Hyperpigmentation is the result of trauma to the skin; it usually improves on its own eventually, but how can you help it on its way?
There are various ways in which skin becomes hyper-pigmented: exposure to the sun; beauty treatments; inflammation; damage to skin; and scarring from trauma, eczema and acne are all common causes.
The reason it can be so persistent and difficult to get rid of is that the damage occurs deep down in the skin; excess melanin (the skin’s pigment) gets deposited at the different levels of the skin, not necessarily at the top layers that are constantly being regenerated in the skin’s natural cycle of regrowth and repair. So a graze or minor burn will get healed fairly quickly as the skin repairs its top layer, but a tattoo is designed to last forever, because the ink has been deposited much further below the surface.
The most persistent hyperpigmentation occurs at layers closer to tattoo depth, and the quickest to fade closer to the top.
So what can you do to improve the situation, without resorting to clinical treatment?
The most effective strategies are to do everything you can to avoid further inflammation, and to keep it nourished with the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy.
Here are some good tips to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation:
- Choose unfragranced, hypoallergenic skincare that won’t irritate your skin
- Keep out of the sun or protect yourself very carefully with high factor sunscreen
- Don’t pick spots, scabs or acne!
- Be careful with prescription creams: check with your pharmacist or dermatologist that your skin isn’t reacting with further inflammation
- Don’t use over-the-counter lightening treatments
- Be wary of beauty treatments (like chemical peels or dermabrasion) that can damage the skin
- Keep your skin hydrated and nourished with regular moisturising
- Feed your skin with regenerative oils to help it repair itself: rosehip, borage, sea buckthorn, hemp are all good choices; a few drops at night every day can help
For more information on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, see our blog What Is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation? or read Alaa Hassan’s personal experience of PIH in her article Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, Eczema & Me
Balmonds Skin Salvation balm to treat skin during an inflammatory episode
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream for daily maintenance of dry or sensitive skin
Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil for long-term application to improve the appearance of uneven or hyperpigmented skin tone
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.