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Hyperpigmentation : origines et traitement des taches de la peau
5 min

Hyperpigmentation: origins and treatment of skin spots

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Skin pigmentation is a very common phenomenon, but when the areas concerned are very marked, we speak of hyperpigmentation : this is the term used to describe uneven spots, darker than others. These skin problems include: age spots, melasma (or chloasma) and even brown scars.

Skin discoloration is caused by excessive production of melanin , the pigment responsible for the skin's natural color. Hyperpigmentation can affect all skin types, but it affects darker and black skin to a greater extent. All areas are affected: the face but also certain parts of the body such as the armpits, bikini line or knees.

The different hyperpigmentation spots

Age spots

Age spots are also known as sun spots because they are mostly caused by exposure to the sun. This is also why they appeared most often on often exposed parts of the body such as the face, neck and décolleté or even the hands and arms.

With age, melanocytes , which are the cells that produce melanin, decrease in number, making the skin more sensitive to the sun. In addition, there is also a dysfunction of these remaining melanocytes which tend to accumulate resulting in the appearance of dark spots in certain places. The complexion is then no longer uniform.

Brown scars – post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Pigment spots can also appear following an injury, lesion or even a rash. This is what we call post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation . When the skin is damaged, it causes inflammation which encourages melanocytes to produce more melanin. This is what causes the appearance of a hyperpigmented area, that is to say darker.

It is for this reason in particular that this problem affects areas of the body such as the armpits or the bikini line, where the skin is weakened by hair removal. As for acne, popping pimples can worsen the condition of the skin and cause these brown spots.

In some cases, acne scars are more pink-red in color, we then speak of post-inflammatory erythema , not to be confused with brown spots because the two problems do not necessarily require the same care.


Melasma corresponds to a darker, wide and extended area. This skin problem particularly affects the forehead and around the mouth. We do not know exactly the causes of melasma but there are aggravating factors such as genetics. Melasma is in fact more common in people who tan easily or who have naturally darker skin.

Melasma can also be caused by hormonal changes, such as taking or stopping birth control pills. This is why melasma affects women more often than men. This is also what happens to pregnant women, who are more sensitive to the sun, who then see a pregnancy mask appear.

But there are also other factors that can also play a role in the appearance of melasma such as sun exposure, stress, thyroid diseases and certain anti-epileptic medications.

How to prevent or reduce brown spots?

Here are some tips to apply to prevent the appearance of hyperpigmentation spots.

Limit sun exposure and apply sunscreen

Sun exposure is the main cause of hyperpigmentation : it is the sun which initially triggers the production of melanin. Indeed, melanin is the pigment produced by the skin to protect us from the sun. In summer, the skin is often more tanned. But to prevent the appearance of brown spots or sun spots, it is best to limit your exposure, apply sun protection and wear protective clothing, caps or hats to protect your face.

Once brown spots have set in, exposure to the sun is an aggravating factor: it can make these spots even darker. To avoid this aggravating phenomenon, it is recommended to apply sun protection daily with at least SPF30.

Nooance's SPF30 UVA50 elegance sun care is ideal in bad weather or in winter because it offers high UVA protection. UVA rays are particularly responsible for sunburn and the appearance of premature brown spots on all skin types.


Choosing cosmetic active ingredients targeting the complexion

It is also possible to use certain cosmetic ingredients to prevent the appearance of pigment spots and reduce those already present.


Retinol acts on brown spots by blocking the transfer of melanin to epidermal cells and reducing the activity of melanocytes. It therefore interferes with the production of melanin to even out the complexion . It is also an active ingredient that accelerates cell renewal , meaning that dead cells on the surface of the skin are replaced by healthy cells more quickly. It is a formidable beauty ingredient for regaining a more radiant complexion and smoothing skin texture.

Vitamin C and its derivatives

Vitamin C works on dark spots by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin. Unfortunately, pure vitamin C presents some problems:

  • its stability: vitamin C can oxidize very quickly, which can reduce its effectiveness.
  • its penetration: vitamin C being water-soluble penetrates the skin with difficulty.
  • its irritating nature: to overcome the two problems above, one of the solutions is to lower the pH to a pH around 3.5 which can be irritating for certain skins.

This is why vitamin C derivatives are often used: they are more stable and less irritating. The best derivatives which have been the subject of scientific studies on men are:

  • ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate
  • ascorbyl glucoside
  • ethylated ascorbic acid

Tranexamic acid

Tranexamic acid is a new anti-blemish ingredient that may work by inhibiting the activity of a skin enzyme known as plasmin. During UV exposure, skin cells develop excess plasmin. It triggers other substances which, in turn, stimulate the excessive production of melanin, the pigment in our skin. So by avoiding this excess of plasmin, we avoid the formation of pigment spots.


Arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone, one of the best-known skin lightening agents but available only by prescription.

Nooance Eclat cream: effective treatment against pigment spots

As all these ingredients disrupt the production of melanin in different ways, at Nooance, we decided to combine them for better effectiveness on the complexion. The unifying and smoothing radiance cream reduces brown spots and improves skin texture.


It thus contains 3 forms of vitamin C present at 10% (ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, ascorbyl glucoside and ethylated ascorbic acid), coupled with 1% arbutin, 4% tranexamic acid and 0.1% encapsulated retinol. This day cream is aimed at all people looking for a brighter, more uniform complexion with a reduction in brown spots and soft, smooth skin with reduced wrinkles.

Please note: regarding brown spots, it is often easier to prevent them with cosmetics. To reduce them if they are already present, you will generally have to see a dermatologist who can prescribe a depigmenting cream, pigment laser sessions or a chemical peel.