With the shift from summer to fall in sight, you may also notice some changes to your skin. After another season of heightened UV exposure, it’s not uncommon at this time of year to experience hyperpigmentation. Also known as sunspots or dark spots, these small, discoloured pesky patches can appear on any skin tone or skin type. The good news is that with a skin care routine built around the most effective ingredients, you can treat hyperpigmentation at home. More importantly, right now is the ideal time to get started. Here’s how to work towards a flawless complexion for fall.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Understanding how hyperpigmentation develops is key to successfully treating it. Melanin, which gives your skin its pigment or colour, is produced in the innermost epidermal layer by cells called melanocytes. Levels of melanin range within skin tones, and people with deeper skin tones naturally produce higher amounts of melanin in their skin than those with lighter complexions. Regardless of skin tone, when melanin production is running smoothly, your skin will appear even with no discolouration or dark spots.
But several forces can kick start an overproduction of melanin. By activating an enzyme called tyrosinase that contributes to pigmentation, various triggers allow excess melanin to be produced deep within the skin. This excess collects into clusters and, like any new skin cell your body develops, the clusters are pushed to the upper layer where they become visible as a dark spot, or hyperpigmentation. But unlike new skin cells that eventually become dead on the surface and either easily fall away or can be gently removed with exfoliation, hyperpigmentation has a clingy tendency. Once it appears, it can take months to diminish.
It can also be extra tricky to get a handle on dark spots because of daily sun exposure. Hormonal imbalances and inflammation are internal triggers that can cause hyperpigmentation (that’s why melasma is a common experience during pregnancy), but the biggest external trigger is UV light. Unprotected exposure to the sun can tip off tyrosinase, which can lead to new dark spots, but it can also deepen the pigment on the surface of your skin and make existing spots even darker.
When to Treat Hyperpigmentation
Because sun exposure has such a big impact on melanin production, the best time of year to start treating hyperpigmentation is in the fall. Even with the most diligent sun care routine, it can be challenging to fully withstand a force as powerful (and invisible) as UV light. Set yourself up for success by starting to treat hyperpigmentation once the sunniest days of the year have passed. This timing provides the best opportunity for your skin to diminish and eliminate existing dark spots while limiting the main factor that results in the development of new ones.
The Best Ingredients to Treat Hyperpigmentation
By now, you know that a dark spot that shows up on the surface of your face doesn’t just appear overnight. Due to the complex nature of hyperpigmentation, and its origins in the depth of the skin, it tracks that the most effective ingredients will target the concern from every angle. They’re also best used together.
Any fall skin care routine to treat hyperpigmentation should include tyrosinase inhibitors to help reduce the production of excess melanin at its earliest stage. To support skin 24/7 with these types of ingredients, pair the use of those that are suitable for daytime, such as arbutin, with those that work best at night, like retinol. A derivative of Vitamin A and renowned for its anti-aging properties, retinol serves a dual purpose by accelerating cellular turnover which not only promotes smoother and radiant skin, but is also empowered to combat hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is another important ingredient to have in the mix. It’s a potent antioxidant that inhibits melanin production thereby limiting hyperpigmentation, but it also fades dark spots and has an overall brightening impact. Niacinamide, another antioxidant, can impact melanin and deliver a brightening boost, too. It’s also been shown to reduce sebum production, which is a bonus for anyone who experiences post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, or dark spots that appear following a blemish. Lastly, to protect from the trigger of UV, a sunscreen with minimum SPF 30 should be used daily by anyone who wants to reduce hyperpigmentation.
The Best Skin Care Duo to Treat Hyperpigmentation
For best results, you’ll want to treat dark spots day and night. Vivier Radiance Serum and Skin Brightening Cream create the perfect pair for 24/7 care, and they’re easy to add to your routine.
In the morning, after cleansing and toning, apply 2-3 drops of Vivier Radiance Serum to the face, neck and chest. The multipurpose antioxidant serum is formulated with arbutin, resorcinol and 8% Vitamin C. It helps to target mild to moderately uneven skin tone while stimulating cellular turnover and brighten the look of dark spots. Using a concentrated serum that can deliver key ingredients to the deeper layers of the skin is an essential step to reducing hyperpigmentation where it starts. Follow your serum with a thin layer of Vivier Skin Brightening Cream. A nourishing blend of arbutin, resorcinol and niacinamide, it helps to protect the skin barrier while reducing mild pigmentation, uneven skin tone and sun damage within the upper layer of the skin. Always finish your daytime hyperpigmentation routine by using a sunscreen to prevent further dark spots and discolouration. Even beyond summer months, reapplying sunscreen remains crucial for healthier skin. The sun’s harmful UV rays are present year-round and can still cause damage to your skin.
In the evening, you can use the same Radiance Serum after cleansing and toning. Then, apply a small, pea-sized amount of retinol. With the choice between Retinol 0.3%, Retinol 0.5% and Retinol 1%, your skin type can help determine which formula would be right for you. To protect and nourish your skin barrier while sleeping, apply a dab of moisturizer overtop of retinol as the last step.
Now you know how to outsmart your dark spots! By focusing on the most effective ingredients, you can build a fall skin care routine and start to treat hyperpigmentation today.