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Hyperpigmentation is a condition that causes dark, irregular patches of skin. It can be treated with various treatments ranging from light peels to laser therapy or injectable glycolic acid. Thanks to the internet, you have access to all kinds of natural remedies for treating hyperpigmentation, including cleansers and moisturizers made without harsh chemicals harmful to your skin.
There are many types of hyperpigmentation, and they can occur anywhere on the body. One type of hyperpigmentation is melasma. For example, Melasma is also known as “the mask of pregnancy.” It typically occurs in women during pregnancy or after childbirth. Another type of hyperpigmentation is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH develops after an inflammatory process such as acne or rosacea. The 5 natural skin care tips for treating hyperpigmentation are using non-comedogenic products, avoiding excess sun exposure, drinking lots of water, using sunscreen with SPF 50+, and exfoliating twice a week.
Your skin is a complicated organ, and the way it looks may reveal a lot about your general health. Your skin is, in fact, the largest and thickest organ in your body. Your veins, tissue, various organs, and bones are all protected and structured by it.
It’s not only those of us who are “fortunate” enough to be born with excellent genes who have smooth, youthful-looking skin as we get older. Your lifestyle and nutritional choices also influence your skin’s health and appearance. Factors like as getting a lot of sunburns or spending too much time in direct sunlight, eating a lot of processed foods, hormone imbalances, obesity, and smoking may all greatly speed up the indications of skin aging.
Even while wrinkles, fine lines, and some hyperpigmentation or discoloration of the skin are a natural part of aging, there are still many things you can do to preserve and enhance your skin. For example, a significant degree of hyperpigmentation — or blotchy, spotted, dotted, dry, and blemished skin — may be avoided by eating a balanced diet, using sunscreen, and utilizing natural skin care products.
Hyperpigmentation and How It Affects You
Hyperpigmentation is a darkening and coloring of the skin caused by greater than usual quantities of melanin, the pigment-producing chemical. It’s one of the most prevalent skin disorders that both men and women have, and it generally becomes worse as they get older.
Hyperpigmentation refers to red, brown, pink, or even purple-colored patches, clusters, or streaks on the skin’s surface. Hyperpigmented areas of the skin will seem darker than the rest of the skin. They may become even more evident after exposure to the sun (which increases melanin) or after an acne outbreak. This is because melanin production may be increased in the epidermis layer, the deeper dermis layer, or both. Some discoloration, such as small acne scars or freckles, can go away with time. On the other hand, other varieties may need more extensive hyperpigmentation treatments to disappear.
Hyperpigmentation may manifest in various ways and for a variety of causes. In addition, these varieties produce a variety of symptoms, some of which are more easily treated than others.
The following are the three basic forms of hyperpigmentation, as well as their most typical indications and symptoms:
- Sunspots/sun damage is the most prevalent cause of skin discoloration, which may begin as early as a person’s teens or twenties. Sunspots, which are tiny and flat and may be pale or dark brown, usually appear on the face, chest, neck, and hands, where the skin is exposed to the most sunlight. These appear as a result of enhanced melanin synthesis. Freckles are a form of a sunspot that affects persons with light to medium skin tones. They appear as little light-to-dark brown spots, or sometimes red and black dots. Freckles are more common on the face, chest, arms, and upper back, and they tend to darken with sun exposure.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (or PIH) – PIH is a sort of “skin trauma” that occurs when the skin is injured or inflamed due to various diseases, disorders, or hormonal issues. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis, for example, may all induce PIH. These factors may lead to increased pigmentation and the development of pink, crimson, or dark brown patches. PIH may affect persons of any skin tone; however, it is more common in those with a dark complexion.
- Melasma – a form of skin discoloration that causes areas of light-to-medium brown skin to appear. It most often appears on the cheeks, sides of the face, the top section of the nose, forehead, and above the lips. Melasma is a kind of melasma that develops due to hormonal changes and is most common during pregnancy, while using birth control pills, or when there is a hormonal imbalance. It becomes worse when you’re exposed to the sun. When hormones are more balanced, they may clear up, but they may always return later.
