By Guest Contributor, Ivonne Ruggles
Like many women I suffer from hyperpigmintation. In fact, many African American, Hispanic and Middle Eastern women suffer from this frustrating skin problem. Every time I get a blemish (which is often since I have acne prone skin), I know it will take months before the dark spot is gone. This condition is hyperpigmentation, the darkening of the skin after some trauma has inflamed the area or other skin injury has occurred. Here are some tips on how to prevent, treat and cover hyperpigmentation:
- Wear sunscreen and avoid the sun if you can – The sun’s rays are a major cause of dark spots or sun spots. The best prevention is to wear a hat and either use a sunscreen moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen.
- Exfoliate – Exfoliating helps prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. Dead skin cells can cause dark spots and removing them helps prevent. Exfoliating can slough off the top layer of the skin along with the dark spots. Avoid the microbeds in many cleansers that irritate and look for gentle exfoliators like glycolic acid.
- Hydroquinone – Hydroquinone is a common topical depigmenting agent. This over the counter product comes in concentrations of .5% – 2% and in higher concentrations with prescriptions. When selecting a hydroquinone product, look for products not packaged in clear jars because the product becomes ineffective shortly after being exposed to air and light.
- Tretinoin – Tretinoin is a topical and prescription medication that is commonly referred to as Retin-A. It is known for the treatment of acne, but studies have proven it can reduce signs of photoaging including hyperpigmentation. Consult your doctor and do not use if you are pregnant.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protectant against photodamage. It is available in many skin care products and forms, including serums. If you do not want to use tretinoin try a vitamin C serum.
- Licorice extract – Licorice extract is great for sensitive and acne prone skin since it not only acts like a skin brightener but also has anti-inflammatory properties. Look for it in cleaners and other products.
Even with all the prevention measures, I still get spots that I need to cover. Thank goodness for makeup! If the spot is very dark brown you want to cover it with a creamy concealer that has a tint of rose. You can also use a creamy concealer that is a little lighter than your natural skin tone. Use a concealer brush since this helps to control the placement of the product. After applying concealer to all the spots, follow-up with your foundation and pat the area so that it blends. It does not matter if you are using your finger, a sponge or a brush, always pat gently so you do not to lift the product. Pat on powder to set. I would also recommend not using any other creams in the area. If your dark spots around the cheeks do not use cream blushes since this will only highlight the imperfections. Use powder blush and pat it on around those areas. Touch up with powder as needed to keep that area set.
Ivonne Ruggles is an LA based makeup artist and president of Evie Evan Inc., a new beauty line scheduled for 2010.
Photo courtesy of Little Mountain Laser.