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Hyperpigmentation: types, causes and treatments

Hyperpigmentation: types, causes and treatments


8th Mar 2023

Hyperpigmentation is often an inflammatory response which causes darker patches of skin on the face, body, or nails. It can be caused by aging, sun exposure, and most commonly by hormonal changes like pregnancy which cause a type of hyperpigmentation called melasma. Melanin-rich skin is especially sensitive to hyperpigmentation and can experience an ‘inflammation cascade’ - a response to injury of the skin during which the healing process of damaged tissue stimulates the production of melanin, leading to post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). Treating hyperpigmentation takes a multi-pronged approach that includes prevention, protection, and effective skincare formulations. Here’s what helps:

Use SPF daily

When your skin is exposed to the sun without sun protection it produces more melanin to protect itself from harmful UVA and UVB rays, so it’s important to always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Dr. Sturm’s SUN DROPS SPF 50 – even on a cloudy day. Hormonal hyperpigmentation such as melasma may still appear regardless of sun exposure but applying SPF can limit discoloration.

Don’t pick or pop blemishes

Breaking the skin can cause inflammation which can lead to hyperpigmentation and scarring. By touching irritated or blemished skin, you can increase bacteria in the area, which can lead to more breakouts, exacerbating the issue. Dr. Sturm’s CLARIFYING SPOT TREATMENT contains an active complex of Macular Biofluids, Tea Tree Oil and Zinc Oxide to target breakouts and reduce their occurrence, whilst the odour-intensive Shale Oil in THE ULTIMATE STINKY PIMPLE TREATMENT contains sebum-regulating properties that help balance the complexion. If you really want to extract a spot, make sure you seek a professional who can ensure minimal scarring and reduce any damage to the skin.

Avoid harsh skincare ingredients and procedures

Using harsh ingredients can trigger inflammatory responses in the skin and can lead to hyperpigmentation. Aggressive ingredients and procedures such as Retinol and acid peels can damage the skin barrier over time and leave the skin susceptible to inflammation and discoloration.

Use ingredient science to reduce pigmentation

Using ingredients that gently lighten discoloration without bleaching agents are an effective, skin safe way to combat hyperpigmentation. Dr. Sturm’s BRIGHTENING COLLECTION features Cress Sprout Extract which helps to gently fade dark spots while boosting overall radiance for a healthy glow. Ginseng Extract supports the skin’s own defense against free radicals while Hyaluronic Acid and Allantoin deeply hydrate the skin and soothe irritation. And THE GOOD C VITAMIN C SERUM brightens and evens skin tone without damaging the skin barrier.

Stay consistent with your skincare routine

Being consistent with your daily skincare routine and using products that hydrate, brighten and even skin tone while keeping your skin barrier intact is essential in treating hyperpigmentation. When you take care of your skin, it takes care of you.

LEFT: Emily’s skin with PIGMENTATON post-pregnancy
RIGHT: Emily’s skin after following a routine prescribed by Dr. Sturm

Support healing from the inside-out

Enjoying an anti-inflammatory diet can promote optimal skin health, however, it’s sometimes hard to follow a healthy diet in today’s fast paced life, and we all encounter deficiencies. Adding in Dr. Sturm’s SKIN ANTI-PIGMENTATION supplement is a simple but effective way to support the skin’s healing process. Containing Copper, Vitamin C and E to support normalized skin pigmentation and protect the skin against free radicals while antioxidant-rich Olive Leaf Extract helps brighten and even skin tone.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Digital Masterclass:
Hyperpigmentation & Melasma

A digital masterclass live with Dr. Barbara Sturm on hyperpigmentation and melasma.


Dr. Barbara Sturm


8 March 2023