Now that your summer tan has faded, are you noticing brown spots on your skin? There are ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally! Read on
By Chere Di Boscio
Now is the time, friends! If you’ve discovered tiny (or not so tiny) brown marks on your skin, winter is the time to get rid of them.
Those dots are the result of an increase in the amount of melanin being produced in some parts of the skin. If your skin isn’t able to naturally remove this excess melanin, you can get excessive or hyperpigmentation. Common causes include:
- cumulative exposure to the sun (over several years)
- a reaction to some medications
- changing hormones
- injury or inflammation to the skin.
And don’t think this is an issue faced by only the fair of skin. Oh no! Darker skin tones tend to be more affected by this problem, too. In fact, no matter what your ethnicity, over time, it’s likely you will get at least a few spots on your skin.
Unfortunately, many try to even out their skin tone with harmful skin lightening ingredients that can cause all kinds of health issues.
So, what else can we do? Can you get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally?
The short answer is…kind of. What we do know for sure is that the best time to treat hyperpigmentation is in the winter, when you’re out in the sun much less. But there’s much more to it than that.
We asked skincare expert and the co-founder of ESK Skincare, Dr. Ginni Mansberg, for some advice.
How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation Naturally
Why are some women more prone to pigmentation than others?
Often, we don’t know why it happens. Genetics and in some cases, hormones, can play a big role in hyperpigmentation. But it is exposure to the sun (even incidentally) that really ups your chances of hyperpigmentation.
Is sun protection the only true preventative strategy for avoiding brown spots, or can other practises minimise pigmentation?
Sun protection is definitely the most important factor in reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation. Of course, that includes a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The sun’s UVA rays that contribute to pigmentation are there from sunrise to sunset 365 days a year, so you should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen as part of your daily skincare routine.
But you should manage skin conditions like acne and rosacea that cause inflammation to reduce your risk of developing dark spots in the first place.
What type of skincare ingredients can help minimise the appearance of pigmentation?
There are 4 main groups of ingredients which can help reduce hyperpigmentation. Best results are achieved by using various strategies at the same time.
1. Tyrosinase inhibitors
These are a group of compounds which suppress tyrosinase, one of the key building blocks of melanin (the pigment in your skin). While these take some time to work, they are viewed as the most effective compounds on the market. Hydroquinone, largely viewed as the gold standard ingredient in depigmentation is one of these, but it has increasingly been coming under a safety cloud and is generally not recommend for use for more than 3 months – if at all. One of the most promising ingredients in this group is 4-n-butylresorcinol. It is very effective, and importantly, it is very well tolerated and safe for long term use (even during pregnancy).
2. Transport disruption
Pigment is made in cells called melanocytes and is transported to cells called keratinocytes, where it is deposited. Ingredients like Vitamin B (Niacinamide) and to a lesser degree Vitamin A (eg. Retinal) inhibit the transport of Melanin to keratinocytes, meaning that there is less deposited there and less pigmentation.
3. Increasing skin cell turnover
Vitamin A (eg. Retinol) is the ultimate ingredient to increase skin cell turnover. This helps “flush” melanin from the skin.
Antioxidants like Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) interact with copper ions in the skin (one of the elements that would otherwise be involved in the process of making melanin). They “switch off” the message to create melanin by deactivating Reactive Oxygen Species (which are formed following exposure to the sun’s UV).
What skincare ingredients should we look out for if we want to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally?
There are quite a few. Here are some of my favourites.
4-n-Butylresorcinol (4nB) is one of the most exciting depigmenting ingredients in modern skincare. Operating similarly to hydroquinone, a rather harsh skin lightening agent, 4nB inhibits tyrosinase activity. However, unlike hydroquinone, 4nB is an all natural, copper-based skin enzyme. It’s directly involved in the creation of melanin.
As I mentioned previously, it’s best to manage pigmentation via multiple pathways simultaneously. Methods include increasing exfoliation, improving antioxidant support and reducing melanin transfer. But that being said, inhibiting tyrosinase is by far the most effective and safest treatment to date.
Users see results in as little as 6 weeks. Science shows this ingredient is far more effective than other depigmenting agents such as arbutin, azelaic acid, and kojic acid. It also provides superior results in terms of skin clarity and tolerance over a shorter period of time.
Ideal for pregnant and/or breastfeeding mothers, including those prone to skin sensitivity, 4nB is a gentler and more effective alternative to hydroquinone-based formulations, particularly in the treatment of melasma and overall skin rejuvenation.
Better known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories in skincare. A relative newcomer in commercial cosmetic formulations, this ingredient shows strong evidence regarding its efficacy. It helps a whole range of skin concerns including acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, dermatitis and wrinkles. It also reduces the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers.
Niacinamide helps regulate normal skin cell function and turnover, while simultaneously improving the skin’s moisture barrier through the production of ceramides. It also helps to balance sebum production, increase collagen synthesis and reduce post-inflammatory redness caused by skin disorders and topical active ingredients.
Combating discolouration on a cellular level, this ingredient reduces the transfer of melanin to keratinocytes where pigment is. This makes niacinamide a particularly useful ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation and brightening the skin’s overall complexion.
Suitable for all skin types, including those prone to sensitivity, vitamin B3 is used by over 400 enzymes in the body making it the single most widely used vitamin in enzyme-based activity.
Can you ever truly get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally with creams?
