The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Treating Summer Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation and melasma are common skin concerns that impact millions every day — but even more so during the hot summer months.

Hyperpigmentation and melasma are common skin concerns that impact millions every day — but even more so during the hot summer months. With the season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to educate yourself about both and understand their causes and effective treatments. 

Hyperpigmentation is an excess production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color), which leads to the darkening of certain areas of the skin. Melasma is a specific type of hyperpigmentation (typically on the face) that appears as brown or gray patches.

Whether you experience hyperpigmentation or are simply curious about it, here’s what you need to know about what causes it and how to tackle it.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation in Summer

The primary cause of hyperpigmentation is prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays trigger melanocytes — the cells that produce melanin — to make more pigment as a defense mechanism. 

However, UV rays aren’t the only summer culprit; heat can exacerbate hyperpigmentation. This is why even those who avoid direct sunlight might still experience darkening of the skin in hot weather.

The result is dark spots, freckles, and patches for those prone to the melasma.

A key takeaway? Sunscreen is non-negotiable, but don’t forget about hats, sunglasses, seeking shade, and air-conditioning whenever possible.

How Hormones Play a Role 

Hormonal changes can significantly impact your body, including inciting hyperpigmentation on the skin. Women are particularly susceptible during pregnancy, while on birth control pills, or undergoing hormone replacement therapy. 

Hormonal fluctuations can increase melanin production, resulting in the face’s characteristic brown or gray melasma patches. 

In fact, any skin inflammation, such as acne, eczema, or even cuts, can result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When your skin is injured or inflamed, it produces excess melanin as part of the healing process.

Effective Treatment Options

Topical: When it comes to treatment, you have options. Several topical treatments can help lighten hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone: Products with Hydroquinone, Vitamin C, and Retinoids are particularly effective against melasma. 

Hydroquinone decreases melanin production, retinoids promote cell turnover and fade dark spots and vitamin C inhibits melanin production and protects the skin from further UV damage.

In-Office: Still, if topical treatments aren’t giving you the desired results, other options include chemical peels, laser therapy, and microneedling

Chemical Peels exfoliate the top layers of skin, promoting new skin growth. Different peels (glycolic acid, salicylic acid, etc.) target different skin depths.

Laser treatments, such as fractional lasers, target pigmented areas with focused light energy, breaking down excess melanin. 

Microneedling involves using fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin, stimulating collagen production and aiding in the absorption of topical treatments. This can improve skin texture and reduce hyperpigmentation.

Understanding hyperpigmentation and melasma is the first step toward effective treatment and prevention. Commit to healthier, more radiant skin by embracing the skin you’re in and taking proactive steps to protect and treat your skin. If you or a loved one has further questions or wishes to book an appointment with us, give us a call: (208) 888-0660

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