We hear varying vocabulary when discussing uneven or sun damaged skin tone: Dark spots, liver spots, age spots, sun spots, brown spots, freckles, and so on. These pigment “spots” generally fall into one of two categories.
The first category is hyperpigmentation, which refers to any darkening areas of the skin compared to the baseline skin tone. Hyperpigmentation is mainly caused by UV exposure. Many people tend to see spots on the top of the forehead, hands, even the left side of the face more so than the right, because it is subjected to more UV exposure when we drive in the car. Post-inflammatory response due to skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, acne scarring, or simply genetic predisposition can also cause hyperpigmentation.
The second “dark spot” category is melasma. Melasma can look similar to general hyperpigmentation, but typically appears in larger “blotches,” almost like small clouds of pigment concentrated in certain areas of the face. Melasma is more common in women and can be caused or made worse by hormonal changes (pregnancy, birth control), UV exposure, heat, and friction. If your spots get significantly worse in the summer, first appeared during pregnancy, worsen after a sauna session or appear where your skin is exposed to friction (for example, along the band of a hat or visor that you wear regularly), it could be melasma.
While distinguishing between the two conditions may be a bit confusing, the good news is they can both respond well to a medical-grade skincare routine. Both conditions require a few key products and ingredients for optimal topical treatment:
1. Tyrosinase Inhibitors:
Tyrosinase inhibitors help to control the over-production of pigment in the skin. Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid USP), hydroquinone, arbutin, and resorcinol are four gold-standard tyrosinase inhibitors found in Vivier’s skin brightening products and programs.
2. Chemical Exfoliation:
While controlling pigment production is one important aspect of treating hyperpigmentation and melasma, getting rid of existing pigment is also key. Using chemical exfoliants, like the glycolic and lactic acids found in Vivier Exfoliant Forte, helps the skin to slough off dead cells sitting at the surface and moves overly-pigmented cells out of your skin.
3. Cellular Turnover:
Similar to exfoliation, increasing the rate of cellular turnover will allow dark spots to move up and out of your skin more quickly. Retinols work by increasing the rate of cellular turnover (which slows down for everyone as we age), and helps the skin rid itself of damaged, discolored cells.
4. UV Protection:
Any effort you make to prevent and correct hyperpigmentation or melasma will be pointless unless you’re using a broad spectrum SPF 30+ EVERY. DAY. Every day, every season, rain or shine, our skin needs protection against UV rays. Vivier offers three medical-grade broad spectrum SPF options: Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 45 for a velvety, matte finish, Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 for a clean, lightweight finish, and Triple Protection Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 for purely physical (mineral) protection for long days in the sun or sensitive, vulnerable post-procedure skin.
Knowing what your skin needs to treat pigmentation issues is one thing, but putting together a product regimen can still feel overwhelming. Vivier has taken the guesswork out of the process and designed two skin care programs with every component your skin needs to correct and prevent hyperpigmentation and melasma.
Vivier Hyperpigmentation Program (2% HQ)
Our most advanced anti-aging hyperpigmentation program is ideal for those with darker, more pronounced hyperpigmentation and/or melasma.LEARN MORE
Vivier Hyperpigmentation Program (Non-HQ)
A program designed for those with mild hyperpigmentation, looking to correct and prevent early signs of pigment issues.LEARN More
It’s always a good idea to pair medical-grade skincare with consultations and input from a medical professional – whether it’s your dermatologist, plastic surgeon, cosmetic nurse, or aesthetician. For some clients, pairing a Vivier hyperpigmentation program with chemical peels, laser treatments or other clinical modalities will provide the most dramatic and impressive results. Find a local medical skin care professional by using our clinic locator here.
Until next time!
Stay safe, stay healthy.