Sometimes. Some hyperpigmentation is deep in the skin and is very hard to remove. But we can remove hyperpigmentation which is closer to the surface of the skin. In some cases, we can get rid of it completely! But at that point, it’s vital to manage your sun exposure by wearing protective clothing like hats, and using sunscreen daily. You should also use a skincare product daily that has evidence of preventing melanin production.
Would you recommend any other ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation? Say, via high tech solutions?
There are other practices that can reduce and in some cases, even remove hyperpigmentation. There are in-clinic procedures like certain kinds of lasers, IPL therapy and microdermabrasion which may help. But these often come with discomfort and high costs. There’s also the (rare) possibility in some users of making things worse.
Microneedling as in-clinic procedure can also help and has lower levels of discomfort and quicker recovery time.
Natural Anti-Hyperpigmentation Products to Try
1. Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Proven clinical trials. Clean ingredients. Visible results. What more do you want in a cream?
This award-winning moisturiser is intensely luxurious, hydrating and nourishing. But that’s not all! It’s backed by 30 years of research, innovation, and glowing customer testimonials.
So no wonder using the Rich Cream is one of our favourite ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally. It’s thick, creamy, and effective! This is a product that does so much. For example, it:
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation
- Deeply hydrates
- Promotes elasticity
- Prevents transepidermal water loss – for skin that’s supple, plump, and smooth.
- Protects against environmental aggressors
- Supports cellular renewal
2. Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
Packed with Vitamin C, this gold-stabilised Vitamin-C serum is the ideal way to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally. It’s mixed alongside a glycolic acid complex, providing the ultimate skin brightening duo. With Gold stabilised vitamin- C providing higher antioxidants, it can prevent hyperpigmentation, dullness and uneven skin tone. Alongside Glycolic acid that rapidly resurfaces and removes dead skin cells, leaving the skin with a dramatically brighter and healthier-looking complexion.
3. Wildcrafted Organics Wild Plum Serum
Vitamin C can impede melanin production. It also helps to fade dark spots, leading to a more even-toned complexion.
Wildcrafted Organics uses magnesium ascorbyl phosphate to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally. This is a bioactive form of vitamin C. It acts as a powerful collagen stimulator enhanced by a phospholipid delivery system that penetrates the deeper dermal layers.
This amazing serum also contains Kakadu plum (a fruit which contains the highest levels of Vitamin C), Illawarra plum and Burdekin plum. These Australian Wild harvested super fruits reduce oxidative damage and stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis. The result? More hydrated skin, increased procollagen, and better fibronectin synthesis. It’s an ageing miracle!
4. Antipodes Skin Lightening Mask
Improve hyperpigmentation and your skin’s overall appearance by regularly using this rich mask!
It’s fortified with volcanic mud from New Zealand, as well as a unique antioxidant compound, called Vinanza®. This was created to minimise the appearance of redness and pigmentation for a more refined, even complexion. This wonderfully scented, creamy mask blends effortlessly into the skin, and will bathe your senses in a cloud of vanilla and raspberry fragrances.
5. Enlighten Cream by ESK
We love this company for how it combines science with nature to care for your skin!
Made in Australia, this gentle cream is one of the best ways to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally. It contains a tyrosinase inhibitor and the antioxidant niacinamide to lighten and brighten skin appearance and provide a more even skin tone.
Niacinamide provides visible improvements within 3 weeks, and 4-n-butylresorcinol significantly improves outcomes after 2 – 3 months of continuous use.
6. Avant Dark Spot Reducer
Avant skincare is another company that combines nature and technology to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally. Their anti-dark spot treatment targets stubborn and hard to remove melanin spots trapped deep in the skin. With continued use, you’ll soon discover a much more even skin tone.
This cream boasts three key ingredients: Glutamic Acid, Lumisphere and Symwhite. Lumisphere is the main one for removing dark spots. It reduces the melanin level in the skin, and comes from Scotch pine bark. Symwhite helps address skin discoloration and uneven skin tone, leaving your skin brighter and more radiant. And if you want to learn more about glutamic acid, just read what I wrote above.
7. Missha Vitamin B12 Drop Cream
This cream is another way to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally! It functions with the power of B vitamins, namely Vitamin B12, and is based on Korean skincare technology. In addition to B12, there’s a multivitamin complex of vitamins B3, B5, A, C and E that harnesses antioxidant action to protect skin from external stressors that cause ageing.
The 2-in-1 anti-ageing and anti-hyperpigmentation cream also uses other natural ingredients like Vitamin Tree Seed combined with Grapefruit extract to promote a calm and clarified complexion.
8. Silky Radiant Brightening Toner by Makanai
9. Voile Lacté by L’Odaites
Ready to get rid of hyperpigmentation naturally via the power of plants? L’Odeites uses a daffodil extract synergistically with a raspberry, peach and apple active complex to reduce dark spots on the skin.
This serum deeply hydrates and brightens your skin. In fact, clinical trials show a 28% reduction in melanin after just 14 days of use. Each day you use this, your pigmentation spots will start to fade more and more. The result? A brighter, more even and luminous complexion.
10. B&R Wonder Cream Protect & Repair
If you’re searching for a face cream that protects your skin daily while also improving your skin tone, then this cream from Baroque & Rose is the one for you.
Their Wonder Cream hydrates deep layers, plumping the skin. It also minimises the appearance of pores, sun damage, and even acne scars. But of course, its nourishing ingredients
Replenishing vital nutrients, the cream will leave skin renewed and glowing. It also acts as a barrier against daily stressors and environmental aggressors.
Best for: Acting as a buffer between you and the elements. This cream is like a facial bodyguard!
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