7 Ways To Effectively Prevent And Treat Hyperpigmentation

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Ask any Aussie woman what it means to live down under amongst the pristine beaches, flat whites and bin chickens, and you’ll most likely be met with the term hyperpigmentation. 

Otherwise known as brown spots, age spots, dark spots or sunspots, this common skin condition is the byproduct of a largely outdoor lifestyle and high sun exposure. 

RELATED: Everything you need to know about vitamin C

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So how do we get rid of it? Well, to answer all of your burning questions surrounding the pesky spots making themselves at home across your face and body, we caught up with Ella Baché National Training Manager, Gina Cook, to learn exactly what pigmentation and hyperpigmentation is and the ingredients and products we should be using to treat it.

What is pigmentation?

“Pigmentation is [actually the] colour produced by melanin in our skin cells, it’s when we have hyperpigmentation that causes us concern, such as discolouration and patches of irregular coloured skin,” explains Cook.

Image credit: @zotheysay

How do I prevent it from occurring?

As hyperpigmentation comes from exposure to the sun “the most effective way to avoid [it], is to wear a zinc-based sunscreen every day (bh recommends: Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF50, $30.49 at Chemist Warehouse) and avoid sun exposure,” says Cook. “This will limit the over stimulation of melanin” and as a result hyperpigmentation..

“Be aware of incidental and intentional sun exposure though,” she explains. “For example, during the peak of summer the sun is at its strongest and 20 minutes in the sun, even if it’s just a trip to the shops…you are putting your skin at risk.”

What are the best ingredients to treat it?

While we’ve sung the praises of vitamin C in the past, it is actually the best ingredient to treat hyperpigmentation. “[It’s] a miracle ingredient. Not only does it help minimise, treat and prevent pigmentation and hyperpigmentation, it works to brighten and lighten the skin, as well as having amazing abilities as an antioxidant,” says Cook. But what does an antioxidant do, you might ask. “Antioxidants help to fight pollution, which makes the skin more susceptible to a dull, lacklustre appearance, as well as contribute to the onset of fine lines and pigmentation.”

Are there any ingredients to avoid?

“Some products with certain forms of alcohol or chemicals will stimulate pigmentation or discolouration,” says Cook, “especially when exposed to the sun. It’s important that the use of these stronger products, such as retinol, are only used in the evening and followed by sun protection the next day. Any products that are harsh on the skin will cause skin trauma and this can in turn cause the skin to become discoloured,” she says.

So, what products should I be using?

For best results, Cook recommends considering an in-salon treatment such as a microdermabrasion followed by LED or IPL Brightening Series (such as is available at Ella Baché salons). But for products you can use at home:


Ella Baché Neobright Radiance C Ampoule Set

Ella Baché’s Neobright Radiance C offers a two week treatment that “delivers an immediate and progressively brighter and more radiant complexion,” says Cook. “It [also] helps fight and reverse skin discolouration and skin pigmentation.” 

$59 at Adore Beauty

 

Alpha-H Liquid Gold

Jam-packed with glycolic acid, Alpha H’s Liquid Gold helps to visibly fade dark spots by exfoliating the skin to rid it of any pigment-containing cells.

“I love Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold! This is the best product i have EVER purchased. I generally use it at night after cleansing and instantly feel my skin magically transformed – needless to say how good it feels in the morning!” – venus 495

$69.95 at Alpha-H

 

SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence

The SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence stops pigmentation-causing melanin from reaching the surface and provides the skin with a “lit from within” glow.

$338 at Sephora

 

Swisse Blood Orange Brightening Facial Serum

Packed with vitamin B3 and licorice root extract, Swisse’s Blood Orange Brightening Facial Serum works to naturally brighten and even skin tone, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

“This serum is great! I use this after cleansing my face. I use this first before my retinol serum followed by my salycic acid serum. I always wear a 50SPF sunscreen to help keen my skin glowing and free of damage and dark spots.” – victoria2799

$14.99 at Chemist Warehouse

 

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

The Skinceuticals C E Ferulic frequently tops the “must-have” lists of professionals and beauty editors alike. The combination of vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid is a powerhouse mix for brightening skin affected by hyperpigmentation, and it also works wonders in keeping skin tone even due to the antioxidant qualities. 

