Treating Hyperpigmentation in Dark Skin Tones

Hyperpigmentation is caused when excess pigment Melanin is present in the skin. It causes areas of the skin to become darker than the skin around it. It can affect many different skin tones but is often more extreme on darker skin tones.   


Our skin consists of different tissue layers with the outermost later called the epidermis and the dermis found deeper in your skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect both the epidermis, the dermis and in some cases, both layers. In most cases, the treatment of the epidermal layer is easier however, it can take several months to notice improvement. 


Treating Dermal hyperpigmentation is much more difficult and, in rare cases, can be permanent.  

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What causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation appears differently on everyone; it might be more widespread on one patient or more localised on another. It can occur on any part of the body and will look different depending on your skin type.  


 Potential causes include: 

  • over exposure to the sun 
  • particular medications 
  • changes in hormones  
  • skin trauma such as acne or eczema
  • injury such as cuts or bruises 
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Hyperpigmentation is physically harmless; it is more severe and longer lasting in darker skin tones. Effective treatment is still required as a high number of sufferers report high levels of stress over their appearance which can lead to feeling anxious and self-conscious about their appearance. 

There are a number of ways to treat hyperpigmentation, we list some of our own treatments here. You can also try Obagi Nu-Derm Systems, a revolutionary prescription-based skincare system that will transform your skin and improve any sign of hyperpigmentation and ageing. 


Use a Gentle Cleanser 

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before you use any other products on your skin. Washing will prepare your skin by removing any oils and dirt and if you do this twice, then it has an even greater effect. Firstly, remove any makeup and oils using a non-stripping, gentle cleansing balm or oil. Then follow up with a cleanser to rinse it all away.  


Chemically Exfoliate 

This means, no gritty scrubs which can cause micro-tears on the surface of your skin. Using a liquid with ingredients which contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) will dissolve and wash away dead skin and will eventually even out your tone and texture. Exfoliating regularly will stop dead skin cells blocking the products you use from getting to your skin and therefore reducing their effectiveness.  

Find a Serum and Seek Advice

Serums are packed with ingredients which hydrate, brighten or smooth your skin. Look out for serums which contain one of the following: 

  • Azelaic acid 

  • Glycolic acid 

  • Kojic acid 

  • Retinoid (retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene) 

  • Vitamin C 


The above ingredients can help reduce dark spots and, in some cases, they can slow down the production of melanin in your body. This in turn will reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation in dark skin. Always consult a professional dermatologist before purchasing any products as some contain ingredients which may cause harm.  


Looking after your skin is important and we can help you develop a routine that fits with your preferences and skin type through recommending ingredients that help with skincare such as retinol, benzoyl peroxide and more.