Combat hyperpigmentation - acne scarring, sun spots, uneven skin tone - the right way

Your acne clears up, but you’re now left with dark spots. Summer was fun, but now the cheeks have formed dark patches. Your face is looking firm and radiant, but your skin tone won’t shed that pesky unevenness. 

According to one of the most sought after dermatologists in Korea, Dr. Choi of Well’s Spa in Korea (a deep dive entry on him coming soon!), hyperpigmentation is South Korea’s #1 skincare woe. He has far more clients seeking him to achieve that crystal clear, gorgeous translucency that gives your skin that extra special glow than any other skincare issue.

We also receive countless emails from customers who are looking to help with this pesky issues. 

It’s time we confronted hyperpigmentation head on. The good news is that this kind of translucency is possible with the right steps according to the experts. 

So, first, what is hyperpigmentation? 

It’s pretty loosely defined, but it’s any area of the skin that becomes darker because there is increase melanin (pigment in your skin). 

So, then, what causes this increase in melanin?

A lot of things can cause an increased activity in your melanocytes (your melanin producing cells), including a lot of diseases and disorders. For now, we’ll focus on some of the more common sources of hyperpigmentation:

  1. Excess sun exposure
  2. Hormonal changes (including pregnancy)
  3. Injuries or inflammation to the skin (including acne)

What can be done about hyperpigmentation? Here are 3 simple steps!

With the skin being so susceptible to increased melanin production, how do we keep our skin clear and not cloudy? And deal with the pesky dark spots?

So, some scarring is not hyperpigmentation (which eventually does fade away), but is much more deep-rooted and usually permanent (with some fading), unless dealt with by much more invasive procedures. The good news is that there’s a good chance that the dark spots that might look permanent can actually be brightened - gently and quickly - if dealt with the right way. 

The best advice we received was from a renowned aesthetician in Korea who gave a 3-pronged approach to quickly attack dark spots:

1) Exfoliate: Dark spots can last for 6-12 months on their own. And your dead skin cells are stained with the hyperpigmentation. To speed up your natural skin cycle of revealing fresh new skin underneath, and to slough off the stained skin cells, it’s critical to exfoliate. Rule of thumb: dry and sensitive skin types, exfoliating 1-2x/week is good. Oilier skin types, 2-3x/week is good. Also, use gentle exfoliators that won’t irritate the skin and try to avoid microbeads that might cause micro-scarring that may actually worsen the issue. Here’s a quick read on exfoliating the right way.

2) Use brightening ingredients: Hats off to beauty R&D labs! Thankfully, science is in our favor here and there are indeed very effective cosmetic ingredients that will combat dark spots gently and quickly. Niacinamide and arbutin extract seem to be some of Korea’s favorite brightening active ingredients at the moment. Here’s a great serum and cream that we love to effectively brighten while staying hydrated:




3) Quarter-sized dollop of SPF: Sufficient SPF coverage, especially when you’re doing steps 1 and 2 (which leaves your skin a bit more vulnerable to sun exposure) is critical. The key is enough SPF. At least a quarter-sized dollop for the whole face with touch ups is key, if you’re sweating or exposed to water. There are a lot of sunscreen options these days that don’t feel heavy, greasy or makes makeup application challenging, so do your skin that favor and make sure you’re nit skimping on the sunscreen!

These easy-to-do 3 steps can make the difference between greeting this fall with a clear, sparkling face or wearing your dark spots well into the holiday season. Combat your hyperpigmentation head-on and give your skin a fighting chance at radiance.

Leave us any questions you might have in the “ask” button at the top of the blog or email us anytime at We’re here to help!

xo - Alicia


Posted on June 30, 2015
by Peach & Lily