Hyperpigmentation vs Melasma: Everything You Need To Know

Hyperpigmentation vs Melasma

We talk about skin A LOT around here. 

We believe that healthy skin is the secret to looking and feeling your best. Unfortunately, the rest of culture tells us to let our delicate bodies bake in the sun to get that bronzy sunkissed glow. Um . . . how about no??

You’re causing real damage to your skin whether you’re tanning, burning, or just letting your skin warm in the sun without SPF. 

That exposure can cause several skin issues, but today we’re focusing on some cosmetic effects of sun damage. To put it simply, too much sun exposure can age us by decades! We’re talking wrinkles, blotchiness, and dark spots. The stuff of nightmares! 

Listen, it’s so important that you understand what the sun can do to your skin. Both hyperpigmentation and melasma are concerns you’ve probably heard of, so we’re going to break those down today. 

Whether you’re worried because you have symptoms of hyperpigmentation or you’re worried about developing it, you NEED this post. It breaks down the risk and tells you the best products for undoing some of that damage. Let’s do this:

Hyperpigmentation vs Melasma

Hyperpigmentation vs Melasma: Everything You Need To Know

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a blanket term for darkening of the skin. There are different forms of hyperpigmentations like melasma, sun spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

All of these types of hyperpigmentation skin conditions affect skin tone in some way. Depending on the severity and the amount of sun exposure your sun is getting, you could have just a few patches of dark skin or you could seriously have dark areas all over. 

Hyperpigmentation itself isn’t a concerning medical condition, but it usually is a symptom of something else that’s going wrong—like vitamin deficiencies, chronic acne, or just being in the sun WAY too much. 

A little later, we’ll talk about how to reverse hyperpigmentation if you see the dark spots on your skin. We know the patches and spots are super annoying and can even cause self-esteem issues, but don’t worry!! There is so much great shit out there to help you correct dark spots

what causes hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation Causes 

  • Sun exposure
  • Injury to the skin
  • Acne 
  • Medications 
  • Radiation and Chemotherapy 
  • Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes
  • Vitamin Deficiencies (Like B12 and Folic Acid)
  • Malignancy
  • Genetics
  • Adrenal Disorders

Hyperpigmentation Symptoms

  • Patches with different shades of brown and black 
  • Discoloration after skin injury or inflammation 
  • Raised and rough dark patches 

What is Melasma?

So, as we mentioned, melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation. Many cases of melasma are caused by hormonal changes as well as sun exposure. Because of this, many people develop melasma when they get pregnant. 

That’s why it’s often called the “mask of pregnancy” and it causes brown, blue, or gray freckle-like patches. (Yeah, not nearly as enticing as the “pregnancy glow”.) Even hormonal birth controls can trigger melasma! (Our CEO Lauryn Bosstick had this happen to her!!) 

Stick with us, because we’ve got some great products at the end to help treat melasma and get rid of that dark pigment and smooth out your FUCKING BEAUTIFUL skin. 

causes of melasma

Melasma Causes

  • Sun exposure
  • Birth control pills
  • Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Certain low-quality skin care products 

Melasma Symptoms

  • Dark freckle-like spots
  • Blotches of darker areas of skin 
  • Darker skin on face, head, neck, and shoulders

Difference Between Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

As you can see, melasma and hyperpigmentation are really similar. In fact, melasma is simply a specific type of hyperpigmentation. 

The main difference can be attributed to the cause of your hyperpigmentation. 

Melasma, for example, is mostly caused by hormonal changes that cause an overproduction of melanin. 

Whereas hyperpigmentation in general can be caused by a wide variety of things - like acne, injury, and even genetics. 

Best Products For Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic 

We LOVE serums. This SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum is great for evening out skin pigmentation. 

But, we all know that sun damage causes issues other than skin discoloration . . . like fine lines and wrinkles. And, guess what? The SkinCeuticals serum can smooth those out too. 

Lancer Corrective Lightening Treatment

This lightening treatment hydrates and plumps up your skin, but most importantly it fades dark spots over time! The serum will also make your skin feel and look so fucking smooth and radiant. LIKE MAGIC! Not even kidding. 

Wander Fast Lane Instant Facial

If you want glow . . . the Wander Fast Lane Instant Facial will give you glow. It’s an exfoliating mask that resurfaces your skin, treats hyperpigmentation, and reveals your bright and beautiful skin tone. 

Bamboo Baby Washcloths 

These baby washcloths are made to be soft enough for a newborn's bum . . . so they’re the perfect applicator for your facial skincare products. They’re organic, antibacterial, hypoallergenic, and free of any nasty shit like chemicals and dyes. THE BEST washcloths for your face. 

Skin Authority Brightening Serum

Here’s another fantastic serum that corrects redness, calms inflammation (perfect when paired with the HOT MESS ICE ROLLER), evens out skin tone, and smooths the surface of your face. 

Like all the products on this list, the serum includes only healthy ingredients for your skin and nothing that’s gonna dry you out or cause a breakout! 

Skin Authority Super-C Serum

This serum supercharges your SPF, which is one of the many reasons we love it. You put it on before your sunscreen, and it just makes the application that much better. The serum also firms up your skin by promoting collagen production. 

Skin Authority Resurfacing Accelerator

Here’s another gel chemical peel that encourages natural cell turnover. If you’re not sure what that means, basically it helps your body ditch dull looking skin cells and replaces them with young, smooth ones. This corrects dark patches and wrinkles for younger looking skin. 

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

If you’re dealing with pregnancy-related melasma, this serum is perfect for that! It works great to hydrate, smooth, and even out skin tone. It’s a favorite of pregnant women dealing with hormonal hyperpigmentation!

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Remover

This one has “dark spot remover” in the name and that’s what it does! It brightens up dark skin patches left by the sun, acne, or pregnancy. It’ll tighten and plump up your skin in record time. It’s AMAZING. 


The Skinny Confidential ICE QUEEN FACE OIL is full of good shit for your skin—in fact, the BEST shit. One of the ingredients is blueberries, which are INCREDIBLE for your skin. Got hyperpigmentation? You’ll see tons of improvement with our ICE QUEEN FACE OIL

Dear hyperpigmentation . . .  BYEEEEE


Alright, the best way to deal with hyperpigmentation is to PREVENT hyperpigmentation. Ladies, your greatest anti-aging tool is SPF and sun protection clothing! Get your sunglasses, your fave sunhat, your BOUGIE DRIVING GLOVES, and GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE SUN. 

Or, at least, chill out in the sun safely. No tanning, no burning, and no feeling overconfident in the shade. (More on that HERE.) Looking for sunscreen that specifically addresses this concern? Try one of our fave sunscreens:

Other Ways to Brighten Hyperpigmentation 

If you still want more ways of kicking hyperpigmentaiton’s ass, try turmeric products or this DIY coffee body scrub! Both of these foods have natural skin brightening effects, and you can feel confident you’re getting a natural and healthy solution. 

Oh, and microneedling! You can find out more about why it’s the fucking bessst for evening and brightening your skin tone. Read more about microneedling HERE, and you’ll quickly become crazy obsessed. Promise. 

The sun can damage your skin, do all you can to protect it! 
Now you know all about hyperpigmentation and melasma, so it’s time to start a great skin care routine and do all you can to keep your skin safe from the sun. You can find all of our Skinny Confidential skincare products HERE and check out our blog for all the best skincare and beauty tips.