Hyperpigmentation, is a general term that refers to an issue where the skin has become discoloured or darkened. This can be brought on by many different factors such as skin injuries, acne scarring, sun damage, ingrown hairs or even inflammation from eczema.
However, there is a totally different type of hyperpigmentation known as melasma. This a skin discolouration condition that affects millions of people - the majority being women. As with general hyperpigmentation, melasma shows up as discolouration on the skin's surface and is made worse by exposure to the sun. However, there are actually numerous differences that set it apart from standard hyperpigmentation issues.
Hyperpigmentation relates to any situations where random areas of the skin have darkened.
This could appear as post inflammatory marks from injury or burns, scarring from blemishes and acne, sun spots from UV rays, or patchy discolourations that have arisen from skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. These discolourations all come under the term hyperpigmentation.
So, acne, UV damage, skin injuries, ageing etc trigger the stimulation of melanocytes (the pigment generating cells in the skin). This results in the over production of pigment and the deeper the pigmentation, then, the tougher it is to treat. For instance, an area of skin that has been constantly exposed to harmful UV rays without sun protection will be much more difficult to fade than for example, the odd dark spot that has resulted from a short bout of acne.
However, all these types of hyperpigmentation marks can usually be successfully diminished by the use of dedicated treatment creams, serums and exfoliating products that contain brightening agents like vitamin C, glycolic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, arbutin AHAs, liquorice extract and more. Products such as Hyperfade, Megafade or Supaskin Lightening Creme are good examples.
So, applying a product like these can successfully treat or clear general Hyperpigmentation.
Melasma is a different kettle of fish though!
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that is more common for women - even more so for women with darker skin tones. It is generally caused by long term exposure to the sun, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes and pregnancy. It typically appears as dark blotches on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20 to 50 years of age.
Melasma is a lot more tricky to treat compared to traditional hyperpigmentation and therefore requires a more extensive and multi treatment approach. So, whereas standard hyperpigmentation marks can usually be diminished with one treatment cream over a couple of months, Melasma will need to be treated with at least three different types of products. First off, the area of concern should be exfolaited with a high quality exfoliating scrub such as Megafade. Then the skin needs to treated with a specialist cream like Hyperfade. Finally, it is imperative to apply a good quality sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more.
These treatments should be applied to the brown patches twice a day every day. Sunscreen should be applied every morning.
A specialist food supplement such as Nutrifade can really help improve the skin too.
Just as melasma develops gradually, the clearance of Melasma is therefore also gradual. However, with patience, and the right protection, Melasma can be greatly diminished over time.
So to summarise, Hyperpigmentation and Melasma happens, but with the proper skin treatments, protection and sunscreen, these skin conditions can be successfully treated and avoided in the future.