Lots of fun things happen to our body and skin as we age. Some are just part of the unavoidable and glorious aging process, while others are more preventable.
As the decades tick by, you have likely noticed a few changes to your skin.
Perhaps a few “freckles” or dark spots have blossomed on your face, hands or arms. Or maybe your complexion has become incredibly uneven and blotchy.
The culprit? Hyperpigmentation.
But what is it and how do you get rid of it? Let’s dive in.
STRIPPING IT DOWN
- What is Hyperpigmentation?
- What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
- How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
- How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation
- Top 3 Products for Getting Rid of Hyperpigmentation
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin and hair its colouring. When your body begins to overproduce melanin it results in hyperpigmentation.
The tell tale signs of hyperpigmentation (or age spots and liver spots as we commonly refer to them) are flat, dark spots on your skin that vary in shape, size and colour. More often than not they start out small and light brown and blossom into a darker black shade and grow in size. This mushroom effect starts deep within your inner layers of skin.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
There are several different factors that cause hyperpigmentation, so we’re going to dish on a few of the most common causes of age spots.
Hyperpigmentation Caused by Sun Exposure
Perhaps the most common cause of hyperpigmentation is over exposure to the sun. This particular type of dark spot is called a lentigine.
Lentigines are benign (harmless) lesions that appear on the parts of your body that get exposed to sun the most. Think hands, face, chest — those sorts of places.
These lesions form because there is an overabundance of melanin in the outermost layer of your skin. Because they are on the superficial layer of your skin they can be easy to treat.
Dark Spots Caused by Pregnancy
Ahh, pregnancy. The gift of life can give us women more than just a bundle of joy. As it turns out, approximately 90% of pregnant women experience dark spots. This is referred to as melasma or chloasma.
Melasma is brought on by your hormones changing during and after pregnancy. It can even be caused by taking birth control.
Unfortunately you will most likely see the effects on your face. Your forehead, nose, cheeks and upper lip are the most common areas to be effected.
Inflammation is the devil and it often rears its ugly head with skin conditions. When our skin experiences an injury or trauma like acne, it makes it vulnerable to hyperpigmentation.
Essentially this inflammation triggers our body to produce even more melanin causing dark spots on face and other parts of the body.
Acne is not the only cause of this post inflammatory hyperpigmentation though. Aggressive skin treatments like dermabrasion and chemical peels, when done wrong, can cause it.
How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
You’re probably wonder how to prevent age spots before they even happen and you’re in luck. There are several ways you can prevent hyperpigmentation.
Best Sunscreen for Age Spots
First and foremost, you will want to make sure you are slather on a broad spectrum sunscreen. You need to choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Did you know that most people under apply sunscreen? Make sure you apply ample amounts and don’t forget to reapply if you’ve been sweating, gone swimming or have dried yourself off with a towel.
Avoiding overexposure to the sun and of course, sunburns is definitely a key step in preventing dark spots.
Acne and Dark Spots
If you suffer from acne then one of the best ways to avoid dark spots is to treat your breakouts properly.
As we mentioned above, acne can lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Picking, scratching or popping your pimples can traumatize your skin and cause dark spots.
Instead, use topical creams or home remedies to treat pimples and reduce the irritation factor. Once you’ve nipped that in the bud, make sure you take every precaution to avoid breakouts in the first place.
There are many different types of acne treatment lines like Exposed Skin Care, Proactiv, etc that help prevent acne, thereby avoid dark spots caused by zits. See how this works hand in hand!
Skin Treatments that Cause Age Spots
Certain skin treatments can make your skin vulnerable to age spots or speed along the process. One of the more obvious is tanning beds. The artificial light replicates the same reaction as real UV rays and can cause your body to start over producing melanin.
Other light therapy treatments like laser hair removal or light lamps can have the same effect.
How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation
Ready to get rid of hyperpigmentation, age spots, liver spots or whatever the heck you call it?
Of course you are!
And good news — there are several ways you can get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally or clinically.
