Hyperpigmentation appears like dark patches or spots on the skin that make it look uneven.

The spots are known as sun spots and hyperpigmentation is also at the heart of skin conditions such as melasma and post-inflammatory- hyperpigmentation.

People with darker skin are normally more affected by hyperpigmentation marks than those with a lighter skin tone as skin pigmentation is stronger in dark skin due to the presence of melanin.

One of the most common misconceptions about discoloured skin is that it will fade away naturally and that no treatment is necessary. Some types of pigmentation, for instance, those caused by acne, can eventually lighten up over a long period of time. However, the majority of discoloration needs to be treated with high-powered active ingredients and intense and consistent treatments to fully eradicate spots on the surface and restore the skin to it's best state.

There are many procedures that you can do to help with hyperpigmentation and dark spots

Although hyperpigmentation is harmless, lots of people wish to get rid of it because it's not aesthetically pleasing. There are a range of treatments and tried and tested home remedies that people can try. Bear in mind that different things work for different people so do not get discouraged if you do not see results immediately.

To prevent hyperpigmentation or to stop it getting worse:

  • Avoid exposure to the sun. Always ensure that you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin and stop hyperpigmentation from becoming darker.
  • Avoid picking at the skin. To prevent hyperpigmentation from forming after an injury, avoid picking at spots, scabs and bites. It will make it more difficult for the skin to heal and the body will produce more melanin to compensate for the injury making the site darker.

People can try the following treatments to lighten dark patches of skin and remove hyperpigmentation:

Topical creams

Many people use topical treatments to treat hyperpigmentation. Topical treatments will include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as:

  • azelaic acid
  • corticosteroids
  • hydroquinone
  • kojic acid
  • retinoids, such as tretinoin
  • vitamin C

Cosmetic procedures

Some cosmetic procedures can also lighten areas of skin to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Cosmetic procedures for hyperpigmentation include:

  • laser therapy
  • intense pulsed light
  • chemical peels
  • microdermabrasion

When taking part in cosmetic procedures, black people need to ensure that they go to a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist who has experience in dealing with black skin.

Black skin is far more sensitive and needs to be handled as such.

Hyperpigmentation does not have to be the end of the world. Yes, it may be unsightly but there are a range of options to help deal with it. To prevent further damage to your skin, ensure that you always wear SPF when going outside and moisturise moisturise moisturise!