Kick Hyperpigmentation on Legs to the Curb
If your favorite mini skirts and leg-revealing dresses are gathering dust at the back of your closet due to hyperpigmentation on your legs, you’re not alone. It can be incredibly frustrating to want to show off one of your legs if you feel uncomfortable about how your bare skin looks.
Hyperpigmentation on the legs is extremely common, however. Whether or not it’s a chronic problem or something experienced only on occasion, many people will deal with hyperpigmentation on their legs at some point in their life. So let’s talk about what’s going on with those annoying dark spots on your legs and how you can clear up your hyperpigmentation and bring those short skirts back into your weekly rotation!
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a really common skincare concern, with certain forms of hyperpigmentation impact millions. So while it may get in the way of feeling like your best self, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and typically nothing to be concerned about. It can appear as small spots or patches or even cover larger areas of your body.
Your skin gets its color through a pigment called melanin. Sometimes, for various reasons, your skin cells produce too much melanin, resulting in an uneven distribution of pigment. This causes dark spots or blemishes, including the ones on your legs. Skin of color is more prone to hyperpigmentation, although all skin types and tones can experience hyperpigmentation. In fact, hyperpigmentation is one of the most common reasons people with deeper skin tones visit their dermatologist.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation on Your Legs?
Hyperpigmentation on your legs can occur for a variety of reasons. Let’s walk through some common ones because it’s important to be aware of any triggers or underlying factors before you attempt to address the issue.
When it comes to dark spots on areas of your body that frequently see the light of day, sun damage is a really common cause of hyperpigmentation. If you can’t wait to pull out your shortest shorts and most revealing skirts when the weather gets warm — or you live somewhere where the sun shines year-round — your legs are likely catching a few too many rays.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces more melanin. Sometimes, however, your skin doesn’t produce melanin as evenly as you’d like, so you end up with dark spots on your legs rather than a perfect all-over tan.
Skin Injury or Irritation
This is another super common reason you might experience hyperpigmentation on your legs.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs after you experience irritation or inflammation. As your skin tries to heal from this damage, even if it’s minor, the skin cells replace themselves, and they may create too much melanin, leading to an excess of pigment in the healed areas.
This is often the cause of dark spots and acne scars you get after a particularly bad breakout. And while breakouts aren’t super common on your legs, other forms of damage or inflammation are. If you shave your legs, it’s easy to end up with razor bumps or small cuts and scrapes that can later become dark spots.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is also likely to occur in “high traffic” areas — which basically means parts of your body that experience a lot of friction. The backs of your knees, for instance, as well as your ankles, feet, and thighs, often come into contact with clothing, shoes, or things in your environment that cause friction and irritation over time. That irritation can result in patches of your skin darkening as they try to heal.
Certain Medical Conditions
As we mentioned earlier, most hyperpigmentation isn’t something you need to worry about beyond how it makes you feel.
But sometimes, dark spots on your legs can be indicative of a medical condition. If you suspect that you may be dealing with hyperpigmentation as a result of a medical condition, you should consult your doctor.
Lastly, dark spots on your legs could potentially be melanoma — but don’t panic. It’s most likely not that, or something dangerous at all. If you notice that your dark spot has an irregular shape, changes in color, itches or bleeds or seems to be changing in size, it’s worth speaking to a doctor or dermatologist to ensure your hyperpigmentation isn’t indicative of a larger problem.
Don’t hesitate to do so, even if you feel silly. Even if it ends up being nothing, it never hurts to seek a professional opinion!
What Can You Do About Leg Hyperpigmentation?
There are professional treatments out there that can help you improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation on your legs.
Laser treatments, for instance, can be performed by a licensed professional to address dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Laser treatments can work in tandem with a dark spot-targeted skincare routine by using light to remove layers from your skin. It’s basically like exfoliating, but on steroids! While it may take multiple treatments to see serious results, you may see improvement in more minor cases of hyperpigmentation after your first session.
Cryotherapy is another option. Professionals will use liquid nitrogen to break up pigment in your skin, which forces your skin cells to turn over and can lead to a lightening of your dark spots. Both of these procedures should only be performed by a trusted dermatologist — it can be tempting to seek out the most affordable treatment, but it’s important not to cut corners for your own safety.
You can also get prescription treatments from your doctor or dermatologist. Certain topical treatments are only available in their highest concentrations with a prescription — things like Hydroquinone and Retinoids. So if you want some serious, heavy-duty help in your skincare regimen, talk to your doctor!
But there are at-home, over-the-counter treatment options, too! And sometimes, they can be both better for your dark spots and skin on the whole, not to mention your wallet. Let’s walk through a simple but effective routine to help address hyperpigmentation on your legs.
1. Cleanse & Exfoliate
Usually, these would be two different steps in your routine… but we’ve made them into one simple part of your daily shower. Yeah. You’re welcome.
