Let's Talk About: Hyperpigmentation - En Route Beauty
best treatments for hyperpigmentation

Let’s Talk About: Hyperpigmentation

Here's how to banish those pesky dark spots.

Hormones, DNA and the sun are all factors we have no control over, just like Hyperpigmentation when it comes to our skin. It’s the buzzkill that gets in the way of a flawless complexion; the type that only Instagram filters are made of.

If you’re like me and you’re still battling the remnants of last months angry hormonal pimple, then read on as I speak to Allison Brown from Plunketts, Jacinta Ow founder of Anti-Age Me and Dermatologist, Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan to find out why we get hyperpigmentation and how to banish those unwanted dark spots.

What is Hyperpigmentation?


Pigmentation and Hyperpigmentation can be used interchangeably to describe a darkened area of the skin.

While pigmentation is “Responsible for the colour of our hair, skin and eyes; it’s produced by the melanocytes in our body,” tells Jacinta Ow.

Hyperpigmentation on the other hand describes those same melanocytes in our skin cells that “Produce the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin,” which occurs from either sun damage or skin trauma.

Enter, dark spots.

Why do we get it?


There are quite a few reasons why we get dark spots and these can include:

  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Inflammation
  • Sun exposure
  • Ageing
  • Trauma to the skin
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications such as antimalarials and antibiotics
  • Lichen Planus
  • Addison disease

Dr Shayamalar tells us “That the most common cause of hyperpigmentation, is Melasma which is thought to be due to endocrine factors (oestrogen and progesterone), genetics and has a higher incidence in darker skin tones.”

How can we reduce the occurrence?


Don’t have room for another freckle?  Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!

“This is the most effective way is to avoid further sun damage. Protect the skin, wear sunscreen every day even in winter whenever you are exposed to the sun,” tells Allison Brown from Plunketts.

If you suffer from post-inflammation hyperpigmentation, either from acne or trauma to the skin, include active ingredients into your skincare routine.

Are there treatments we can use to reduce the appearance of Hyperpigmentation?


Nobody plans on getting acne or accidentally causing trauma to their skin, so the great news is, those scars can be reduced through skincare treatments and by adding a few simple active ingredients into your skincare routine.

Jacinta Ow’s Recommendation is: 

The Cosmelan Depigmentation Peel, “It is a two-step process with the first step performed in the clinic and the second at home.”

“For less severe cases, I recommend skin needling, regular peels or IPL may be more appropriate but the key is to always speak to your skin specialist about what is best for you and within your budget. However living in Australia where it’s all sunshine and heat, in most cases nothing is permanent and it will be ongoing skin maintenance.”

Allison Brown’s Recommendation is: 

“John Plunkett’s Superfade is a range of topical medicated and non-medicated treatment products that assist in fading unwanted skin pigmentation such as dark spots, melasma, freckles, brown marks and age spots. Products can assist in fading hyperpigmentation, however, if (the) skin is further exposed to sun, skin trauma or hormonal changes, it can re-occur.”

Other commonly used actives Allison recommends are Niacinamide, Retinol, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic, Salicylic and Glycolic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Vitamin C and Resorcinol.

Dr Shyamalar Gunatheeson’s Recommendation is: 

1. Sunscreen is “An absolute must! Look for a broad-based UVB and UVA, ideally a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide.”

2. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, “Augments sun protection when combined with a broad-based sunscreen.” It is important for hyperpigmentation as it helps inhibit the over-production of melanin.

3. Vitamin B3  an “Anti-inflammatory active that calms inflammation, increases skin immunity and reduces DNA damage.”

4. Vitamin A complex “To be used at night to break up pigment clumps and recalibrate skin renewal.”

If you suffer from Melasma, then you’ll need to be prescribed topical maintenance skincare to keep the melanocyte activity in check.


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