I Confess: Hyperpigmentation

Growing up in North Carolina, I spent most of my summers either soaking up the sun at my grandparent’s beach house or riding around on jet skis and working on my tan with my girls at my lake house. Needless to say, I was outdoors A LOT. And being the teenager I was, I didn’t think sunscreen was all that necessary. I tanned well, never got burnt and basically just thought I was invincible. It wasn’t something that ever really crossed my mind at the time either, I guess. Well, that is until I started to notice all these embarrassing little dark spots popping up on my cheeks, nose and worst of all, right above my lip! Yikes, can we say sun-stache anyone?       

After bringing the problem to the attention of my mom, we took a quick trip over to the dermatologist who not so sweetly informed me that I had hyperpigmentation. Let’s just say he wasn’t quite as impressed with my sun bathing skills as I was, and for good reason! Amongst advising me to spend the rest of my summer hanging out in caves (seriously!), here are a few pointers I picked up from my derm about treating and preventing hyperpigmentation. 

1. Don’t Forget The SPF

Whether you’re spending your days mostly outdoors or try to avoid direct sunlight when you can, it’s important to always remember to wear SPF. Not only does this protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but if you have hyperpigmentation already, it keeps the problem from getting worse.

2. Wear A Wide Brimmed Hat

Headed to the beach or a late summer BBQ with your girls? Throw on a big, wide brimmed hat, and you’re ready to roll! This will prevent the sun from shining directly on you (especially on your face, where hyperpigmentation tends to occur).

3. Try An Over-The-Counter Fade Cream

If you have a mild case of hyperpigmentation, it might be useful to try an over-the-counter fade cream (or skin brightener) to help diminish dark spots and even out your complexion prior to consulting with a dermatologist. Do your research first and find out what’s worked for others before making any decision.

4. Go See Your Dermatologist

Last but not least, visit your dermatologist. She should be able to get to the root of your problem and prescribe you the most appropriate medication to treat your sun spots.

image: Getty