There's a chasm running through the 48grams blog editorial team. On the one hand: we, who are happy when the first rays of sunshine cause freckles to sprout. In a good mood, we announce every morning that there are a few more. And then there's the other camp: here, every dark spot is eyed critically, a serum for pigmentation spots is used immediately, and then covered with makeup. Coupled with this is the worry that the spot is the harbinger of a blemish.
Freckles vs. dark spots
If that's not a reason to dedicate a blog article to hyperpigmentation. Basically, though, we want to take up a lance for freckles first. The cheeky little spots can look pretty sexy and yes, they smoothly swindle a few years away on a face. If you don't believe it: just google pictures of Penelope Cruz, Lucy Liu or Gwyneth Paltrow. Et voilà. Regarded but from the looks: the sprouting sprouts are indeed a form of hyperpigmentation - but a wholly harmless subspecies.
Face masks with vitamin C
Let's move on to what might really cause concern. If you wake up in the morning and discover more than a few spots - but small color-changed areas - on your face or shoulders, we recommend you bring forward your next visit to the dermatologist. We at the 48grams blog are skincare specialists - but not doctors. Therefore we can and want to give explicitly only hints or suggestions. First tip at this point: the use of a face mask with vitamin C.
When the spots lead to the psychologist
First, let's explain the formation of so-called chloasma (or melasma) - all terms for the same chemical process: the increased synthesis of melanin (pigment). This is produced by skin cells, specifically melanocytes. The result becomes visible in the form of irregular light brown or black spots on cheeks, forehead or chin. The triggers for such overproduction are manifold - more on this later. The dimensions range from the size of a cent to several centimeters. The larger, the more difficult it is to cover the "issue" - as we will call hyperpigmentation with all due caution - with makeup. Many, however, see it as a flaw. Psychologists are increasingly confronted with the "issue". Hyperpigmentation is mentally extremely stressful for a large number of those affected: inferiority complexes, social anxiety or depressive moods are not uncommon and often have to be treated over a long period of time. This is really terrible.
Strong UV protection, short sunbaths
Therefore, we should now look at the triggers. The most well-known reason: UV radiation. Those who expose their skin to the sun always risk the increased storage of melanin. The longer the sun exposure, the higher the risk of hyperpigmentation. However, there are factors that increase the risk even more. Lighter skin types and people in the second third of life are affected significantly more often. In addition, genetic components have an effect. In the end, it's a bit like the lottery. Only the strongest UV protection can prevent the formation of pigment spots to some extent. Nevertheless, vitamin C should be applied after every sunbath. In the form of a serum or with masks.
The miracle of OPC serum
Another tip: using a serum containing OPC. Researchers have found that grape seed oil extract (the main ingredient in 48grams' Antioxidant Booster Serum, among others) is not only a perfect facial care product, but can significantly reduce pigmentation spots. This can be read in the Phytotherapy Research Journal. Duration of treatment: about 6 months.
Healing process ensures melanin storage
Another trigger is the so-called post-inflammatory hypergigmentation. Sounds very scientific, but it actually just means that skin injuries (e.g. acne or minor burns) often leave dark areas. The skin overreacts during healing, and melanin production increases. In about two-thirds of all cases, the discoloration recedes after a few months and later disappears. However, if this is not the case, again only the previously described remedies remain.
Hyperpigmentation equals skin cancer?
The two reasons for hyperpigmentation just described are by far the most common. Only briefly mentioned: Other triggers, but all of them are first recognized and treated by the doctor: Hormonal changes during pregnancy, a disease called Morbus Addison (known mainly as "bronze skin disease”), liver damage and reactions to certain medications (including antibiotics) cause the skin to change color. In all last mentioned points we are of course already far away from the image of the classic beautiful freckle landscape in the face. We also do not want to forget one mention - because it is often so obvious: Where is the difference between hyperpigmentation and skin cancer? Purely in terms of color, they are usually even similar. Therefore, in case of suspicion, the dermatologist should always be consulted. But the risk that freckles are a harbinger of this terrible disease, which is already very small.
The best helpers against hyperpigmentation
Finally, some information about how to fight against hyperpigmentation - apart from the already mentioned face masks with vitamin C. Basically, chemical peels are considered to be extremely helpful. The top layer of skin is removed - and with it the pigment layer. Once the tissue has calmed down again, there is a good chance that the spots will not form again. If this is the case, the hyperpigmentation is deeper. Usually, laser therapy is then recommended. During the treatment the melanin is attacked and the pigmented cell is destroyed. Finally, it should be mentioned again: none of the therapies will work overnight; it usually takes weeks or months to achieve real treatment success.