What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition wherein an excess in the amount of melanin causes patches of the skin to turn visibly darker. It affects anyone, particularly those with constant exposure to the sun. In other instances, the visibly uneven skin tone is also the result of skin ageing.
The different types of skin discoloration disorders include melasma (or chloasma), post-inflammatory pigmentation, and sunspots.
Melasma typically occurs during pregnancy and is said to be caused by hormonal changes in the body. It is also more common in women. In other cases, melasma is caused by medications, such as birth control pills. With post-inflammatory pigmentation, the dark patches are caused by other skin conditions and inflammations. Eczema and acne scars are examples of these conditions. Meanwhile, sunspots are dark patches caused by overexposure to the sun. These patches are otherwise called liver spots.
More serious causes of pigmented skin include insulin resistance for patients suffering from diabetes, diseases involving the endocrine system, and effects of chemotherapy sessions.
There are safe and dermatologically tested ways to treat and fight hyperpigmentation. Read on to find out how.
10 Ways to Diminish and Prevent Hyperpigmentation
Reducing the number of dark pigments on the surface of your skin may be done organically or through the help of specific dermatological procedures and medication.
For an organic skincare regimen, try the following homemade remedies:
- Aloe Vera
The multiple benefits of aloe vera includes healing skin conditions like dark spots and uneven skin tone. Aloe vera contains a depigmenting agent called ‘aloin’, which aids in increasing the rate at which new skin cells are produced.
You can apply the gel produced by the aloe vera plant itself directly to the affected areas. Alternatively, you can also purchase facial masks or creams infused with aloe vera and apply them on your face and body during the day and night.
- Shea Butter
The fatty acids and antioxidants, along with nutrients such as vitamin E and F contained in shea butter effectively fight off free radicals and soothe inflamed skin. When applied to your skin religiously, it lightens dark spots and even reduces the appearance of acne scars.
- Green Tea
Boil green tea and let cool for a few hours. Once it is room temperature or cool to touch, apply it to your face then rinse. You can also soak green tea leaves in cold water until such time that the water is fully infused with green tea. Next, soak a cotton ball into the green tea mixture and apply it to your face. Rinse with warm water as usual.
The lactic acid contained in milk is a potent treatment that lightens dark spots. You can use sour milk, regular milk, or even buttermilk. To treat hyperpigmentation with milk, dab a cotton ball soaked in milk on the affected area. Do this consistently at least twice a day.
Moving on to treatments and medications, the following are your options:
Retinoids are chemicals derived from vitamin A and may be natural or synthetic. They are formulated to treat different skin conditions, including hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, acne scars, skin aging, and psoriasis. Retinoids used to lighten dark spots typically have a stronger formulation, so it would be best to consult your doctor to determine whether you need over-the-counter retinoids or one that needs a doctor’s prescription.
Alternatively called vitamin PP, Niacinamide is a water-soluble, and easily absorbed vitamin. It is derived from vitamin B3 and is highly potent that it is included in different skincare regimens.
Niacinamide promotes the increased production of keratin and collagen in the skin. It revitalizes the skin’s natural barrier. As a result, the skin’s elasticity and vitality are restored and dark spots become less visible. Sun-damaged skin likewise benefits from the regular application of niacinamide serums.
- Vitamin C
You can apply topical creams infused with vitamin C or take ascorbic acid supplements. Vitamin C is a natural acid or bleach that hampers melanin production and helps lighten your complexion. Additionally, it contains antioxidants, a vital component in healing damaged skin cells and speeding up the production of new cells.
- CC Cream
The ‘CC’ in CC cream stands for ‘color correcting’. Unlike BB creams, CC creams are specially created and formulated to target discoloration or inconsistent pigmentations on the skin. As such, it is often paired with makeup since it helps cover dark spots and even out the skin tone.
- Exfoliating Toners or Agents
Exfoliating your skin gets rid of dead skin cells so that younger and newer cells will surface on your skin. These exfoliating agents range from salicylic acid, kojic acid, glycolic acid, or azelaic acid. Some skincare brands offer most, if not all of these exfoliants in the form of a facial wash, toner, or serum.
- Chemical Peeling
This option best suits patients suffering from sun-damaged skin and age spots. It is also a viable option for people who wish to achieve a more even skin tone. It involves the use of strong acids that penetrate deep within the inner layers of your skin to get rid of the darker, outer layer of the epidermis. Extra caution is advised if you are thinking about trying a chemical peel. The effects may not yield similar results for everyone, and in some cases, it may cause irritation and scarring. Always consult your dermatologist first before proceeding with a skin treatment of this level.
Hyperpigmentation may not be a life-threatening condition, but for some people, it affects their daily life. Hence, they seek different ways to treat their skin condition and achieve a flawless and more even-toned appearance.
Blog post written for R&R Luxury by Kat Sarmiento.