Treating Hyperpigmentation Based on Your Skin Tone

Have you ever wondered why you seem to be struggling with hyperpigmentation more than others? Well trust us, hyperpigmentation doesn’t spare anyone. It affects all of us differently depending on our skin tone. From the lightest skin tone to the darkest we have all been affected in one way or another. Our struggles may look different and that’s why depending on your skin tone, the way you prevent and treat hyperpigmentation will look a little different. 

First let us define what hyperpigmentation is. To put it simply, it is your skin’s way of protecting itself from the sun resulting in those pesky dark spots on your skin. All skin has melanin and when you experience hyperpigmentation it just means that your skin has produced more melanin in that specific area to protect itself from the sun. This is where we find our common ground amongst all skin tones; when managing hyperpigmentation we must all wear SPF religiously. With this in mind let's dive into how hyperpigmentation affects different skin tones. 

 Types of hyperpigmentation

Light to Medium Skin Tones

The less melanin in your skin the more likely you are to have to fight your exposure to the sun more than someone with more melanin. Don’t get it wrong; EVERYONE should limit their sun exposure however lighter skin tones are extremely vulnerable to the sun’s rays. So, hyperpigmentation manifests a little differently in this tone. With this tone, hyperpigmentation usually manifests itself as sun spots. Of course there will be episodes of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation however the main cause for concern is typically due to lack of diligence with SPF. 

Light  to medium skin tones are more prone to wrinkling, skin cancer, sun spots (hyperpigmentation), and collagen depletion. Sunspots can be hard to deal with once they have made their appearance however with great brightening ingredients they can be dealt with. It is also important to remember that these sunspots usually appear after years of sun exposure. So definitely don’t forget your SPF.

The good news for these skin tones is that you can treat your hyperpigmentation a bit more aggressively. Due to the lack of melanin in your skin, you don’t have to worry as much about your skin producing more melanin after a chemical peel or a laser treatment. So you can feel free to incorporate ingredients such as Glycolic or Retinol to your routine and be diligent with your daily SPF and sun exposure. 

Medium to Dark Skin Tones

Medium to Dark skin tones are arguably most affected by hyperpigmentation. It especially tends to be tricky for darker skin tones when it comes to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Sun exposure can also play a major role in how hyperpigmentation manifests in darker skin tones, but PIH can be quite challenging for pigmented skin. One thing to note here is that when you have a breakout it is absolutely imperative that SPF is applied without interruption as to avoid the PIH to worsen. Sun exposure and an active breakout is the perfect recipe for PIH. Medium to Dark skin tones have to manage how their skin responds to sun exposure any time their skin is healing. Any wound such as a chemical peel or an active breakout can cause melanin to rush to the site, making it difficult to obtain that evenness in complexion. Melanin is just the way that your skin protects itself so if your skin perceives that there is a wound it will produce melanin. 

Applying SPF

When dealing with hyperpigmentation due to a breakout or wound healing; remember to apply brightening and nourishing products such as Vitamin C, Azelaic Acid, Lactic acid and moisturizer. Retinol is also a great ingredient when dealing with hyperpigmentation. 

Sun exposure should be limited for everyone however darker skin tones have a less chance of skin cancer and sun damage to their skin. With limited sun exposure and diligent SPF application, there shouldn’t be many problems with hyperpigmentation due to sun damage. 


You’ll notice a common theme in this blog and that is sun exposure. No matter your skin tone or  the cause of your hyperpigmentation, sun exposure is always something you need to be aware of. The reasons for limiting sun exposure may be different for some but we should all be aware of the sun’s rays. Hyperpigmentation can be a real pain, but with a good routine and SPF it can be well managed. Remember that every tone of skin has its challenges but it is how we manage them with kindness to ourselves that lessens the weight of them. 

No matter what your challenges are with hyperpigmentation you can always count on ingredients such as Glycolic and Lactic acid to help maintain your all over even complexion. Our Enzyme Peel contains both Glycolic and Lactic Acid and is a great product to incorporate into your routine to help you manage your hyperpigmentation and even complexion.

Written by: Courtney Long

Licensed Esthetician 

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