used ingredient during pregnancy.
AHA is another ingredient that is safe to be used during pregnancy, while BHA more than 2% is not recommended to be used during pregnancy.
But make sure to consult your doctor before starting any skincare routine during pregnancy.
Products To Combat Hyperpigmentation:
If you are someone prone to hyperpigmentation here’s a sample routine, you can try:
Toning - Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
Serum - Accoje Whitening Capsule Ampoule
Moisturizer - Nacific Real Floral Air Cream Rose OR
Moisturizer - Klairs Vitamin E Mask (best combined with Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C)
Cleansing - Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil
Toning - Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
Exfoliator Night 1 – Rovectin Clean LHA Blemish Ampoule (alternate nights)
Mask Night 2 - Eunyul Rice Daily Care Sheet Mask (once a week)
Serum Night 3 - Accoje Whitening Capsule Ampoule (alternate nights)