If you are dealing with hyperpigmentation, you are not alone. Next to acne and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation sits quite high on the list of common skin concerns. BUT the great news is that there’s a way to treat and manage hyperpigmentation. Today, we want to share with you the list of the top skincare ingredients that can work together as a team to act on all stages of the hyperpigmentation process and effectively improve sun spots, freckles, melasma, and other forms of pigmentation concerns.
Vitamin A comes in many different forms and potencies. One of its well-known derivatives is retinol. Vitamin A is commonly used in treating hyperpigmentation because of its vital role in normalizing skin cell function, including the production of melanin. It does so by regulating the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme that plays a vital role in melanogenesis.
Vitamin A also helps to accelerate cellular turnover, normalize oil production, reduce breakouts and promote healthy collagen and elastin production. It is in fact the only molecule that can repair damaged DNA and assist in reprogramming skin cells, getting them to behave like younger, healthier versions of themselves. Vitamin A deficiency could result in many skin concerns such as acne & blemishes, uneven skin tone, premature aging and can cause the skin to become more prone to sun damage and even skin cancer.
For all the reasons above, vitamin A is essential in maintaining optimal skin health and also in improving skin concerns such as acne, wrinkles and dark spots. It is recommended that you introduce vitamin A slowly with smaller amounts and “step up” as your skin builds more tolerance for it.
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that is found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat. However, it is typically the lab-engineered form that is used in our skincare products due to its greater stability and effectiveness. As a tyrosinase inhibitor, azelaic acid helps to reduce the overproduction of melanin and stop pigmented skin cells from populating. It has beneficial effects on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from breakouts, melasma and helps to promote a healthier, more even complexion.
Because of its anti-inflammatory & anti-pigment properties, azelaic acid is a perfect candidate to be added to your skincare arsenal if you are dealing with skin concerns such as acne, rosacea, and melasma. Unlike most skincare ingredients that treat hyperpigmentation effectively, azelaic acid is thought to be safe to use during pregnancy to treat pregnancy-related hyperpigmentation concerns.
Arbutin is an antioxidant that is derived from plants, most commonly the bearberry plant, or engineered in a lab. Similar to azelaic acid, arbutin can also inhibit melanin production due to its anti-tyrosinase activity. Arbutin is not only helpful in treating hyperpigmentation conditions such as melasma, persistent liver spots, sun spots, and age spots but also can be used as a preventative measure to prevent these problems from developing in the first place.
Arbutin can be added to your skincare ritual as a supportive ingredient to treat existing problems and to protect your skin from future hyperpigmentation-related concerns. It is also considered a great ingredient to add to post laser or any skin treatments that will potentially make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
Ascorbic Acid (aka vitamin C)
Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for healthy, youthful skin. Vitamin C is most popularly used to reduce pigmentation, brighten your complexion and enhance skin radiance, thanks to its ability to inhibit melanin production.
Vitamin C is your super C when it comes to protecting your skin from environmental stressors such as pollution & UV rays, making it a highly effective preventative ingredient that helps to slow the aging process. It also boosts natural collagen and elastin production, which has the potential to thicken the dermis and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is famous for all the right reasons including its ability to strengthen a weakened skin barrier, support water retention, minimize facial redness and blotchiness, visibly reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and mitigate the negative effects of environmental stressors.
Niacinamide can help improve dull and uneven complexion. Studies have revealed that niacinamide reduces skin yellowing (sallowness) and hyperpigmentation that can occur with age.
Niacinamide can also be a powerful ingredient in treating acne with its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce oil production.
All of the benefits above make niacinamide a powerful anti- aging ingredient suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive skin. It is particularly beneficial for individuals with acne-prone skin, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B3 is generally compatible with other key anti-aging ingredients and can be combined safely and effectively with other active ingredients for synergistic benefits.
Mandelic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that has a slightly larger molecule structure, which makes it a great candidate to treat sensitive and reactive skin as the molecule absorbs slower into the skin (but effectiveness is not compromised!). Mandelic acid offers powerful micro-exfoliating properties that remove surface dead skin cells which also removes the pigment molecules placed in those cells, revealing more youthful, radiant skin. In addition, its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties make it a great ingredient for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and erythema caused by acne.
Living with hyperpigmentation can be challenging for many. Knowing what ingredients to integrate and what treatments to choose from can also be confusing at times. That’s why we are here to help!