Hyperpigmentation and Makeup

Concealer can help cover dark spots.

Hyperpigmentation and makeup go hand in hand. The latter is the ideal choice for covering irregularities and dark patches on the skin.

The Details on Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation of the skin is caused by excess melanin. This brown pigment is responsible for the skin's normal color. However, when melanin goes into overproduction mode, it leaves deposits on the skin. These deposits, in turn, result in a gradual darkening of the skin. Hyperpigmentation does not discriminate - it can affect anyone of any sex, race or age.

There are several specific causes of hyperpigmentation, including the following:

  • Sun Damage: Repeated and frequent exposure to the sun may result in skin discoloration, commonly known as age or liver spots. Doctors may refer to these spots as solar lentigines. The spots are usually small in size and noticeably dark. They are typically found on the face, hands and other areas regularly exposed to sunlight.
  • Hormonal Changes: Women experiencing hormonal changes may also notice an incidence of melasma or chloasma, both conditions that result from an overproduction of melanin. Pregnancy often causes a "mask of pregnancy" to appear on the facial skin, as well as similar dark patches on the abdomen and torso. Women who take birth control pills may also notice similar darkening of the skin.
  • Skin Diseases: Acne is an extremely common cause of hyperpigmentation. As the condition clears, it may leave dark spots behind. These spots generally will fade over time; however, their presence can be irksome. Topical retinoids may speed the fading process.
  • Medications: Certain topical and oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, can inflame the skin, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Some retinoids, non-steroidal drugs, chemotherapeutic drugs and acne medications may also trigger inflammation.

Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

Dermatologists usually prescribe hydroquinone-based creams to lighten the skin. This active ingredient is responsible for slowing the production of melanin, eventually allowing the skin to fade to its normal color. Over-the-counter creams are also available, but they contain half the amount of hydroquinone as prescribed medications. They are much less likely to work on more serious cases of hyperpigmentation. Very serious cases may require prescription creams formulated with tretinoin and cortisone. Several advancements in laser treatments have also occurred in recent years. Known as pigment lesion lasers, they will usually remove the darkened pigment without scarring the skin. A patch test on an inconspicuous area of the body is always performed to ensure that no sensitivity or further discoloration occurs.

If the idea of using medication or undergoing a surgical procedure (however minor) does not appeal to you, consider using makeup to cover those darkened areas of skin.

Hyperpigmentation and Makeup to Cover It

You're probably no stranger to cosmetics. In fact, you might just have a bag full of it on your dresser or in your bathroom drawer. If that's the case, you might already have the tools you need to cover up hyperpigmentation spots. Even if you don't have them on hand, you'll find them with ease. In order to cover up these dark spots effectively, you will need the following:

  • Corrective Makeup
  • Concealer (optional)
  • Setting Powder

Corrective Makeup and Setting Powder

The right corrective makeup may be applied to the face and the body. It is important to consider the reason this makeup is being used; it's more than just the foundation you rub onto your face every morning. This makeup is ideally formulated to provide more than twice the coverage of traditional foundations. You should also seek corrective cosmetics that feature some or all of these properties:

  • Dermatologist tested
  • Allergy tested
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-acnegenic
  • Water-resistant
  • Smudge-resistant
  • Sun protection factor (SPF)
  • Moisturizing and soothing
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to blend, smooth texture

Several cosmetic companies specialize in corrective makeup formulated for minor to moderate skin imperfections. In addition to covering hyperpigmentation, they also conceal acne scars, uneven skin tone, large pores and redness. The following products provide exceptional coverage:

  • Vichy Laboratoires Dermablend™ Corrective Foundation: This rich foundation provides at least 12 hours of coverage and is available in 9 colors, ranging from pale porcelain to deep cocoa. It is specially formulated to work on pigmentation disorders.
  • Vichy Laboratoires Dermablend™ Setting Powder: The setting powder is a great complement to the foundation. It enhances the makeup's wearing time, ensuring at least 16 hours of fuss-free coverage. Simply dust the translucent micronized talc over the makeup with the included powder puff.
  • Dermablend™ Cover Crème: Professional makeup artists and Hollywood's elite alike swear by this remarkable product. Packaged inside a deceptively small pot, this cream-based makeup provides natural-looking coverage while covering severe hyperpigmentation. It is available in 21 diverse shades and is appropriate to use on the face and body.


A concentrated concealer is the ideal choice for sparse hyperpigmentation spots on the face. These products ensure simple application and ample coverage:

  • Dermablend™ Smooth Indulgence Concealer: With its velvety feel and flawless look, this matte concealer lasts for up to 12 hours. It covers everything from dark circles to bruises, and is ideal for smoothing onto dark hyperpigmentation spots.
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover: This brand is synonymous with heavy coverage, and its products are ideal for severe hyperpigmentation. This concealer is deceptively light and creamy, though its staying power is strong, its pigment content extremely high and its formula gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.

Application Tips

Flawless makeup application is dependent upon clean, fresh skin. Follow these useful tips to ensure the best possible finish.

  • Skin should always be moisturized prior to application. Allow the moisturizer to sink in slightly before applying makeup.
  • Apply makeup with the fingertips, a cosmetic brush or a sponge. A sponge will provide lighter coverage, while the fingertips are ideal for heavier coverage. No matter what tool you use, note that less is always more when it comes to corrective cosmetics. The slightest amount that you need should be used.
  • Always use a setting powder to ensure long-lasting coverage. The powder also makes the makeup smudge- and water-resistant.
  • If you have serious problems with hyperpigmentation and makeup alone is not a sufficient fix, visit a dermatologist to discuss advanced treatment options.
Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Hyperpigmentation and Makeup