If you suffer from acne, you may also be familiar with hyperpigmentation, which is often the result of acne after it heals.
If you long for a clear, even complexion, treating your acne is your first priority.
However, when your acne is gone, and you still have skin discolorations, finding ways to fade these and improve the overall look of your skin can become a top priority.
If you’ve ever had hyperpigmentation after acne has healed, you know that it can take months to heal properly.
Learning how to treat this skin issue at home and naturally, can not only save you money but also allow you to gently restore your skin’s natural glow.
What is Hyperpigmentation
When you’ve had acne, whether, in the form of pimples, cysts, or other blemishes, there is very often residual inflammation under the skin while your breakout heals.
What is left behind after the acne is gone, are dark or discolored spots, which are known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
These dark areas on your skin can sometimes cause even more frustration than the acne itself.
Depending on your skin tone, the darkened areas of hyperpigmentation can be black, brown, red, pink, or purple.
The color also changes with the depth and severity of an offending pimple or acne cyst.
The more you touch or inflame your acne, the more likely you are to have hyperpigmentation.
When your skin becomes inflamed, whether due to a pimple, a rash, or even a scrape, the cells produce melanin, as your skin heals.
This protein gives skin its color.
When too much is produced, the area appears darker in color than the surrounding tissue.
Some people are more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and some people also heal more quickly from it.
Those with darker complexions tend to develop more severe hyperpigmentation, and their dark patches tend to last longer.
Are Scars and Hyperpigmentation the Same?
The short answer is no.
Scars are usually more permanent and result from excessive tissue that remains after a pimple has healed.
Scars can be raised or depressed areas, and while they may be a different color than the surrounding skin, they are not always, and this discoloration usually fades over time while the raised or dimpled skin remains.
Areas of hyperpigmentation will often fade over time, but the skin’s surface does not change in texture.
You can have both scars and hyperpigmentation from acne, you can have one or the other, or, if you are fortunate, you may end up with neither after your acne heals.
Talk to your dermatologist about whether you have scars, hyperpigmentation, or something else.
It is recommended that you consult with your dermatologist, before using at-home treatments for skin hyperpigmentation.
Naturally Treating Hyperpigmentation from Acne
No matter which treatment you choose to use to address your skin hyperpigmentation, it is vital that you remain consistent in its use.
Treatment can take several months, and if you discontinue treatment after your skin is lightened, your hyperpigmentation could return.
In addition, remember that you need to nourish your skin from the inside out, so be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet.
Choose foods that contain lots of minerals and vitamins, such as vegetables and fruit.
Steer clear of foods that increase inflammation, such as dairy, processed meats, gluten and foods high in sugar or fat.
Drinking plenty of water is very important for the look and feel of your skin.
If you want your skin to be moisturized and to heal, you must drink lots of water.
Aim for a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day, with a better target of around 80 ounces.
Gently exfoliating your skin daily can also help to remove the dead skin cells, so that you can replace them with new, healthier ones.
Once you’ve reduced the appearance of your skin hyperpigmentation, regular exfoliation will help to prevent discolorations.
Equally important as treating your skin hyperpigmentation, is preventing future occurrences.
The first thing you can do is to avoid picking or aggravating your acne when you have a breakout.
The more you pick, the more likely you are to develop scars or hyperpigmentation.
When you pick your pimples, you increase the inflammation in your skin and make it more likely to stick around.
Be sure to also protect your skin from the sun, especially when you have acne.
Hyperpigmentation Natural Remedies
The proteins and amino acids found in full-fat milk and yogurt are excellent for smoothing skin.
The lactic acid in these products is also good for lightening areas of hyperpigmentation.
After applying yogurt to your skin, allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before rinsing.
Repeat this procedure twice per week for several months.
Remember to select cow’s milk yogurt that is full-fat and unflavored.
Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemons contain natural skin brighteners, due to its high concentration of citric acid.
In addition to helping lighten areas of hyperpigmentation, lemon juice also gently exfoliates, which can prevent future dark patches.
You can slice a lemon and simply rub it directly onto your dark spots.
If this is too harsh for your skin, you can also dilute fresh lemon juice with water.
Allow the liquid to sit on your skin for at least 15 minutes, before rinsing with warm water.
You can mix lemon juice with aloe vera or honey, which are also helpful in treating hyperpigmentation.
Many plant extracts and compounds found in essential oils are wonderful natural skin lighteners.
Be sure to select high-quality oils that are manufactured with standards for purity.
Here are examples of essential oils that can help treat your hyperpigmentation.
- Neroli essential oil stimulates cell growth and can rejuvenate damage from acne or even stretch marks.
- Bergamot essential oil comes from the citrus family, making it high in antioxidants which repair damaged skin. Bergamot evens out skin tone and can reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
- Calamansi essential oil is another good choice for reducing the appearance of dark skin spots and acts as a natural bleaching agent.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also use the natural compounds of apple cider vinegar to treat your hyperpigmentation.
As a natural astringent, it is effective at treating acne and reducing the appearance of dark patches.
Dilute your apple cider vinegar with equal parts water, then use a cotton square to apply it to your skin.
