Hyperpigmentation is one of those skin conditions that go unrecognized, and for some, no matter what you do or don’t do to your skin, it may seem like dark spots on your face are inevitable. Chemical peels, serums, actives, cleansers and moisturizers claim to help even out complexion and reduce hyperpigmentation, but one of the most effective (and affordable!) Ways to prevent dark spots is to use a sunscreen daily.
Hyperpigmentation is caused by overproduction of melanin (your skin’s natural pigment) and can be triggered by inflammation caused by acne, eczema, harsh skin care products, genetics, sunlight, and even certain medications. Jenny Liu, MD, board certified dermatologist from Minnesota. And while prescription medications are often used to treat hyperpigmentation, consistently wearing sunscreen – yes, even when you’re indoors – can help prevent and reduce further skin discoloration, she says.
“Ultraviolet light stimulates melanocytes to increase melanin production. Research has shown that sunscreen itself can be beneficial [in preventing the exacerbation of hyperpigmentation] without additional clarifierssays Dr. Liu. If you already have dark spots, using sunscreen will prevent UV rays from increasing melanin production and making the spots look worse. If you don’t currently have dark spots, sunscreen acts as a shield, preventing the overproduction of melanin.
In any case, you cannot apply sunscreen once on a blue moon to see results. Instead, you need to wear it daily. Dr. Liu recommends using sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher, using one teaspoon (or two fingers) on the face and neck, and reapply every two hours as needed. “For colored skin, I recommend tinted sunscreen block visible light from [the] sun too. ”
Dr. Liu says that in addition to sunscreen, gentle skin care products should be used to prevent and reduce hyperpigmentation to minimize irritation. And while there are plenty of tips and tricks to find on social media, she believes it’s best to consult a board-certified dermatologist “instead of trying products at home that have a high risk of further worsening hyperpigmentation. I don’t recommend playing chemist at home to try your hand. ”
Are you missing all the sunscreen options? We got you covered. Find the best sunscreen for your skin type in the helpful video below:
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