Risk Factors and Causes
The following are the most prevalent causes of hyperpigmentation:
- UV radiation from the sun harms the skin by weakening collagen fibers and changing DNA, preventing stem cells from regenerating skin, among other things. Skin cancer may occur when UV radiation produces a high level of free radicals that damage DNA. In addition, sun exposure causes the release of melanin, which is created to help protect the skin from too much UV radiation and is also responsible for the darkening of exposed skin. A red sunburn occurs when the skin is overexposed to UV radiation and does not have enough time to react by producing enough melanin.
- Acne may cause brown, purple, or red patches and scars.
- Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis may all cause damage to the skin.
- Hormonal changes or imbalances, such as those seen during pregnancy or menopause.
- Autoimmune illnesses, gastrointestinal problems, metabolic abnormalities, and vitamin shortages are all conditions that cause inflammation, particularly in the skin’s blood vessels.
- Using tobacco/nicotine or smoking cigarettes.
- Exposure to chemicals/toxins or using some drugs that produce heightened photosensitivity.
- An unhealthy diet that is heavy in inflammatory foods, sugar, processed carbohydrates, salt, and chemical additives.
- Shaving, picking at pimples, waxing, tattooing, burns, allergic reactions, and wounds, among other things, cause skin damage.
- Getting older.
You have the option of treating hyperpigmentation at home with over-the-counter (OTC) remedies or seeing a dermatologist for more comprehensive therapy.
There are a variety of topical hyperpigmentation treatments and skincare products on the market, all of which include a variety of active chemical compounds that assist in lightening and brightening the skin. The following are some of the compounds included in hyperpigmentation creams, serums, peels, and lotions:
- Hydroquinone (concentration of roughly 2%) may assist in diminishing existing dark spots and discoloration while also potentially preventing future development. Hydroquinone-containing creams are also supposed to make skin softer and smoother (note that pregnant women should not use them).
- Melasma is often treated with a treatment called a depigmentation peel.
- In chemical peels, salicylic or glycolic acid is employed.
- Retinol, often known as Retin-A, is a kind of vitamin A that is given as an extract or a serum and is regarded as one of dermatology’s “gold standard therapies.”
A dermatologist may also undertake the following hyperpigmentation treatments:
- Microdermabrasion is a procedure that removes the top layer of skin and may be used with injections to help reduce dark areas.
- Chemical peels, which include chemicals such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and TCA, assist in removing dark pigments from under the skin’s surface. These are common acne treatments for hyperpigmentation, but they may be harsh and aren’t always the best option for persons with sensitive skin.
- Hyperpigmentation laser treatments eliminate discoloration by targeting blood vessels under the skin. Some of these options are red or blue light laser therapy, intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments to reduce sun damage, or fractional laser resurfacing to assist in removing extremely significant discoloration. Milder laser treatments just affect the skin’s epidermis, while more severe laser treatments go deeper into the dermis and other layers. Although these treatments may be quite successful, they can also be very costly and have adverse effects, including irritation, peeling, and redness.
What are the different forms of hyperpigmentation treatments for black or extremely tanned skin?
Even though all individuals have the same number of melanocytes, which create melanin and determine skin color, the quantity of melanin produced by these melanocytes varies. Because they have greater quantities of melanin, people with dark skin have some built-in natural protection against UV radiation damage. However, the disadvantage is that they need greater sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D.
Persons with dark skin may still develop hyperpigmentation and have other skin issues, so they should take the same precautions as people with lighter complexion (through diet, wearing sunscreen, not smoking, etc.). However, because the risk factors for hyperpigmentation outlined above apply to individuals of all skin tones, the first approach is to reduce your risk by addressing underlying health concerns and avoiding skin inflammation/damage.
A dermatologist can assess whether more extensive treatments or topical remedies may help to reduce hyperpigmentation on darker skin when the discoloration is severe. Topical alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, sun avoidance, as well as full-spectrum sunscreen are some possibilities.
1. Wear sunscreen and limit your time in the sun
Despite most health officials’ warnings about the hazards of sunshine, sun exposure provides a variety of health advantages, including aiding in the production of vitamin D. However, too much sun exposure may backfire, causing free radical damage (also known as oxidative stress), which changes the structure of skin cells and can potentially lead to cancer.
