Hyperpigmentation and the sun – What causes dark spots and how can I protect my skin?

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The sun is the number one cause of skin hyperpigmentation, so effective sun protection is the most important step you can take to help prevent hyperpigmentation. This article outlines the different types of hyperpigmentation and explains how to protect your skin and keep it even and radiant.

Oxidative stress caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays are the primary cause of premature skin aging and skin hyperpigmentation issues, but recent studies have shown that high-energy visible light, the light we see all around us, also causes oxidative stress to skin and can also contribute to hyperpigmentation.1,2.

1 Mahmoud BH, Ruvolo E, Hexsel CL, Liu Y, Owen MR, Kollias N, et al. Impact of long-wavelength UVA and visible light on melanocompetent skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2010;130(8):2092–2097. doi: 10.1038/jid.2010.95.

2 Duteil L, Cardot-Leccia N, Queille-Roussel C, Maubert Y, Harmelin Y, Boukari F, et al. Differences in visible light-induced pigmentation according to wavelengths: a clinical and histological study in comparison with UVB exposure. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014;27(5):822–826. doi: 10.1111/pcmr.12273.

Melasma, which manifests itself as larger patches of hyperpigmentation mainly on the face, is particularly common among women. It is thought to occur when the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the overproduction of melanin when skin is exposed to the sun. It occurs in 10–15 percent of pregnant women and in 10–25 percent of women taking oral contraceptives3
Whilst the primary trigger is hormonal, sunlight can drive the melasma process an exacerbate the condition. You can read more about melasma in What causes melasma and how can I reduce dark patches on my skin?3.

3The International Dermal Institute, Melasma Unmasked by Dr Clauida Aguirre quoting Kang, H. Y., & Ortonne, J. P. (2010). What should be considered in treatment of melasma. Annals of Dermatology, 22(4), 373-378.

Look for products that offer high or very high protection from UVA and UVB rays – that means products that are clearly marked with a UVB protection of at least SPF 30 plus reputable UVA filters. We also recommend that you choose products that offer high-energy visible light defence and that are tailored to your skin type and condition.

Eucerin Even Pigment Perfector Sun Fluid SPF 50+ has been specially formulated to help prevent sun-induced hyperpigmentation. The Advanced Spectral Technology combines broadband and photostable UVA/UVB filters1 for very high UV protection with Licochalcone A to neutralize free radicals caused by UV and HEVIS light. The formula also includes Glycyrrhetinic Acid which supports skin’s own DNA repair mechanism and the unique and patented active Thiamidol that acts at the root cause of hyperpigmentation.

While prevention is best, once you have pigment spots Thiamidol is clinically and dermatologically proven to reduce dark spots and prevent their re-appearance. Eucerin Even Pigment Perfector Sun Fluid SPF 50+  can be used alongside other products in the Eucerin Even Brighter range to help reduce pigment spots.5

5 Use a maximum of four application of products containing Thiamidol per day

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