does exfoliating help hyperpigmentation? Yes and Here is everything you need to know.
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Hyperpigmentation is something that’s always being discussed in the skincare community because almost everyone is battling with hyperpigmentation. But does exfoliating help hyperpigmentation? In this post, I will be sharing everything you need to know about that.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition characterized by the appearance of darkened patches or spots on the skin. These patches result from an increased production or accumulation of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes.
Causes of hyperpigmentation
There are several factors that can lead to the development of hyperpigmentation:
- Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun stimulate melanin production as a natural defense mechanism. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can lead to the formation of sunspots and freckles, especially in individuals with lighter skin tones.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormones play a significant role in the regulation of melanin production. Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy, menopause, or while taking hormonal birth control, can trigger an increase in melanin production. This often leads to conditions like melasma or the darkening of the skin around the nipples, known as the areolas, during pregnancy.
- Inflammation and Skin Trauma: Skin injuries, acne, cuts, burns, or other forms of inflammation can stimulate melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) to produce excess melanin as part of the skin’s natural healing process. This can result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
- Genetics: Genetic factors can influence an individual’s susceptibility to hyperpigmentation. People with a family history of certain types of hyperpigmentation, such as freckles or melasma, may be more prone to developing similar conditions.
- Medications: Some medications, such as antimalarial drugs, chemotherapy drugs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can lead to drug-induced hyperpigmentation as a side effect.
- Skin Conditions: Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can cause chronic inflammation and lead to hyperpigmentation in the affected areas.
- Aging: As we age, the skin’s ability to regulate melanin production may change, leading to the development of age spots or lentigines, often associated with cumulative sun exposure.
- Cosmetic and Skincare Products: Some individuals may experience hyperpigmentation as a reaction to certain cosmetics or skincare products. This is known as contact dermatitis and can lead to temporary darkening of the affected area.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as Addison’s disease and certain types of pituitary tumors, can affect hormone levels and lead to hyperpigmentation.
What is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is a skincare process that involves the removal of dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. This process helps to reveal fresher, smoother skin underneath and can improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.
Types of Exfoliation Methods
- Physical Exfoliation: This involves using biological particles, such as finely ground grains or beads, to manually scrub away dead skin cells. Examples include using facial scrubs, brushes, or devices designed to exfoliate the skin. Physical exfoliation can help remove surface-level debris and provide immediate smoothness to the skin.
- Chemical Exfoliation: Chemical exfoliation involves the use of acids or enzymes to dissolve and loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, facilitating their removal. Common types of chemical exfoliants include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic and lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid. These acids vary in size and properties, allowing them to target different layers of the skin.
- Enzymatic Exfoliation: Enzymes derived from natural sources, such as papaya (papain) or pineapple (bromelain), are used to break down the protein bonds that hold dead skin cells together. Enzymatic exfoliation is generally considered gentler than chemical exfoliation and is suitable for sensitive skin.
Why do you need to start Exfoliating?
- Improved Texture: By removing dead skin cells, exfoliation can leave the skin feeling smoother and softer.
- Even Skin Tone: Exfoliation can help fade areas of hyperpigmentation and promote a more even skin tone.
- Enhanced Product Absorption: When the barrier of dead skin cells is removed, skincare products like serums and moisturizers can penetrate more effectively.
- Prevention of Clogged Pores: Regular exfoliation can help prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and sebum, reducing the risk of clogged pores and breakouts.
How often should you exfoliate for hyperpigmentation?
I would say 3-4 times a week. Over-exfoliation can lead to skin irritation, redness, dryness, and even disruption of the skin’s natural barrier.
Now that we know what exfoliation is and how it helps hyperpigmentation, let me share some of my favorite exfoliating products.
Favorite physical exfoliating products
When it comes to using physical exfoliants, I highly recommend you use them only on your body and not on your face. This is because they are quite harsher and more suitable for tougher skin like the one on your body. Here are some of my favorite exfoliating body scrubs, gloves and dry brushes:
- Dove Scrub Brown Sugar & Coconut Body scrub
- Tree Hut Vitamin C Shea Sugar Scrub
- Seraphic Skincare Korean Exfoliating Mitts
- African sponge
- Metene Dry Brush
If you need more body care product recs, check out my shower routine!
Favourite chemical exfoliating products
Chemical exfoliating is best suited for face hyperpigmentation. Most chemical exfoliants for the face come in the form of toners that you incorporate into your skincare routine 3-4 times a week. I use them and I’ve seen a massive difference in my skin. My skin is softer, smoother, and brighter and the hyperpigmentation on my face has reduced drastically. Here are some of my absolute favorite exfoliating toners.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant
- COSRX BHA 4% Blackhead Power Liquid
- SOME BY MI AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
I have a dedicated post about the best Korean exfoliating toners so check that post out if you need more recommendations.
So does exfoliating help hyperpigmentation? Yes! Consider adding exfoliation to your skin and body care routine and trust me, you will be glowing and your body will be smooth.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did while writing it. What’s your favorite exfoliating product? Let me know in the comments below.