Suppose you have no history of skin cancer and are not at a high risk of acquiring it for any reason. In that case, I suggest spending 15–20 minutes in the sun unprotected each day to ensure that your skin produces adequate vitamin D. However, beyond this point, excessive UV light exposure may become a serious issue.
Dermatologists advise avoiding direct sunlight exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its fiercest. Wear sunscreen if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15–20 minutes during this time to avoid hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and other dangerous problems. Even if your skin has not yet been discolored, you should take precautions to preserve it since prevention is the most effective strategy to maintain your skin healthy.
Year-round sun protection using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is suggested for persons who exhibit symptoms of hyperpigmentation or have had skin cancer. You may also wish to wear a helmet and thick 100% UV protection eyewear to cover your whole eye region. During the day, use sunscreen, then wash and apply treatments to help reverse hyperpigmentation at night. This combination might help you get the best results and avoid discoloration in the future.
If you do suffer a sunburn, chill the burned area with ice or cold water, cleanse with mild soap, use natural moisturizer (such as aloe vera or coconut oil), and avoid picking at the skin, peeling, or exposure to excessively high temperatures or additional sunlight until the skin heals.
2. Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Photoaging, uneven pigmentation, lower skin cell turnover, dryness, and sagginess may all be caused by an improper diet and lifestyle. This is why any underlying health concerns that are causing skin discoloration must be addressed. A nutritious diet may also help you reduce weight (obesity is connected to skin discoloration) and avoid acne outbreaks if you need it. Incorporating a variety of cancer-fighting foods into your diet may also help to prevent skin cancer. The following meals are some of the finest for promoting skin health and decreasing apparent symptoms of aging:
- Berries are high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, which protect the skin.
- Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin C and phytonutrients, which help to prevent free radical damage.
- Salmon from the wild and other omega-3-rich seafood — Astaxanthin carotenoids are antioxidants that aid to prevent oxidative damage and inflammation while also improving skin suppleness and hydration.
- Antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients, and ellagic acid are found in pomegranates, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries, which aid wound healing and prevent free radical damage or discoloration.
- Tomatoes – are high in lycopene, a phytonutrient that protects against sunburn and reduces free radical damage.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are examples of yellow and orange vegetables.
- Egg yolks — Can aid in the formation of biotin, a nutrient that promotes the skin’s cellular structure.
- Green tea contains polyphenols, which can scavenge free radicals. Green tea may also be administered directly to the skin to relieve inflammation.
- Coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, and other nuts/seeds are all good sources of healthy fats that help to keep skin moisturized, prevent dryness, and decrease inflammation.
As previously said, sun exposure, oxidative stress, repeated facial motions, dermal collagen, and elastin weakening are some of the other key reasons why skin starts to seem old. I advocate taking collagen in addition to a balanced diet since it has several anti-aging and skin-healing properties, as well as hundreds of additional purposes for your joints, bones, and digestive system. Collagen, the most prevalent protein in the human body that aids in the formation of connective tissue, including the skin, decreases with age.
The dermis (the thickest layer of skin that constitutes most of its structure) comprises collagen and elastin, which give it strength and the capacity to stretch. The dermis also includes several microscopic blood arteries and lymph nodes, which aid with circulation and the evacuation of waste or toxins, which is how good skin contributes to general health. In addition, collagen may aid in replenishing skin’s hydration, suppleness, strength, and the prevention of roughness. However, much like other body regions, collagen and elastin may be damaged by inflammation and oxidative stress. Bone broth or collagen protein powder are two of the greatest methods to add extra collagen into your diet.
3. Use Organic Skin Care Ingredients
Begin by caring for your skin by gently cleaning it and exfoliating away any dead skin cells. Once or twice a day, wash your skin with a natural cleanser (such as after exercising or before bed). Next, exfoliate once or twice a week, preferably with a natural sugar scrub. Next, apply a natural moisturizer, such as one made with lavender oil and coconut to keep skin hydrated. Finally, on clean, dry skin, use a skin cream or serum containing one or more of the following ingredients:
- Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – is derived from a plant known for its natural “skin lightening” properties. It may be used to naturally suppress melanin synthesis in the skin and inhibit tyrosinase enzymes, which contribute to changes in skin color, in extract form, which includes large concentrations of substances such as glycyrrhizin, glabridin, and liquiritin. Melasma, skin inflammation, eczema, irritation, collagen loss, and the skin’s capacity to absorb other chemicals may all benefit from it. Look for a cream that includes licorice extract in the range of 0.5 percent to 1%. (avoid if you have any known allergy to licorice).
