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Four Ways You’re Triggering Hyperpigmentation and How to Stop

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Hyperpigmentation—dark spots or patches of excess pigment in the skin—can be caused by hormones, inflammation, and exposure to chemicals, pollutants, and UV radiation. It can also be caused, or worsened, by things you are doing, unwittingly, to trigger your skin’s protective melanin response. Here are four ways you may be igniting hyperpigmentation and how to repair the damage.

 

You’re picking at pimples.

Injury to the skin causes inflammation, which spurs the skin’s natural protective melanin response, resulting in a darkening at the site of the damage. Pimples, which are the result of inflammation inside the pore, can leave dark spots behind after they heal. Picking at pimples will amplify the inflammation response, making it far more likely that a dark spot will develop.

 

Avoid picking at blemishes at all costs. Instead, focus on reducing the inflammation to speed healing of the pimple and avoid triggering the ensuing hyperpigmentation. Rub ice over the area to constrict blood vessels and calm inflammation. Follow the ice with an application of toner that contains healing anti-inflammatory ingredients like mandelic acid (also a melanin inhibitor), salicylic acid, and niacinamide. Daily Repair Pads or Skin Nourishing Toner are excellent choices for brightening, clearing, and calming. 

 

You’re waxing.

The cellular trauma produced by ripping hair from the follicle can trigger an inflammatory reaction that results in increased melanin production. If you wax frequently, your chances of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in those areas are greatly increased, especially in dark skin tones.

 

A regimen that includes mandelic acid can help counter these side effects by inhibiting melanin production, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the skin barrier. To minimize irritation immediately following waxing, apply a soothing, anti-inflammatory cream or gel. Vivant’s Allantoin Sedating & Hydrating Lotion is an intensely calming and healing blend of allantoin, grape seed oil, oat protein, whole leaf aloe, and zinc peptides.

 

To avoid damaging your skin, halt your use of vitamin A products for two weeks before waxing, and wait three to four days after waxing to resume.

 

Sunscreen, or better yet, sun avoidance, in the days following the waxing is critical as your skin will be more vulnerable to UV.

 

Your treatments are too aggressive.

Treatments that use heat or aggressive physical exfoliation, i.e., laser, microdermabrasion, high percentage chemical peels, or excessively abrasive scrubbing can trigger melanin production as the skin becomes inflamed and irritated.

 

Gentler treatments and lower acid percentages are the best approach. Look for products containing gentle mandelic acid. It’s a natural inhibitor of tyrosinase, the enzyme that catalyzes melanin production. The larger molecular structure of mandelic acid means it’s absorbed more slowly by the skin, and, therefore, is less likely to cause melanin-triggering irritation. Mandelic acid is ideal for darker skin more prone to hyperpigmentation.

 

You’re not wearing sunscreen.

UV exposure triggers melanin production and darkens existing pigmentation, making sun protection a must.

 

Always. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen for outdoor activity, and a daily moisturizer with sun protection like Vivant Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15 with zinc peptides and aloe to support healthier skin and reduce inflammation while guarding against UV damage.

 

Boost your sun protection with a daily vitamin C & E serum. This combination of powerful antioxidants has been shown to enhance the photoprotective properties of sunscreen exponentially. Additionally, vitamin C is a melanin-inhibitor, so it will help to prevent new pigment from forming, and vitamin E enhances cellular repair and reduces inflammation. This superstar pair are the foundation of Vivant’s Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum. Use it daily for advanced photoprotection, and brighter, firmer tone.