e.book:hyperpigmentation - Chapter 3: How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation

e.book:hyperpigmentation - Chapter 3: How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation

From sun protection to a tailored skincare routine, we dive into the preventive steps that can lower your risk of new hyperpigmentation.

You’ve made it to chapter 3 of our hyperpigmentation e.book – so it’s time to equip you with the tools you’ll need to avoid hyperpigmentation. In chapters 1 and 2, we discussed the basics of hyperpigmentation, as well as its most common causes. Here, we dive into the preventive measures that can lower your risk of experiencing hyperpigmentation – from sun protection to a tailored skincare routine. Despite having certain odds against you, you can take actions that bolster your defense from the inside out. Keep reading for our five top tips.

  1. Throw shade

In chapter 2, we identified sun exposure as one of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation. To put it bluntly, UV light exacerbates any and all types of hyperpigmentation. To care for your skin, adequate and consistent sunscreen use is a must. Look for broad-spectrum protection that shields against both UVA and UVB rays. We recommend using a minimum SPF of 30 even on cloudy days since the sun’s radiation can still reach your skin. Some of our favorite SPFs are Beauty of Joseon, Krave Beauty’s Beet the Sun, and Elta MD’s UV Clear.

Beauty of Joseon Sunscreen


Krave Beauty Beet The Sun Sunscreen


Elta MD Sunscreen


But sun protection goes beyond SPF. You can also safeguard your skin by wearing protective clothing or accessories, including wide-brimmed hats, visors, and sunglasses when you’re outdoors for extended periods. Last but not least, seek shade when possible and avoid peak sunlight hours.

The term ‘broad spectrum SPF’ often gets thrown around but what does it mean and why does it matter? Different wavelengths of UV rays elicit different responses in the skin. A simplistic breakdown that’s easy to remember is that UVA causes aging and UVB causes burning. But let’s delve a bit deeper and explore how they relate to hyperpigmentation: UVA induces immediate tanning and pigment darkening through influence of pre-existing melanin, while UVB induces delayed tanning which takes several days to develop and requires activation of melanocytes. That’s why proper sun protection requires defense against both types.  One more thing: UVA rays penetrate glass, while UVB rays do not. Unless the window you sit by at home or the windows in your car are specially treated to filter UVA radiation, your skin is being exposed to UVA rays, making sunscreen an absolute must.

  1. Easy does it

Another cause for hyperpigmentation we previously mentioned is inflammation, including triggers like acne, scabs, eczema and burns. As tempting as it may be, resist the temptation to pick at your skin since it dramatically increases your chance of developing hyperpigmentation. Pimple patches are a great option to prevent wandering hands and help speed the resolution of blemishes. Do your best to be gentle to your skin and be vigilant about who you allow to perform your skin treatments like extractions, chemical peels, laser hair removal or laser skin resurfacing. Prevention is key here, especially for those with darker skin tones as it can take much longer to clear PIH compared to those with lighter skin.

  1. Food for thought

If you develop vitamin deficiencies, chances are that you will also be more likely to develop hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to unnatural skin darkening and hyperpigmentation. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin C and E, have antioxidant properties that can support your skin’s functions and overall health while protecting it against environmental aggressors. Many of these vitamins can be incorporated into your diet through nutrient-rich whole foods. Supplements can help when dietary sources don’t get the job done.

  1. Beware the bitter pill

You may find that your medication can contribute to pigment changes. Ensure you read patient package inserts carefully and consult with a doctor or healthcare professional, particularly if you notice skin changes while taking prescription drugs.


Melasma is a stubborn form of hyperpigmentation causing blotchy, discolored patches to appear on the skin. Hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, are well-established triggers for melasma. That’s why 25% of women who use oral contraceptives develop melasma. Additionally, any hormonal birth control can contribute to the condition. Whether you practice hormonal birth control by taking an oral contraceptive, using an IUD, or wearing a patch, all are equal in their association with melasma.
  1. Err on the side of caution

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to ingredients and products. If you notice that a skincare product irritates your skin, consider switching to a gentler formula that better suits your skin type. Scrubs, acid exfoliants, retinol and hydroquinone are common culprits for inciting skin irritation when not properly formulated or overused. Maintaining an intact and well-functioning skin barrier is essential in making it less susceptible to changes in pigmentation. Consult a skin professional before starting products that lighten the overall complexion to avoid potential complications.

A heated debate among skin care enthusiasts and professionals alike revolves around the risks and benefits of physical exfoliation, aka scrubs. Physical exfoliation, the process of manually dislodging dirt and stripping away surface cells with textured bits and grainy particles, was once the gold standard of exfoliation. But if a scrub contains granules with irregular edges, has a high pH, or if too much pressure is used, irritation ensues as microscopic skin tears and abrasions result. This can activate melanocytes and incite the development of hyperpigmentation.  Our advice: if you’re hyperpigmentation-prone, skip physical exfoliation altogether. Opt for chemical or enzymatic exfoliants and limit their use based on your skin tolerance. But if you crave a good scrub, keep it simple with a finely textured washcloth which can be an effective micro-exfoliator.

On the other hand, there are some skincare ingredients that can help prevent hyperpigmentation in the first place. Our epi.logic toner-essence in one, Even Balance, provides antioxidant protection against free radicals, reducing the risk of oxidative stress-induced pigmentation through key ingredients such as CoQ10 and superoxide dismutase. Daily Dose features a comprehensive vitamin and antioxidant blend to expertly fight free radical damage. Additionally fortified with niacinamide and ferulic acid, it further strengthens the potency of vitamin C – an essential in preventing hyperpigmentation as it inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, a regulator of melanin production. 

Last but certainly not least – and we cannot say it enough – apply sunscreen every day before you head out the door!

We’re not done yet…

In chapter four of the hyperpigmentation e.book, we’ll reveal what you probably have been waiting for: our 101 on how to tackle existing hyperpigmentation. Out next week, the chapter will cover the best tips around in-office treatments, active ingredients, and more advice on how to fade hyperpigmentation. 

If you’ve been loving this series so far, why not send it to a friend who could also benefit from these tips? Sharing is caring.

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