How to Get Rid of Age Spots Naturally
Supplements for Age Spots
There are several supplements for age spots that can help you strengthen your skin and reduce their appearance.
Vitamin C is one of the most common supplements for anti aging. Let’s be honest, it’s in just about every anti aging product out there.
Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative stress in cells which allows your skins to regenerate and grow normally for strong skin. Not only will it help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but it gives your skin a nice healthy glow too.
Vitamin E is another great supplement for your skin. It helps protect you against environmental damage that can make your skin look dull or in this case, lead to hyperpigmentation.
Coenzyme Q10 is a great supplement to add to your arsenal because it helps prevent cellular damage. The stronger and healthier your skin cells are, the less likely they are cause liver spots.
Diet and Age Spots
It’s not exactly news that your diet can greatly affect the quality of your skin. Even when it comes to hyperpigmentation, your diet can play a big role. For starters, cut out polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
PUFAs can make you susceptible to free radicals which are damaging to skin cells.
Try adding more vegetables to your diet. Veggies are full of wholesome nutrients like vitamins B and C, and dietary fiber. They can help cleanse your body of toxins that lead to the breakdown of healthy skin cells and strengthen your cells instead.
DIY Dark Spot Removers
There are so many natural remedies for age spot removal that you can find right in your very own kitchen.
Fresh lemon juice can be applied to your dark spots twice daily for a dose of natural bleaching. Lemon has long been used for its lightening properties. Make sure you use fresh lemons and not store bought, prepackaged lemon juice because they may contain sugar or preservatives that irritate your skin or cause breakouts.
Another natural dark spot remover is horseradish, white vinegar and honey. Mix equal parts together then apply over any area of your skin that is affected by hyperpigmentation. Let it soak in for up to 20 minutes before rinsing off and moisturizing.
Clinical Age Spot Treatments
Some of the treatments recommended by dermatologists for removing age spots, are the very treatments we told you to avoid earlier. If you find it interesting that they could be both recommended and the cause of age spots, then read on for a better explanation.
Dermabrasion for Age Spots
Dermabrasion is one of the safer clinical options to help resurface your skin and reveal healthier looking skin. When done correctly, it can help even out your complexion, reduce the appearance of age spots and erase wrinkles.
However, if done wrong you risk hurting your skin and actually instigating hyperpigmentation. There are, however, some great at home microdermabrasion kits that are gentle on your skin, easy to use, totally affordable, and effective (Learn more here!).
Chemical Peels for Age Spots
Chemical peels are another age spot treatment you may want to consider. If you’re like us, then the name alone sounds a little risky, but chemicals do have their upsides.
For those with fair skin chemical peels are especially effective because the chemical solution used to lighten your dark spots acts like a bleaching agent. As you can imagine, those with darker skin risk altering their skin colour permanently and it may cause scarring.
Top 3 Products for Getting Rid of Hyperpigmentation
You know we love a good DIY, but we also love finding solid products. Here are the 3 best creams for dark spots.
Meladerm is our #1 favourite product when it comes to lightening your age spots. It is a potent skin lightening cream that shows results in as little as 2 weeks.
For a full blown Meladerm review, click here.
Our second favourite cream for dark spots is Skin Bright. Skin Bright is an all natural dark spot corrector that works by inhibiting the production of melanin. Unlike Meladerm, it does take longer than 2 weeks to see serious results, but it does work. It also happens to be quite affordable.
Stay tuned for a Skin Bright review.
Finally, Proactive is another fast acting dark spot remover cream worth checking out. The difference between Proactiv’s Dark Spot Corrector and our other top choices is that this one uses more chemical ingredients. Meladerm and Skin Bright both contain heaps of natural ingredients, while the main ingredient in Proactiv is hydroquinone.
Another downside is that you have to purchase it with their acne kit. You cannot buy this item on its own.
Now we want to hear from you. Tell us, do you have age spots and if so, what are you doing about them? Share in the comment section below.