Everybody wants to have a smooth, even skin tone. After all, who wouldn’t want to be as fair and polished as our favorite K-drama stars? Still, sometimes no matter what we do, some pesky dark spots remain and all we can do is feel frustrated.
Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, is a common skin pigmentation problem that can be solved with the right products and skin care routine. In this article, we talk about what causes skin pigmentation and what you can do to banish and prevent dark spots.
What is Skin Pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation refers to the color of your skin. Whether you are a mestiza or a morena, your skin color will be affected by melanin–the hormone that gives our skin its color. People with dark spots have a condition called hyperpigmentation, which is basically a condition which causes your skin to darken.
Hyperpigmentation is usually harmless and may appear in most people. There are three common types of hyperpigmentation:
- Age Spots. Also known as liver spots, these are dark spots which appear on older individuals. They are usually brown, tan, or black spots that appear on the face, hands, and other sun-exposed parts of the body.
- Melasma. This kind of hyperpigmentation often appears on pregnant women or women taking birth control pills. It usually appears as large patches of darkened skin on the forehead, face, and stomach.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is perhaps the most common type of hyperpigmentation and is usually the one most individuals are trying to treat. These are spots or patches of darkened skin that appear after acne breakouts or eczema flare ups.
What Causes Skin Pigmentation?
Depending on the type of hyperpigmentation you are experiencing, there could be several factors causing your skin pigmentation to darken. Generally, hyperpigmentation is usually caused by an excess production of melanin.
There are several conditions which may cause a disturbance in your melanin production, but generally, here are the most common causes of hyperpigmentation:
Melanin acts as our natural protection against the harsh UV rays, which is one of the reasons why people tan under the sun. However, too much sun exposure is generally unhealthy for the skin. Since sun exposure triggers the production of melanin, sun exposure is the leading cause of skin pigmentation. For people who already have dark spots, going out unprotected from the sun’s harsh rays may worsen hyperpigmentation.
Skin Trauma or Inflammation
Have you ever noticed how areas that just had an acne breakout are also the areas which have darker patches of skin? That’s because our skin has a tendency to darken or pigment right after healing from trauma or inflammations. If you’ve ever had a pretty bad wound, you might have noticed how the healed skin is just a tad bit darker than the surrounding area. That’s another manifestation of how skin trauma can cause pigmentation.
Bad Skincare Habits
While a stable skincare routine is a good way to start treating hyperpigmentation, be wary of some of your skincare habits. You may be accidentally doing more harm than good!
- Skipping your SPF. If you’ve been skipping sunscreen, then you’ve been stripping yourself of protection against the sun. Considering that sun exposure is what causes skin pigmentation, sunscreen is absolutely necessary to combat dark spots. Sunscreen is an important part of any anti-pigmentation skin care routine, so don’t skip your daily SPF!
- Picking your pimples. This is one of the oldest rules in the book that so many of us still break, so we understand! Still, stop picking your pimples to avoid dark spots and possible infections. If you’re finding it difficult to stop, putting on a pimple patch may help.
- Over-exfoliating. Exfoliating is great and it’s a staple in most skincare routines today. However, there is such a thing as over-exfoliating and it strips away your skin’s natural oils and healing properties, making dark spots last longer.
If you are pregnant, your hormone levels will fluctuate and this might cause some changes in your melanin production as well. Pigmentation among pregnant women is quite common and shouldn’t cause unnecessary alarm. This hyperpigmentation is also known as melasma. Additionally, if you’re taking birth control pills, you might also experience some skin pigmentation.
Certain medications might also cause some changes in your melanin production, leading to skin pigmentation. If you are presently taking antimalarial drugs, antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, or medication that might cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, then you might experience pigmentation. Certain topical treatments might also cause some pigmentation. In general, it is best to ask your doctors the side effects of the medications that you take.
Although skin pigmentation is quite common and generally not indicative of any further adverse medical conditions, there are uncommon yet serious medical conditions which might cause hyperpigmentation. Two of these are Addison’s disease, which is a disease affecting the adrenal glands, and hemochromatosis, an inherited condition where the individual’s body has too much iron. These two conditions are relatively uncommon, but if you suspect that you might be afflicted with either conditions, then consult your doctor!
Can You Get Rid of Skin Pigmentation?
Dark spots are a common skin problem and experts have found ways to solve this problem. Even better, some of the most common skin pigmentation treatments can easily be done at home! So if you’re asking how to get rid of skin pigmentation on your face, then you’re definitely in the right section.
Here are some of the most common practices and skin pigmentation treatments that experts recommend:
Although not exactly a skin pigmentation treatment, this practice is one of the easiest ways to prevent sun-exposure induced discoloration. Use a sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB sun rays and has at least SPF 30.
Another thing to remember is that you have to apply your sunscreen every day. Sunscreen isn’t an “optional” part of your skin care routine. You should wear sunscreen everyday, even if you’re just inside the house to protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays that pass through your windows and come from your gadgets. Wearing sunscreen is a mandatory step, whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or even if you’re not going out!
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
One of the reasons that dark spots naturally fade over time is because the skin’s cells naturally turn over. What this means is that old skin cells are replaced by new ones, which keeps the skin healthy and glowing. Moisturized and healthy skin has a naturally faster cell turnover than dry and unhealthy skin. Find a product that not only lightens, but keeps your skin moisturized and protected, like Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Face and Neck Cream with SPF.
