Hyperpigmentation: Treating & Preventing Summer Discoloration

Did you know that hyperpigmentation is not only caused and activated by the sun but also by heat? 

This alarming truth is one of the reasons hyperpigmentation and dark spots are so stubborn and challenging to get rid of.

What actually happens?

Patches of skin become darker due to excessive melanin, the pigment that produces skin color. Types of hyperpigmentation include sunspots, which result from cumulative sun exposure; melasma, which arises primarily in women because of hormones; and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which arises from an injury or insult to the skin.

Heat also is a culprit!

Heat, whether outside or inside, increases vasodilation, which is the dilation or widening of blood vessels. This causes more redness to appear, particularly in areas of melasma. Heat can also lead to inflammation and stimulate melanocyte pigment production.

While UV sources like the sun are definitely enemy No.1, there are many other triggers. Hyperpigmentation can occur from many types of heat sources.

How to properly protect and treat:

Find a licensed skin care professional to assist in caring for your skin and one who understands the Arizona heat during the summer months.

Summer is the time to hydrate the skin and use light exfoliation. Save the chemical peels for the fall and winter! Doing overly abrasive skin care treatments during the summer months can add to pigmentation as it is impossible to avoid the heat. Just the few steps to the mailbox is sometimes all it takes.

Best thing you can do for your skin

Use professional products, see your aesthetician regularly, and lightly exfoliate.

The process of exfoliation is a lot like peeling away the dry, outer skin of an onion to reveal the living layers beneath. Whether the exfoliation is done using mechanical abrasion or a controlled chemical reaction, removing dead and damaged skin cells on the surface allows the fresh new skin underneath to become visible.

Its surface reflects light better, making fine lines and other small imperfections harder to see. Age spots and other areas of unwanted pigmentation are less noticeable because the dead skin cells containing the pigment have been removed.

In addition, removing the top layer of dead and damaged cells allows other health-promoting agents such as moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting ingredients to better penetrate the skin and work more effectively.