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Picky Guide: Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation – those stubborn dark patches of skin causing you needless frustration! Usually, these darker spots aren’t harmful, but cosmetically they’re less than desirable. If you’re dealing with these stubborn spots, keep on reading. We’ve compiled an ‘all-in-one’ Picky Guide to understanding the causes of hyperpigmentation and explain which ingredients can help tackle it!

The Causes

There are a couple of risk factors that can increase the production of melanin, our skin pigment which gives color to our hair, eyes, and skin! When there’s a sense of danger, our bodies will react by producing more melanin with the intention to protect our skin cells from further DNA damage. Some of the external damages that can trigger this response are:

  • Inflammation (burn, acne, injury, etc)
  • UV exposure and visible light
  • Hormones (pregnancy, etc)
  • Genetics (darker skin tone)
  • Medication

How To Prevent Hyperpigmentation

While some hyperpigmentation is inevitable and unpreventable, there are ways to stop it from getting out of hand. Here are three ways you can prevent hyperpigmentation from getting worse:

1. Always wear your sunscreen

We can’t emphasize this enough: Sunscreen is essential! Keep your skin safe and protected by wearing a sunscreen with at least broad spectrum protection SPF 30 every single day. And yes, even when it’s rainy or cloudy outside!

2. Physical protection

Sunscreen can help shield your skin, but physically blocking the sun from your skin works as well! Wide-brim hats, sunglasses and protective clothing can help hide your skin from UV damage. So, suit up and protect that precious skin.

3. Get proper treatment for your skin condition

If you’re struggling with a lot of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from either acne or eczema, we highly recommend visiting your dermatologist or physician! Proper treatment for your skin condition could be key to preventing hyperpigmentation from forming in the first place. And, to all the acne-prone skin types out there: Don’t pick! Picking at your acne can worsen inflammation and cause even darker-looking hyperpigmentation.

Ingredients That Can Help

Okay, so now that we know what can cause hyperpigmentation, how do we go about fixing it? Well, here’s a list of ingredients that are fit for tackling these stubborn dark spots:

UV filters in sunscreen

UV filters in your sunscreen product are fundamental for stopping any further damage to your skin. Think of it as a suit of armor, protecting your precious skin from external exposure and preventing deeper pigmentation. If you’re not sure which sunscreen is best for your skin, check out our post on sunscreen for skin types here!


Retinoids, the royal family for anti-aging, has another trick up its sleeve! With retinoid’s acceleration of skin cell turnover, it can also help prevent the formation of hyperpigmentation. Nervous about trying retinoids? Sneak a peek at our retinoid cheat sheet to get a better idea of which level is right for you!

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

All hail the king of antioxidant! Vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to preventing damage from free radicals and wiping away those stubborn dark spots. Vitamin C is key for brightening your skin, including hyperpigmentation!

Azelaic acid 

Another defender against hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid! This warrior ingredient is a little more gentle, so a great option for those with more sensitive skin! With anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, azelaic acid can help control rosacea as well as acne! This is in addition to fighting off hyperpigmentation, of course!

Not seeing something you like? We have a whole other article full of ingredients for hyperpigmentation you can check out! In the meantime, here’s a few more ingredients:

We hope these tips and information are helpful for you. Remember to be kind to your skin and always wear sunscreen! Head over to the Picky app and use the ‘hyperpigmentation’ concern to find products that can help! Click here to go to the Picky website, or here to go back to our blog.

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