5 Ways to Help Prevent Hyperpigmentation This Summer

sunscreen, hyperpigmentation, acne, skincare

You’ll recognize hyperpigmentation by the brown or tan areas on your skin that don’t fade away like the rest of your suntan. While it’s a common problem, patches of hyperpigmentation can have a significant impact on your appearance.

At Health and Beauty Associates, we have several highly effective treatments to eliminate unsightly skin discolorations, but we’d like to offer some tips to help you prevent the problem.

What you should know about hyperpigmentation

Melanin is the natural brown pigment that’s responsible for your skin color and making you tan. Hyperpigmentation develops when areas of your skin produce more melanin than normal.

Hormone changes, cosmetics, some medications, thyroid disease, and even stress can trigger excessive melanin production. You can also develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is skin discoloration caused by skin inflammation.

However, the most common cause of hyperpigmentation is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, whether from natural sunlight or a tanning bed. UV light causes patches of hyperpigmentation to develop. It also worsens any existing discolorations you may have. That’s why you need to take extra precaution during the summer months.

Here are our top five tips for preventing hyperpigmentation:

Tip 1: Be fanatical about using sunscreen

Using sunscreen is the first and most important step for preventing skin hyperpigmentation, but you can’t just occasionally apply a weak sunscreen. Here’s how to get optimal sun protection:

Choose an effective sunscreen product

To prevent hyperpigmentation, you’ll need a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB light. You should also choose products that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Use sunscreen every day

Sunscreen should be applied at least once daily, even if it’s cloudy outside. Though some types of clouds block UV rays, others amplify the effect by reflecting UV rays and increasing your exposure. Rather than trying to figure out cloud formations, it’s easier to get in the habit of using sunscreen every day.

Reapply sunscreen frequently

How often you need to reapply sunscreen depends on the SPF factor and your activity. The SPF number tells how long you can stay out in the sun without starting to burn. For example, an SPF of 30 means you can stay exposed to sunlight 30 times longer than it normally takes you to burn.

So, if you normally burn in 10 minutes and apply an SPF 30 sunscreen, you’re protected for 300 minutes (five hours). Right? Not always.

If you’re swimming or sweating, you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen every 1-2 hours to ensure you stay protected. Even if you use a product that says it’s waterproof, it’s still a good idea to frequently reapply your sunscreen.

Tip 2: Wear protective clothing

If you’re susceptible to hyperpigmentation, you can boost your protection by wearing a wide-brimmed hat to cover your face and clothing that shields your arms and legs from UV light.

We know that it’s summertime and you don’t want to cover up with long sleeves and pants, but you don’t need to wear a dark, heavy denim (which completely blocks sunlight) to get an added layer of sun protection.

Unbleached cotton absorbs UV light, while high-luster polyesters and thin silk are protective because they reflect UV radiation. You may also want to consider buying sun-protective clothing that’s designed to protect you from UV light — look for items that are confirmed to have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).

Tip 3: Don’t pick or scratch your skin

Whether you have a bug bite, pimple, rash, or any other typical summer skin problem that’s begging to be scratched or picked away — don’t do it! This will only aggravate your skin and trigger an inflammatory reaction, which can cause hyperpigmentation.

Tip 4: Use gentle skin care products

Use skin care products designed for delicate or sensitive skin, or those with anti-inflammatory ingredients. If you have any questions, we can help you choose products that will nurture your skin rather than cause irritation.

Tip 5: Take proactive measures to prevent acne

Acne often flares up in summer due to sweating and increased oil production. Unfortunately, some sunscreens may also trigger acne. Since inflammatory acne can cause hyperpigmentation, it’s important to change your skin care or get prompt treatment for summertime acne.

We offer comprehensive skin care at Health and Beauty Associates, including helping you prevent hyperpigmentation. To schedule a skin care appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.

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