How Long Does Hyperpigmentation Take to Fade?
Hyperpigmentation is a common yet frustrating issue that enters your life for many reasons. As it turns out, you’re not stuck with uneven skin forever -- there are things that you can do to fade areas of hyperpigmentation and reach your skin goals!
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Generally speaking, hyperpigmentation refers to areas of skin that appear darker than your regular skin tone. Depending on the type and cause, hyperpigmentation can be found in small patches of skin, cover large areas, or even affect the entire body, especially in the form of dark spots, age spots, or acne scars, or melasma, aka the pregnancy mask. The good news is that hyperpigmentation isn’t harmful on its own, but some dislike the contrast on their skin. If you are concerned about growing areas of hyperpigmentation, talk with your dermatologist.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
In many cases, hyperpigmentation is caused by an excess production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that’s produced by our skin to give it color. When skin cells called melanocytes increase the production of melanin, it can create areas of darker pigment on the skin, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. If you see spots of lighter skin, that could be hypopigmentation, like vitiligo.
Here are some common reasons for increased production of melanin:
- Medications (pigmentation changes, even hypopigmentation could be a side effect)
- Hormonal changes that come with pregnancy
- Sun exposure (more specifically, sun damage)
- Acne scarring (especially if you’re picking those pesky pimples before they’re ready to pop!)
Types of Hyperpigmentation
The different causes of hyperpigmentation lead to different types of hyperpigmentation. Here are the most common types:
- Melasma: Primarily caused by hormone changes that may occur during pregnancy. This could also occur due to the use of hormonal birth control pills. Common areas for melasma to occur include the stomach and the face.
- Sunspots: Primarily caused by excess sun exposure over time. Sunspots may also be called liver spots or solar lentigines. Common areas for sunspots to occur include the hands and face since these areas are frequently exposed to the sun.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: Primarily caused by an injury to the skin or skin inflammation. This can range from something as minor as acne scars to something as major as a wound or a burn.
How to Fade Hyperpigmentation
The best topical treatments and skincare routines for brightening the appearance of hyperpigmentation will vary depending on the cause. Once you tackle the root cause, whether it’s from a medication, sun exposure, or acne, you can focus on incorporating actives in your skincare that will renew, brighten, and protect against future skin damage.
You can find all of this and more in Vitamin C. Yes, we are talking about the same Vitamin C that’s in your orange juice! Since Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it is able to fight free radicals, soothe, and brighten your complexion to help reduce the appearance of discoloration. Furthermore, its anti-aging properties help smooth fine lines and wrinkles for perfectly plump skin!
Here are some of our favorite Vitamin C essentials from WOW Skin Science to help fade hyperpigmentation:
- Vitamin C Serum: For the most potent way to include Vitamin C in your routine, apply this serum to fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation with 20% Vitamin C! Just one pump is enough to spot treat dark spots, or apply all over cleansed skin for overall brightening!
- Brightening Vitamin C Face Wash: The easiest way to use Vitamin C is through an everyday face wash. Remove impurities, refine pores, hydrate, and brighten with this plant-powered face wash! Features vitamin c, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, mulberry extract, licorice extract, and hyaluronic acid for ultimate nourishment.
- Vitamin C Foaming Face Wash: If you’re looking for a deep clean, our Vitamin C Foaming Face Wash comes with a built-in soft silicone brush to clarify pores, and deliver the antioxidant power deep into your pores.
How Long Does Hyperpigmentation Take to Fade?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question as it will vary for everyone. That being said, most areas of hyperpigmentation will fade within a couple of years with a consistent skincare routine.
This sounds like a long time, but with diligent care and protection, spots can appear to fade within three to six months. Just be patient with your skin and keep at it for the best long-term results.
How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation in the Future
While you may not be able to totally prevent hyperpigmentation in all circumstances, there are some things that you can do to decrease the likelihood of it occurring again.
The first thing that you can do to prevent hyperpigmentation in the future is sun protection-- this means using sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapplying every 2 hours. Yes, this means even when you’re inside or on a cloudy day, UV rays will continue to beam! SPF is vital to help prevent skin damage, and ultimately skin cancer. You can also protect your skin by wearing protective clothing and hats.
You can prevent hyperpigmentation from occurring in the future by tackling acne and scarring now! Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, it is possible to take steps to control your acne and reduce the likelihood that you experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Some acne-reducing solutions include washing your face twice a day, using toners to deep clean pores and any missed impurities, moisturizing, using non-comedogenic makeup products, changing your diet, and managing your stress levels. Even if you can’t get your acne totally under control, make sure to never pop pimples or pick at scars in order to let it heal properly.
Even though you can’t always predict your body’s unique reaction to medications, you may want to avoid taking certain medications that are known to cause hyperpigmentation, especially if you already have sensitive skin or skin conditions that may get irritated. That being said, do not stop taking any medications without first speaking to your doctor about your concerns in order to find a suitable alternative.
Even though hyperpigmentation definitely won’t fade overnight, it’s still possible to address this very common skin issue. It may take some time and dedication on your part, but if you stick with your efforts, it will be worth it in the end when you can enjoy your perfectly even skin without worrying about covering it up with makeup!