Start by treating your hyperpigmentation for 30 minutes.
If your skin tolerates it well, you can also leave it on overnight.
Turmeric naturally lowers inflammation and lightens skin.
This root also helps to restore the natural balance to your skin, which can enhance your ability to heal hyperpigmentation.
Turmeric is available in many forms, including powdered, in capsules and fresh.
If using fresh turmeric, you can grate the root, and capsules should be opened to access the powder inside.
You can mix turmeric with water or raw honey to create a paste, that is then applied to dark areas of the skin.
Leave this on for at least 15 minutes, then rinse well.
Do not allow the paste or turmeric to touch any fabric since it can permanently stain garments and towels.
Natural Moisturizing Oils
Several natural oils make excellent moisturizers that can also help your skin recover from acne.
If you use these oils regularly, you will lessen the chance that you will develop skin hyperpigmentation.
Examples of good, natural moisturizing oils include rosehip, argan or tamanu.
Apply a small amount to your entire face to moisturize or just to affected areas to reduce hyperpigmentation.
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E is also an excellent choice for repairing damaged skin.
Massage this natural remedy directly into your areas of discoloration or even on your acne scars.
Repeat twice daily for at least four weeks to notice a difference in the hyperpigmentation of your skin.
Aloe Vera has been used to treat skin problems for centuries.
As a natural and gentle solution, this remedy works well for those with sensitive skin.
Aloe naturally contains salicylic acid, which is the ingredient commonly found in skin lighteners.
It works well to even out skin tone, treat active acne, and even moisturize dry skin.
As a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, you can see why it is used so frequently on the skin.
When using aloe vera to treat hyperpigmentation, apply it at night and leave on while you sleep.
You can also apply it during the day and allow it to stay on your skin, as long as you like.
It dries clear and is gentle enough to be used for an extended period. Just be sure to wash the area before reapplication.
The best aloe vera gel will come directly from the plant leaves.
Break a leaf off the plant and squeeze the gel from the inside.
Raw honey, which differs in effectiveness from processed or pasteurized honey, contains many natural compounds that are excellent for reducing dark patches and exfoliating your skin gently.
The best option is to use Manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand.
Raw honey can be used in many ways, including as a daily facial cleanser or mixed with other ingredients to create a facial mask.
Raw honey keeps your face moisturized while removing dead skin cells and promoting the growth of healthy, lighter cells on top.
Rich in natural compounds, orchid extracts are a natural antioxidant that can reduce the appearance of dark patches on the skin.
Many skin care products contain this powerful ingredient, so read the labels carefully.
You can apply orchid extracts directly to your areas of hyperpigmentation.
You should see results in two months or less.
Wheat Germ Oil
As an excellent source of Vitamin E as well as other fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, wheat germ oil is our final recommendation for treating your skin hyperpigmentation.
While it does work well to lighten skin as well as moisturize, it can clog pores.
Therefore, you should use it sparingly and only in areas that are not prone to acne breakouts.
Use this remedy with caution, if you struggle with hormonal acne or have regular acne flare-ups.
You have many options for treating your hyperpigmentation if natural treatments do not give you the results that you desire.
In addition to over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription lightening creams, you can also try retinoids and face acids.
All of these topical treatments have pros and cons.
Your dermatologist can help you to determine if they can help to treat your hyperpigmentation.
A stronger treatment is a chemical peel, which uses acids that are similar to those in the above gels and creams but in a stronger concentration.
Peels penetrate deeper into your skin and can produce more significant results.
There are risks with both at-home and in-office peels, so you should discuss your options with your dermatologist.
Skin peels are not a good option if you are in the sun frequently.
Your dermatologist may also recommend that you use a laser peel, which is also known as skin resurfacing.
Targeted beams from lasers are used on areas of hyperpigmentation.
Depending on the severity of your hyperpigmentation, your dermatologist may recommend using either an ablative or a non-ablative laser.
For less severe hyperpigmentation, a non-ablative laser is used to promote collagen production in the outermost layers of your skin.
Ablative lasers penetrate deeper and remove layers of skin, making them appropriate for more severe cases.
Laser treatments often require multiple sessions to achieve the results that you desire.
Microdermabrasion and dermabrasion techniques can also be used to remove various layers of skin.
However, these treatments are most effective, when treating scars and other skin texture concerns.
Treating your acne can be frustrating.
However, when your pimples are gone, and your skin still hasn’t returned to normal, it can be even more disappointing.
Hyperpigmentation occurs after acne has cleared but inflammation still remains.
While these patches will naturally fade over time, it can take months or even years for these dark areas of skin to fade on their own.
You may want to lighten them more quickly, using natural remedies at home.
There are many ingredients and natural compounds that can lighten your skin without harsh chemicals or dermatological procedures.
If you want to lighten your skin at home, you can use apple cider vinegar, yogurt, essential oils, lemon juice, aloe vera, raw honey, Vitamin E, turmeric, moisturizing oils, or wheat germ oil to fade your dark patches and even your skin tone.
These treatments are safe and inexpensive, and you won’t have to worry about damaging your skin with harsh treatments.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?