Ask Your Dermatologist for Stronger Options
If your usual OTC products aren’t working, it might be time to ask your friendly dermatologist for skin pigmentation treatments that are a bit on the stronger side. A dermatologist might recommend hydroquinone treatments, which is a skin-lightening agent that bleaches the dark spots, or more technical solutions such as chemical peels or dermabrasions. Note that for these options, it means that your usual pigmentation skin care regimen isn’t working anymore and that you need something a little stronger.
Whatever option you choose, remember that these should be done under the guidance of a licensed dermatologist and should never be done without proper consultations.
Kojic Acid: the New Holy Grail Ingredient In Skin Pigmentation Treatments and Products
While some skincare products are really effective in taking care of your skin, some are especially geared for solving pigmentation skin problems. If you’re looking for skin pigmentation treatments and products, make sure that these products contain ingredients that are especially useful when treating hyperpigmentation.
While everybody knows about glycolic and salicylic acid when it comes to skin care, there’s another underrated acid that has proven to be extremely effective in combating and preventing dark spots: our very own kojic acid!
Kojic acid is a kind of skin brightening ingredient that is commonly seen in whitening soaps. The way this ingredient works is that it basically inhibits an enzyme, called tyrosinase, that contributes to the production of melanin. With the production of melanin blocked, you don’t have to worry about the overproduction of the hormone. With the melanin out of the way, the dark spots become easier to fade.
Aside from its lightening properties, kojic acid can also act as an antioxidant, making it a good anti-aging agent as well. The acid helps find and counteract skin-damaging free radicals that exist due to exposure to UV damage and pollution. Kojic acid also has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a good overall ingredient.
Unlike other acids, kojic isn’t harsh on the skin either! Although it is still best that you consult your dermatologist before committing to a pigmentation skin care regime with kojic acid, the ingredient is generally mild enough to be used everyday. In fact, dermatologists often pair it with glycolic acid and hydroquinone to maximize skin brightening effects!
If you’re looking for an ingredient that should be included in your skin pigmentation treatments and products, skin care products with kojic acid just might be your holy grail!
Anti-pigmentation Skin Care Routine
Luckily, Gluta-C has an entire range of kojic-infused skin care products that can help you build the perfect anti-pigmentation skin care routine for both your face and body!
Read on to know which specific products are perfect for each step in your skin care routine:
For the Face
Step 1: Cleanse. Start off your routine by cleansing your face from everyday oil and grime with a gentle cleanser. The Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Acne Control Facial Wash is the perfect gentle cleanser with its 4x skin-whitening, acne-fighting, and oil-controlling formula that leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean. This cleanser gently exfoliates the skin, stripping away the excess oil and dirt.
Step 2: Tone. Once your skin is cleared from all the dirt, it’s time to pack in some nutrients. After you’ve dried your face, take your Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Acne Control Toner to remove the residual dirt and to start locking in some nutrients. This alcohol-free toner’s formula also keeps the breakouts and oily skin at bay, making dark spot prevention way easier.
Step 3: Moisturize. Never ever leave your skin unmoisturized! Dry skin is easier to crack and becomes unhealthy, leaving you with dull and acne-prone skin. Give your skin some well-deserved hydration with the Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Face and Neck Cream with SPF. With this lightweight and non-greasy cream, you don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable and hot even during humid, summer days. With the additional SPF 30, you’re even protected against the sun!
Step 4: Protect. As always, a little more sun protection never hurt nobody! If you’re going out, make sure to bring a hat or umbrella to shield you away from the sun’s harsh rays. If you want to keep feeling fresh and put together, you can try out the Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Powder that’s perfect for giving you that matte and professional look.
For the Body
Step 1: Cleanse. Just like the face, you have to rid your body of the dirt and grime. To add in some extra whitening and moisturizing properties to your bath soap, try out the Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Soap! With its antibacterial properties, you’ll get yourself clean skin without the dry, harsh feeling.
Step 2: Exfoliate. If you have dry skin, then now is the perfect time to exfoliate. Say goodbye to flaky, dry spots and hello to softer, smoother skin with the Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Shower Salt Scrub infused with Glutathione, Vitamin C, Kojic Acid and Azeloyl Diglycinate. With this salt scrub, you help rejuvenate your skin by buffing away the dead and dull skin cells and revealing a fresher, more radiant complexion underneath.
Step 3: Moisturize. As always, never leave your skin thirsty! Whether it be on your face or on your body, we got you covered. Give your limbs some love with the hydrating Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ Whitening Lotion with SPF 30. This lotion is formulated to lock in moisture longer while deeply penetrating your skin with Glutathione, Vitamin C, Kojic Acid and Azeloyl Diglycinate. With its additional SPF protection, this lotion protects your skin from premature aging as well as dark spots!
Get Rid of Skin P
Skin pigmentation is a common problem, but it’s one that’s easily solved with the right pigmentation skin care routine and skin pigmentation treatments. Our Gluta-C Kojic Plus+ line gives you the perfect starting point to combat hyperpigmentation with its kojic-infused formulation and moisturizing formula. Say goodbye to dark spots and hello to lighter, brighter, and healthier skin!