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The Truth About Hyperpigmentation and What You Can Do About It

Have you ever wondered why women with dark skin seem to suffer with skin problems more often and to a greater extent than those with light skin?

The reality is that while anyone can suffer from skin problems, the majority of women of colour will suffer from a condition called hyperpigmentation to some degree at some point in their life.

Hyperpigmentation is where patches of skin become darker than surrounding skin. It can affect the whole body or just certain areas – most commonly, but not limited to, the face and stomach.

It is a condition that affects all ages and not only affects your appearance, it can have a knock on effect on your confidence too, especially when it seems to be so difficult to treat.

The cause of hyperpigmentation

To understand what causes hyperpigmentation, it is important to understand a little about the biology of skin and what is going on beneath the surface.

While all skin is effectively the same, the colour of it, whether it is the palest ivory or the darkest brown, is down to cells called melanosomes. These are basically tiny pockets containing a natural chemical called melanin.

Although we all have roughly the same number of these melanosomes, the larger they are and the more melanin they contain, the darker your skin looks. This is also what makes hair and eyes appear darker. Unfortunately, it is this melanin that also causes hyperpigmentation under the right circumstances.

There are many ‘triggers’ of hyperpigmentation including hormonal changes, particularly during pregnancy; injuries such as burns or cuts; exposure to sun; injury caused by conditions such as acne or eczema; effects of some chemotherapy drugs; and even a rare endocrine disease called Addison’s disease. Due to the abundance of melanin, dark skin is particularly prone to hyperpigmentation.

Lack of information

There appears to be distinct lack of information, research and skincare products available to women with dark skin meaning many women of colour are resorting to harmful acids, medical grade peels or dangerous ‘whitening’ products in an attempt to achieve clear skin.

Rather than helping, when not administered properly, many of these ‘treatments’ that are not created specifically for darker skin can exacerbate skin conditions and make them worse. At best they are simply ineffective.

Treating hyperpigmentation

Treating hyperpigmentation can be a long, difficult, and sometimes painful process. It often involves a lot of trial and error, testing products to see which ones work and, more often, which don’t.

Unfortunately, the majority of commercially available skincare products on the market are formulated for Caucasian skin so they either under treat or over treat black skin, the result being an expensive but ineffective product.

The clinical alternatives, such as chemical and laser peels, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and skin whitening products, can be extremely harsh and damaging to dark skin.

There are many natural remedies on the market containing ingredients such as aloe vera, liquorice and green tea, but there is no scientific evidence that any of these are effective at treating hyperpigmentation. The same can be said for the growing number of home remedies being suggested, containing everything from apple cider vinegar and red onion to yoghurt and milk, leaving women struggling to know where to turn to.

Cosmeceutical skincare products

Experience and science shows that dark skin heals and repairs a lot faster when the products used are carefully formulated with the right concentrations, meaning there really is no need to resort to harmful and dangerous products to achieve uniformity on black skin.

Emeilleurq is a luxury cosmeceutical skincare and lifestyle brand with 13 products, ranging from cleansers and toners, to spot treatments and an intensive moisturiser. All products contain clinically proven, effective ingredients and complexes that provide visible improvements to hyperpigmentation on dark skin without damaging it.

The brand contains a truly inclusive skincare range formulated to be extremely effective on black skin, but also entirely safe to use on sensitive Caucasian skin.

Caring for your skin

Although there is no proven way to prevent hyperpigmentation, there are steps that you can take to protect your skin as much as possible.

It is a myth that dark skin is protected from sun damage. In reality sun damage is one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation. Therefore, a good sun screen of at least SPF 30 is essential.

As tempting as it may be, try not to pick or scratch the skin, especially when suffering from a flare up on acne or eczema, or when an injury is healing.

Use good quality skincare products specially designed for dark and sensitive skin such as Emeilleurq’s instant spot treatment, fibroblast growth factor serum, mela defense cream and tetrapeptide intensive moisturiser. This can help to protect skin from the damage that can trigger hyperpigmentation.

Armed with the best skincare regimen, everyone can find their best skin!

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