A woman touching her face

If you’re dealing with , uneven skin tone, and visible discoloration on your face, take comfort in knowing this: You are not alone. Hyperpigmentation is a common skincare dilemma that affects people of all skin types, and which usually gets worse with age. Basically, it refers to the overproduction of melanin, a.k.a the pigment that gives skin its color, making some areas appear darker than the rest.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

There are many ways to trigger the skin to overproduce pigment, and the most common way is through sun exposure. When we are exposed to the sun’s UV rays, our skin naturally produces melanin as a way to protect itself. The uneven distribution of pigment can manifest as sunspots, freckles, or even melasma, a type of that is also believed to be caused by hormonal changes.

And then there’s discoloration that’s caused by skin trauma or inflammation, otherwise known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The best example of this? The dark spots and blemishes left behind by your pimples, especially if you manipulated or picked on them! Rashes and bites can also leave behind dark patches or marks, more so if there’s injury from scratching or scarring.

Dealing with Discoloration

The good news: signs of hyperpigmentation can be treated—and prevented—with the right skincare habits and formulas. Here, five tips to get you on your way to clearer, brighter skin in no time.

 Steer clear of sun damage.

While the sun does have healthy effects on the body (It’s the best source of Vitamin D!), it is extremely important to always stay protected from the sun’s rays—not just for the prevention of skin darkening, but also to steer clear of skin disorders, including skin cancer. That said, don’t forget to apply a product with at least daily like the POND'S UV Hydrate Sunscreen. It’s also vital to avoid direct sunlight when its UV light is at its strongest: between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Leave your pimples alone.

It may be tempting to pop your zit when it’s big and angry, or to pick at your blackheads when you’re bored. Please don’t. Doing so can injure your skin and cause further infection or inflammation, especially if your fingers and nails are dirty. These can also consequently lead to permanent scarring or dark marks that won’t easily fade away.

The best thing to do is to cleanse your skin with POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Acne Control Facial Foam, apply your pimple treatment, and leave it alone. The same goes for insect bites and other signs of irritation, like eczema.

Exfoliate on the reg.

In case you haven’t heard: Exfoliation is good for you. (It’s also a key step in achieving the look! By sloughing off dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from the top layers of skin, you’re stimulating your skin cells to regenerate faster, helping reveal fresher skin and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

If you’re suffering from acne and pimple-related blemishes, try incorporating the POND'S Clear Solutions Facial Foam into your routine: It exfoliates the skin gently with and features a brightening essence to promote a more even skin tone.

Brighten safely.

Be wary of products that claim quick anti-hyperpigmentation effects as some use harsh ingredients that may only irritate your skin, and cause further damage. For safe brightening, look for products infused with gentle brighteners, such as Vitamin B3 (), brightening milk essence, and sakura extract, to name a few.

Glow, smoothen, and hydrate all at once with POND'S Bright Triple Glow Serum. For the body, try Vaseline Healthy Bright SPF24 PA++ Sun + Pollution Protection Brightening Defense Lotion, which shields from UV damage while moisturizing and brightening skin.

Practice healthy habits.

Stress, lack of sleep, and dehydration can wreak havoc not only on your health, but on your skin, too. Aside from triggering breakouts—which can leave you with more dark blemishes—an unhealthy lifestyle also compromises skin’s repairing processes, which explains why your skin discoloration is taking longer to fade away naturally.

Make sure to get ample rest at night, drink lots of water, and steer clear of bad habits (like smoking), which can only inflict further damage on you and your skin.

Hyperpigmentation can put a serious damper on your #SkinGoals, but it doesn’t need to be a permanent problem. By knowing the causes and triggers of those pesky signs of discoloration, you can easily combat and prevent their recurrence—and say yes to brighter, fresher skin!