What I Did to Combat Hyperpigmentation
I have insanely sensitive skin. The slightest irritation and I immediately find myself dealing with anything from a crop of tiny bumps, an obstinate bruise, or prolonged inflammation. If I have a breakout, it will most definitely leave a mark. Even if I don’t pick at it. Needless to say, It doesn’t really take much for me to be left with random dark marks all over my face. Historically speaking, they take forever and a day to fade. A few years ago, I had a facial and the products were too harsh for my skin. My skin was so ravished with huge areas of discoloration, I didn't feel comfortable going anywhere without a full face of make-up on. The complete antithesis to my beauty goals. In fact, my #1 goal is to use makeup, when I want to enhance my look, but not to rely on it every single day. I really like the freedom of going foundation free and try to do so as much as possible. Hence, my number one skincare objective is to maintain and promote evenly-toned and bright skin.
Here are some of the tools I used to combat my hyperpigmentation when it got out of hand:
1. Glycolic Acid peels – A true lifesaver. I hemmed and hawed until I couldn’t take it anymore. The “spots truly got to me, so I finally bit the bullet, and booked a peel with my dermatologist. I was nervous about the peel being too harsh and causing more hyperpigmentation, but at the same time, I felt like I needed the highest strength to make a significant difference. They actually start with the lowest strength to see how you react to it and depending on how your skin tolerates that peel, they'll move you up to the next strength. You can have one peel every 10-14 days. Typically, people get a series of 5-6 treatments in total, but I noticed a significant difference after just one. I had some small marks near my hairline that were completely invisible after the first peel. By, the time I was on my fourth treatment, most of my spots were gone. I absolutely accomplished my goal of going out with just moisturizer and spf:) I definitely recommend getting your peel at the doctor's office, rather than just a spa, because you will get a medical grade peel that will be move effective. I really wish I had done this one sooner.
2. Gycolic facial wash - Glycolic peels can be a bit pricey so I'm gonna keep it real, it absolutely crossed my mind to see if I could possibly do it on my own at home. NOPE! Thankfully, I decided against this. However, I did decide I would incorporate the ingredient at home via my facial wash. I use this one that I found on Amazon. It is a light exfoliant as well, which is essential to sloughing off dead and damaged skin cells, and revealing the bright, new skin underneath. It's also gentle, which is imperative for my sensitive skin. I never experience tightness or excessively dry skin after cleaning my face. Win-win.
3. Vitamin C – The best brightener out there. I have used serums in the past that didn’t do much, however, a. stick with the process because changes to your skin don’t happen overnight and b. you might have to try different brands to find one that works for you.
4. Double cleansing - I've read so much about double cleansing, but wasn't sure about whether or not it would be beneficial to my sensitive skin. Living in a big city, your skin is hit with pollution and major grime, DAILY! Even if you don't wear makeup on a regular basis, you will have to deal with your share of dirt on your face. Dirty and clogged skin, lends itself to breakouts and blemishes which can eventually leave a dark mark behind. Enter double cleansing to ensure pristine skin! Full disclosure, I can be a bit lazy when it comes to cleaning my skin so I found a system that is relatively quick and gets the job done. I start with a cleansing wipe or oil-based cream cleanser to get off most of the dirt. I then follow up with a liquid cleanser like the one I mentioned in #2, to remove anything I missed. I typically don't do this at night, one simple cleaning is good enough for the morning. This simple step, added to my skincare routine, has drastically improved the clarity of my skin.
5. Bare Necessities - Your skin is a living breathing organism. Aside from treating it like a fine silk cloth, avoiding picking at it, and scrubbing it like you are trying trying to punish it, you also need to let it breathe. Seriously! Sometimes this is easier said than done, depending on how comfortable you feel without make-up on, but it has made a tremendous difference in healing my skin. Eventually, you'll get to the point where wearing make-up is really a preference, and not something you feel you absolutely need to face the public:) Start with maybe weekends off. OR spot treat spots and only use under eye-concealer to blend in imperfections. A little mascara and eyebrows and you can achieve a dope barefaced look while using minimal make-up.
5. Sunscreen By Any Means Necessary - All this effort will be for naught if you don't cover up when you go out in the sun. I know this sounds glaringly obvious, but for the longest time, I never took sunscreen seriously. Sometimes it was an afterthought. Sometimes, I would look outside on a gloomy day and say to myself, "meh, it's not sunny!" and skip it. Some darker-toned folks think they don't need it because they have innate protection, but trust and believe, you need it. No matter what shade you are. Also, if you are using glycolic or vitamin c, these ingredients tend to make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which could make your spots even worse, if you don't use protection.
I often get asked about what I'm using on my skin and I know several ladies (and gents) who battle with hyperpigmentation and trying to achieve evenly toned skin, so I hope this has been helpful. If you have questions, please hit me up. If you have beauty secrets, please share the wealth. We all out here just trying to be great!
** These photos are make-up free with good lighting:)
Some of my favorite products:
Love x Light,