Do you have hyperpigmentation? I do.
It’s the discolouration of the skin, from sun damage, post-inflammatory pigmentation (picking at pimples, and getting scars) freckles, hormonal changes, heat or skin trauma.
*There is also melasma, a kind of hyperpigmentation/pigmentary disorder that is primarily caused by hormones, most often pregnancy (the ol’ mask of pregnancy) or the pill. It can require more intense treatment than regular hyperpigmentation, like retinoids and steroids.
I believe my hyperpigmentation really kicked off after a very aggressive in-clinic laser in my twenties, one of the things I did as beauty director in my pledge to Try Everything For The Reader. My skin has never been the same since, and I curse the day I agreed to that treatment. Now, whenever my skin is hot, or gets any UV exposure (and you KNOW I am wearing SPF 50, hats and sunglasses) my complexion will, in a day or two, be covered in a smattering of dark patches and spots. It comes and goes; I’m used to it. But that does not mean I love it.
Learning how to manage (not fix or cure) hyperpigmentation is my primary skincare concern, because for me, an even-toned, glowing complexion is the skin I aspire to. For some, it’s a face free from wrinkles and lines, others still it’s smaller pores and less breakouts: we all have our unique skin goals, they’re personal, they morph and evolve over time, and they simply become part of skin maintenance and caring for our skin’s health and appearance.
I’ll never get rid of my pigmentation - a few hot days, even with SPF 50, a hat and sunglasses, and melanin starts producing again - but I can definitely keep it in check with products, preventatives, and treatments.
My two key weapons are: vitamin c serum and daily broad spectrum SPF 50. I wear them both every single morning, rain, hail, snow (omg definitely snow not that I ever go but you know) or shine. They are non-negotiables, hence why it was so vital we offered both of these products at Go-To.
Much Brighter Skin is our potent, hydrating brightening blend of vitamin c, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants to help prevent uneven skin tone, and give a bright, glowy complexion. Your one-stop serum shop. (Vitamin c is more effective in protecting the skin from free radical damage and the inflammation that causes pigmentation when worn in conjunction with SPF. They are best buds.)
Nifty Fifty is our new-gen moisturising broad spectrum daily sunscreen with antioxidants that protects the skin from both UVA (ageing, dark-spot-producing rays) and UVB (burning, cancer-causing rays). Since UV exposure stimulates our melanocytes (the pigment producing cells) to produce more pigment, you need to be protected. Wearing SPF if you are trying to maintain or lessen your hyperpigmentation is fundamental.
When I am outside or preparing to be (my most used Siri phrase is: hey Siri, what’s the UV right now, so much so that my kids hear me and yell out the number they think it will be) I always prep with the below skincare, and a wide-brimmed hat, sunnies, and protective clothing (your face stops at your boobs).
My exact AM routine is:
- Rinse skin (or wash with Properly Clean if I feel it needs it)
- Apply Much Brighter Skin to slightly damp skin
- Wait 60 seconds
- Apply Face Hero
- Wait 60 seconds
- Apply Nifty Fifty liberally.
This is great for daily maintenance. But sometimes you want more, a supercharged booster, and turn to professional treatments. For instance, I’ve been having PICO laser treatments every few months for the past year, and think they have been doing an excellent job of brightening my skin. (Never before holidays where sun is involved: pointless.)
But! Not all in-salon treatments are created equal: really, really do your research. Since hyperpigmentation thrives in heat and trauma, some of them can send your complexion backwards.
Got questions? As well you should! It’s a tricky beast and requires a considered approach. This blog by our resident Dermal Therapist, Yads, should help.
Good luck out there. And remember, no one ever cares about or notices your hyperpigmentation as much as you!