Hyperpigmentation: what causes an uneven skin tone as we age?

Hyperpigmentation: what causes an uneven skin tone as we age?

It is perhaps one of the less widely reported signs of ageing, though experts are suggesting that caring for skin to avoid hyperpigmentation – that is the discolouring of patches of the skin – could be the secret to looking younger.

A dermatologist explains, “Our brains are programmed to register light and shade when we first look at an object, or a face, before we register fine details. We perceive an even skin-tone as more pleasing to look at – and studies show we think an uneven skin-tone is as ageing as lines or wrinkles.”

So what causes pigmentation as we age, and how can we prevent it?

Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation and damage we’ve done years before can surface in the form of dark spots further down the line. “Good sun behaviour will go a long way to preventing hyperpigmentation,” the skin specialist continues.  The dermatologist recommends using SPF all year round to protect the skin, so try a BB cream or foundation that includes UV protection.

Spots, acne and even shaving can also leave behind unwanted marks on the skin. Any sort of inflammation can cause what is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition that will vary in appearance depending on your skin tone. “In very fair skin, this tends to be more red toned whereas in darker skin types this tends to be brown,” the expert explains.

With a good skin care routine you can avoid many of the inflammations likely to leave unwanted marks on the skin. As always, prevention is better than cure, so the better care you take of your skin now, the better it is likely to look in the future!

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