Whatever your age, there are very few of us who haven’t experienced some sort of skin blemish, colour change or ‘pigmentation.’

From sunburn to hormonal changes – skin colour changes can sometimes make us feel self-conscious and searching for answers.

Hyperpigmentation, also known as pigmentation, presents as visible marks on the skin, which tend to be a deeper tone or colour.

Dr Alek shares his professional expertise on what causes hyperpigmentation, how to prevent it and how to manage and treat dark marks.

what do we mean by pigmentation?

Skin colour is determined by a pigment (melanin) made by specialised cells in the skin (melanocytes). The amount and type of melanin determine a person’s skin colour – or skin pigmentation. In other words, pigmentation is the colouring of a person’s skin.

Irregular areas in which there are changes to skin colour are much more common than you might think. Often, you may have changes in the pigmentation of a certain area of your skin due to a difference in the level of melanin it contains. Melanin is the substance that provides colour to the skin and protects it from the sun.

what causes hyperpigmentation?

There are numerous causes for hyperpigmentation, but all relate to an overstimulation of the production of pigment in the skin. When the pigment producing cells are over-stimulated there is excessive production of pigment which shows up as the darker marks or patches in the skin, or what is known as hyperpigmentation.

A few typical causes of hyperpigmentation include excess sun exposure, hormonal changes, inflammatory skin conditions, medication and genetics.

treating hyperpigmentation

Firstly, don’t panic! The best approach to treating hyperpigmentation would be to consider a combined treatment regime. Dr Alek Nikolic typically recommends that his patients consider a good skincare topical regime and consider an in-office medical treatment such as Intense Pule Light or Dermapen. If, however, budget is a concern, then a good targeted topical regime will make a difference, but it will not be as effective as when combining our treatment approach.

topical skincare for hyperpigmentation

The basis of any skincare regime for hyperpigmentation is SPF protection, chemical exfoliation (increasing cellular turnover) and targeting the pigment - either by lightning existing hyperpigmentation in the skin and / or preventing hyperpigmentation formation in the first place. This leads us to, what serums should we be considering or using?

serum ingredients that target hyperpigmentation

There is a large number of serums and ingredients that target and help to diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation. The most common ingredients used in these serums include arbutin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B3 (niacinamide), kojic acid, and vitamin A (retinoids).

dr alek’s recommended products for hyperpigmentation

My recommended regime for managing hyperpigmentation includes an at home chemical peel to allow exfoliation and active ingredient serums that target pigment by lightning existing pigmentation and preventing new pigment from forming. Your most important step is a good SPF 30 or higher that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

It includes:

  • avenge | glyco 10 as your at home chemical peel.
  • bounce | combo shot is a combo night time serum with granactive retinol vitamin A and vitamin C to target and lighten existing hyperpigmentation.
  • gloss with lipid-soluble vitamin C to target and prevent hyperpigmentation.
  • flash with granactive retinol vitamin A to target dark marks.
  • avenge HPR and avenge | ascorbyl t-15 can be added as an at-home treatment once or twice a week for enhanced results.