Our Clear and Even Tone Body Cleansing Bar offers a powerful blend of ingredients designed specifically with hyperpigmentation in mind. It’s great for every part of your body, and formulated in stronger concentrations than a facial cleanser to address the tougher, more stubborn skin of your body.
It’s formulated with Kojic Acid, a powerful brightening agent that supports balance in your skin’s pigment, leading to a brightening of dark spots.
Kojic Acid is also an Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA, which means it’s a chemical exfoliant. AHAs help to break down the bonds between your skin cells so that old, dead cells can be sloughed away easily, revealing the brighter, fresher, more even skin beneath.
Our Cleansing Bar also uses Salicylic Acid which is the other kind of skincare acid — a Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA. Salicylic Acid exfoliates and removes excess oil from your skin, helping to keep your skin clear. This is key if your hyperpigmentation may be related to razor bumps or other issues with your follicles, because it can help prevent them from becoming inflamed in the first place, leading to fewer dark spots down the line.
Add to that the type of clean that will leave your skin feeling refreshed and super smooth without leaving it feeling tight, dry, and stripped, and you’ve got what’s basically the perfect cleansing and exfoliation routine without having to add any time spent in the shower.
Once you’ve cleansed and exfoliated, it’s time to really zero in on the hyperpigmentation on your legs. While you may have a serum step for your facial skincare routine, treating the skin on your body to address your individual concerns is important too!
Our Even Tone Smoothing Body Treatment is exactly what you need if you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation. It’s a lightweight, non-greasy, non-sticky treatment packed with potent ingredients to improve the look of dark spots and body blemishes.
In addition to Kojic Acid, this treatment uses fellow AHA Glycolic Acid to remove dull surface skin cells and help lessen the appearance of dark spots and blemishes. This treatment also has everyone’s favorite anti-aging ingredient, Retinol — but did you know Retinol is also perfect for improving the appearance of dark spots on your legs?
This is because Retinol is an antioxidant. It penetrates deep into the layers of your skin to neutralize damaging free radicals from things like UV rays, stopping the skin damage that causes dark spots in its tracks. So while it’s refreshing and resurfacing your skin, it’s working hard on a cellular level to stop your dark spots from coming back.
If you need a top-up, our Clear Skin Clarifying Back & Body Spray is a super easy way to add a burst of dark spot-fighting nutrients to your routine! Just give your legs a spritz of this hyperpigmentation-busting formula that includes Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid, as well as soothing Willow Bark Extract and hydration-boosting Niacinamide.
You can get all three of these products as part of our Even Tone Head to Toe Body Collection! Talk about skincare made simple.
Keeping your skin hydrated is so important to just about any skin condition you might struggle with. It enables all of your other products to work to the best of their ability, especially when you’re trying to treat dark spots. Many of the ingredients that help most with hyperpigmentation can be drying, which can cause irritation and inflammation. In other words, you could end up in a frustrating, endless cycle of treating the dark spots on your legs only to have them appear again later on.
Our Complexion Protection Moisturizer with SPF 30 can give your legs the hydration they need to feel smooth and supple while helping to promote a strong skin barrier. This will make it easier for your skin to retain moisture throughout the day and also enable your skin to protect itself from impurities and bacteria that may cause breakouts or other irritation that may lead to dark spots.
With uber-hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, or Sodium Hyaluronate, which attract water molecules to your skin and nourishing Squalane, this moisturizer does it all. Including our next step…
Keeping your skin safe from harmful UV rays is key to preventing and addressing dark spots on your legs! This means that any time your legs are exposed to the outside world — even if it’s cloudy out — you should be applying sunscreen or SPF.
That’s why our Complexion Protection Moisturizer with SPF 30 is doubly great. Not only does it moisturize, it also offers protection from UV rays using both mineral and chemical actives to shield your skin from damage-causing free radicals.
Zinc Oxide helps shield your skin from UVB and UVA rays, while potent antioxidant Vitamin C backs up the comprehensive protection of other ingredients. This is because antioxidants neutralize free radical damage. So while Vitamin C alone isn’t necessarily enough to prevent sun damage, it’s worthy back up to these other protective ingredients.
After all, we want you to show off your legs, especially when the weather is great! We just want you to be protected while you do it.
Hyperpigmentation on your legs can get into your head and interfere with your self-esteem. After all, the legs are many people’s favorite thing to show off, and if you’re not happy with the appearance of your skin on your legs, it can put some of your best looks on the back burner.
While there’s no way to instantly resolve hyperpigmentation, there’s a wide range of options available to you when it comes to improving the appearance of your skin and evening out your dark spots over time. With the right skincare routine applied consistently, you can easily go from self-consciously wearing long skirts and trousers to going out of your way to finding that Marilyn moment just to show off your legs!