- Retinoids (vitamin A) — Retin-A is only accessible with a prescription, while other forms may be purchased over-the-counter. Retinoids are one of the most common and efficient therapies for decreasing sun damage and black spots; nevertheless, retinol may be too harsh for delicate skin. It comes in the forms of retinoic acid, retinol, and retinyl propionate in skincare products. It aids in reducing uneven pigmentation, the strengthening of elastin fibers, and the maintenance of structural collagen. To minimize discoloration, acne, rosacea, and dermatitis may all be treated with retinoids. Look for a retinol serum with around 1% retinol, and start gently since some individuals have a bad reaction to it. You might also make my Rosehip Retinol Cream with Lavender at home.
- Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) — is a common element in skincare for healing acne scars and blemishes. It blocks the enzyme tyrosinase, fights free radical damage, and increases collagen formation. It helps diminish hyperpigmentation. Look for a cream or serum with 10 to 15% L-ascorbic acid and use it at night before bed. You can also prepare your own vitamin C face serum at home, which works particularly well when combined with other skin-healing substances like frankincense oil and aloe vera.
- Niacinamide (a vitamin B3 derivative) — Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of melanosomes into the skin’s top layer, which lessens the effects of melanin; helps to increase skin’s protective barrier and adjust skin pH; may improve skin texture; overall helps to prevent indications of aging. Because niacinamide may reduce the benefits of L-ascorbic acid/vitamin C, take them at least 30 minutes apart (such as one in the morning and one before bed). Look for a cream or serum that contains about 10% niacinamide. This is a wonderful option for folks who have sensitive skin and can’t use retinoids.
- Tea tree essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal qualities, which may help prevent acne outbreaks and other skin irritations that leave black patches behind. A lemon essential oil may also reduce acne outbreaks, remove scars and age spots, exfoliate the skin, brighten and lighten skin, and normalize skin tone and texture (but don’t use it in the sun since it increases photosensitivity). I advocate applying essential oils to your skin with coconut oil since it helps develop sunburn protection and has natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant characteristics that may help prevent skin damage.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise benefits detoxification, circulation, and immune system support, particularly when it leads us to sweat. Exercising has many anti-aging and body-cleansing benefits that benefit skin health by increasing blood flow and assisting in releasing waste. Aim to exercise for 30–60 minutes on most days of the week. Just remember to remain hydrated before, during, and after your workout to avoid dehydration and dry skin.
Nutrient shortages may cause inflammation and poor skin health, thereby speeding up the aging process. The following supplements may aid in the improvement of skin health and appearance:
- Vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E
- B3 and B5 vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Evening primrose oil
Side Effects and Risks
Suppose you have severe hyperpigmentation, highly sensitive skin, or a history of any skin problem, including skin cancer. In that case, it’s a good idea to see a board-certified dermatologist before starting to use over-the-counter skin lightening treatments. You may respond well to specific prescription treatments or other forms of therapy, but when you use over-the-counter commercial skincare products, you may see little change or even have unpleasant effects.
Start by completing a skin patch test to ensure you are not allergic to any skincare treatment or product. Instead of testing new items on your face or breast, test them on a tiny area of skin on your arm or leg. Stop using the product immediately if you have any unfavorable reactions such as redness, peeling, swelling, or a rash.
Points to Remember
- Hyperpigmentation is a darkening and coloring of the skin caused by greater than normal melanin levels. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), melasma, and UV damage are the three basic kinds of hyperpigmentation.
- Sun exposure, skin damage from disorders like acne or eczema, inflammation from a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, smoking, and certain medical illnesses or drugs are all prominent causes of hyperpigmentation.
Frequently Asked Question
How can I remove pigmentation permanently from my face naturally?
A: The best way is to use a facial scrub. This will remove the dead cells on your skin, leaving you with soft, new, and healthy-looking skin that no longer has pigmentation.
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