Purchase Gift Cards Here

Protect and Perfect Your Skin This Summer — All About Hyperpigmentation

Whether you love hiking outdoors, going to the beach, or simply going about your daily routine, this is the season of the sun. While enjoying the summer season is a given, it’s just as important to understand how the sun affects your skin. One of the most common effects of time in the sun is hyperpigmentation. Keep reading to learn about the biological reasons behind hyperpigmentation, specifically the role melanin and UV radiation play, and practical strategies to prevent and address it.

Let’s Jump In

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin in certain areas, leading to an uneven skin tone. It occurs when there is an overproduction of melanin — the pigment responsible for our skin, hair, and eye color. When our skin is exposed to sun ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it stimulates the cells that produce melanin as a protective response. Excessive production can result in dark spots and patches, commonly known as sun spots, age spots, or liver spots.

UV radiation itself comes in two primary forms: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are primarily responsible for premature aging and long-term skin damage. UVB rays affect the skin’s surface and are the main cause of sunburn. However, neither type is “good.” Exposure to either type can contribute to hyperpigmentation, making it essential to protect your skin when you’re outdoors enjoying the weather.

Preventative Strategies 

Prevention starts early, as the signs of hyperpigmentation are often delayed, not showing up until much later.  A nice, even tan in our teens and early twenties later becomes blotchy, uneven skin tone before you know it!

Use Sunscreen: This is your first line of defense against sun-induced hyperpigmentation. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply and reapply as needed. Find one you love, so it won’t feel like a chore. 

Fashion x Sun Protection: Invest in wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and clothing that covers your skin. 

Seek Shade: The best strategy to avoid hyperpigmentation and other sun damage? Avoidance. Stay in the shade, especially during peak sun hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This can significantly reduce your exposure.

Avoid Tanning Beds: Do we even have to say it? Using them can exacerbate hyperpigmentation and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Maximizing Your Skincare Routine for Summer

In addition to sun protection, switching up your skincare routine can be a great way to protect yourself. 

Getting Skin Ready (GSR): Level up your cleansing routine.  This step is just as important as your active ingredients – it helps prepare your skin to receive and rapidly absorb your actives. ZO Skin Health incorporates gentle cleansers, daily exfoliating agents, and pH-balancing toners that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. With summer heat and humidity – the all-around favorite GSR is ZO Gentle Cleanser, ZO Exfoliating Polish, and ZO Complexion Renewal Pads – all of which are available in travel-ready sizes.

Antioxidant-based Hydrators: A central component of the outcomes of UV exposure are oxidative stressors and inflammation, which damage supportive structures and lead to cellular dysfunction. Antioxidants like ZOX12, which includes vitamins A, C, and E in your morning routine, can help protect your skin from free radical damage caused by UV exposure and brighten your complexion. ZO Skin Health Illuminating AOX and 10%Vitamin C Self Activating together support the skin with all-day environmental protection against oxidative stress and help to correct and prevent hyperpigmentation.

Cellular dysfunction also leads to loss of critical natural hydrators and loss of skin barrier function.  ZO Daily Power Defense acts as a functional skin hydrator, which is not your conventional “moisturizer”.  Packed with ZOX12 antioxidant complex, this powerhouse also accelerates restoration of the skin barrier from within, supporting natural cellular repair for optimum skin health.  

Accelerate Exfoliation: Cellular dysfunction from oxidative stress slows the normal skin maturation cycle.  ZO Enzymatic Peel is a summertime favorite for gentle skin surface renewal and replenished hydration while also soothing and calming the skin.  With the anti-inflammatory and hydrating effects of papaya and kukui nut extracts, this summertime ‘invisipeel’ is like Hawaii in a bottle.

Incorporate Skin Brighteners: At night, our skin is ready for repair and recovery.   Supporting the skin with naturally sourced skin brighteners for all skin types is a core value for any skin care regimen.  Welcome ZO Brightalive Skin Brightener – this nontraditional, non-retinoid, non-hydroquinone-based brightener increases luminosity and skin clarity and reduces the impact of skin aggressors also with ZOX12 continuous protection against free radical damage.  

How to Correct Hyperpigmentation through Skin Health

Pre-conditioning your skin with ZO Skin Health ingredients helps to prepare your skin for treatments like lasers, microneedling, and chemical peels, taking your results to the next level and giving you the skin you’ve always dreamed of. 

True correction requires a combination approach.  This is the optimal time to include a retinol that encourages cellular turnover while also decreasing excess pigment production and combining with either a prescription grade hydroquinone or non-hydroquinone regimen.  

While many may shy away from procedures during the summer months, our providers are experts at managing and treating for effective and safe results.  

Laser Treatments: These use focused light energy to target and break down excess melanin in the skin, effectively reducing dark spots and promoting an even skin tone.  The Three For Me package combines the power of non-ablative resurfacing with broad band light to address complexion renewal and collagen production.

Microneedling: This involves using fine needles in a controlled delivery system to create micro-injury to the skin, stimulating collagen production and allowing for better absorption of topical treatments.  This enhances absorption of antioxidants and skin brighteners which helps diminish hyperpigmentation.

Chemical Peels: These exfoliate the top layers of skin, revealing fresher, more evenly pigmented skin beneath for a brighter complexion.  ZO Retinol Stimulation Peel is a quick at-home 3-day peel that can fit into any busy summer travel schedule for a quick refresh.  In-office peels include the ZO 3-Step Peel and Controlled Depth Peel for greater stimulation and to address deeper pigmentation due to melasma.

If you have further questions, reach out and book a consultation. Your skin health is our priority: (805) 544-5567.

happy family


At this time, we are only accepting new patients by referral. Once you receive a referral from your PCP, please fill out the form below or give us a call at (805) 544-5567 to request your appointment. Additionally, all cosmetic consultations require a payment of $125 at the time of booking.