“My skin is so glowy, and I think it has even helped reduce pigmentation caused by acne. It absorbs into the skin quite quickly, and the strange smell is barely noticeable after a couple of minutes.” – Asami

$228 at Adore Beauty

Kiehl’s Solutions Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

Kiehl’s Solutions Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution works to visibly diminish the number and intensity of present discolourations, while deterring the formation of new dark spots. 

“I can see the texture of my skin is a whole lot smoother with my acne scarring less noticeable. My fine lines around my eyes and forehead are less prominent and my skin doesn’t feel as rough.” – candyfairy

$88 at Adore Beauty

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Anti-Pigmentation Serum

Correct dark spots and pigmentation with regular use of the ferulic acid and ginkgo extract-rich formula that is La Roche-Posay’s Anti-Pigmentation Serum. The inclusion of potent LHAs provides a gentle exfoliation that rapidly buffs away dead skin, revealing a smooth, glowing texture underneath. 

“It spreads really easily and feels rich and potent. I love the feel of the heavy glass bottle it is in. It feels high quality and makes me have the idea that the formula inside is also high quality” – clearcrystalwater

$50.49 at Chemist Warehouse 

 

Rodan + Fields REVERSE Targeted Dark Spot Corrector

Effective in the precise targetting and diminishing of stubborn dark marks, age spots or post-acne discolourations. The inclusion of niacinamide in the Rodan + Fields REVERSE Targeted Dark Spot Corrector leaves the skin with an added all over brightness and glow.

The Rodan + Fields Dark Spot Corrector has not disappointed me like some products that promise to target pigmentation. ” – IndieAna

$89 at Rodan + Fields

Have you experienced hyperpigmentation? What are your tips for keeping it under control?

Share your thoughts

Comments 40

  1. Agree that sunscreen is an absolute must.

    Ingredients for brightening/treating hyperpigmentation include Alpha Arbutin (not available in Australia but you can order online from overseas), vit C derivatives SAP (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate) and MAP (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate), and Niacinamide.

    Some products to consider:
    Boost Lab Vitamin C Brightening Serum (niacinamide + SAP)
    The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%
    The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
    TIAM Vita B3 Source (10% niacinamide + 2% Arbutin)

  2. At the moment I'm using the Swisse Blood Orange Brightening Cream which matches that Swisse serum listed there. I've been using this cream as a day cream during the day currently with some Spf of another product over the top (makeup or cream). I tend to get this issue on just one side of my face and not the other – It's the side that is exposed to the side window when I'm driving – so I wonder if that's got something to do with it.

  3. I am already using a Swisse facial cleanser which I am really happy with so I think I will also buy the Swisse Facial Serum. Happy to see it is in my budget too.

  4. I’ve got a few odd spots here and there, but they aren’t too bad. But I do have one in particular on my nose that annoys me. I always make sure I put my Vitamin C serum on it, and I just cover it with concealer. I’d love to try the Kiehl’s Dark Spot Solution. Most of my other skincare is Kiehl’s and I really love it.

  5. Unfortunately I do have Age Spots and hyperpigmentation on the backs of my legs. I am using Alpha-H Liquid Gold it is such a nice Toner on my face.
    Now I do use Sunscreen on my face and body, Winter and Summer.

    BH would really like to see an article about what great products that we could use on our bodies for Age Spots and hyperpigmentation like my hands, arms and legs. Would really like to get rid of this on my body there are such great products that I use for my Face.

  6. I tried one session of laser for pigmentation. I thought I had a reasonable level of pain tolerance. After all I'm female, periods etc. But! OMG it hurt so much I couldn't face it again. Maybe I'm a wuss.

  7. I can probably count on a few fingers how many days I haven't worn SPF cream. This would be because I would've been sick in bed.
    This is my number one tip for avoiding hyperpigmentation. This along with a hat that shades my face. I have a hat for all occasions.

  8. I take a daily Vitamin C supplement but would like to incorporate it into my skincare regime. I have noticed as I age that I am getting hyperpigmentation spots on the back of my hands.

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