Hyperpigmentation is a medical term used to describe the appearance of black spots on the face and body and the darkening of the skin in patches. It usually happens as a result of an increase in melanin. Hyperpigmentation is often called age spots, liver spots, sun damage, or melasma.
Skin looks dull and uneven due to hyperpigmentation. This skin darkening can be reduced and prevented by taking a healthy diet and applying moisturizers and sun protection creams on the skin.
Causes of hyperpigmentation
Some of the factors that can cause pigmentation are
- Sunburn: Prolonged exposure to the sun can harm the skin, our bodies produce more melanin to protect it.
- Some medicines have a side effect that produces redness, which afterward causes the skin to darken.
- Acne, pimples, bug bites, cuts, injury, etc., cause pigmentation.
- With age size of melanin cells size increases and dark spots appears on the skin.
- Pregnancy and hormonal changes trigger melanin production.
- Fungal infection
- Exposure to certain chemical
- The dark area under the skin appears due to a lack of sleep.
Prevention of hyperpigmentation in summers:
Avoid direct sunshine:
UV radiations coming from the sun are harmful to the skin. Avoid prolonging sun exposure. When working in the sun, use a hat or an umbrella.
Apply sun protection cream:
When skin is exposed to the sun the production of melanin is increased and also the formation of dark spots. Sun cream is a shield from the sun. It forms a protective layer around our skin which prevents skin from UV radiations by blocking them.
Choose a sunblock with SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or higher.
Avoid touching skin often:
Do not touch your skin unnecessarily. One of the causes of pimples is germs on our hands. Keep your hands off from rubbing and scratching pimples and skin injuries that may result in inflammation and leads to pigmentation.
Choose skin product wisely:
Use only those products on the skin that contain fewer chemicals. Chemicals can have a reaction on the skin and may cause skin burns or allergies. Before using any skin product first apply them on a small area to test whether it suits your skin or not.
Dryness can be a root cause of hyperpigmentation. Keep your skin moisturized to shun pigmentation. Our skin starts itching when it is dry, when we rub that place redness and dark spots may appear so it is best to keep our moisturized.
Removing dead skin cells from the face and hands is very beneficial for healthy glowing skin. Exfoliation removes dirt and dead skin cells, brightens your skin, promotes the absorption of skincare products, and makes them more effective.
Washing face and hand frequently:
Washing the face after every 3,4 hours will lessen the chance of hyperpigmentation as it will remove dirt and germs from the skin and keeps it hydrated and moist.
What we eat always has an effect on our skin. Junk food causes acne, which leads to the production of new pimples, and when these pimples heal, dark spots emerge in their place. Eat healthy food like fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants can help reduce skin darkening.
It is always advised to drink more water in summer. Drinking water and fresh juices clean blood, makes our skin healthy, and reduces acne and pigmentation.
How to treat hyperpigmentation naturally?
Milk contains Lactic acid which helps in lightening dark spots efficiently. Milk cleanses, hydrates, and whitens the skin by exfoliating the black marks.
Aloe vera is rich in aloin which works efficiently in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. A study at the Department of Biotechnology, Safia Science College, Bhopal in 2012 shows that Aloe Vera is helpful for skin lightening and treatment of hyperpigmentation.
Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps in lightening unwelcomed pigmentation. Polyphenols in vinegar act as antioxidants and protect skin cells. Applying a mask containing apple cider vinegar may reduce dark spots and makes skin look clean and bright.
A study in 2010 published in British journal of dermatology showed that tomato contains lycopene which protects skin efficiently against photodamage so applying potato mask is very helpful in dealing with sunburn spots.
Citrus foods such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, carrots, etc. are rich in vitamin A and C which reduces unnecessary production of melanin and prevents skin from discoloration moreover they lighten dark spots from the skin and reduces pigmentation.
Laser treatment is one of the most effective treatments to remove pigmentation. Many unpleasant brown and red patches on your skin can be removed using lasers safely and effectively. The laser beam is targeted on melanin cells, which reduces melanin pigmentation.
Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and dirt present on the skin. Chemical exfoliants can help lighten hyperpigmentation by removing darker skin cells in the outer layers of the skin.
Excessive exfoliation may trigger melanin production. Choose chemical wisely in chemical exfoliation otherwise, it may increase sun sensitivity.
Skin lightening agents:
Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent which not only fades dark spots but also reduces the production of melanin. Thus, Skin lightening creams that contain hydroquinone helps in reducing hyperpigmentation.
Micro-needling is one of the effective ways to treat hyperpigmentation. Pen contains small pins which are injected in different spots to creates microchannels. Small skin injuries made the surface bleed, which forces the body to begin the healing process. The old layer of skin begins to dry out and peels off after about a week. A new layer of skin is formed which is free from dark spots and marks.
Intense pulse light therapy or IPL therapy targets areas of hyperpigmentation. It promotes collagen production. It is similar to laser therapy but in this treatment wide range of light frequencies are used. The energy from these light rays is absorbed by the pigmented surfaces of darker cells that make dark spots, sunburn spots, freckles, and age spots.
IPL therapy normally requires several sessions.
Hyperpigmentation is a skin disorder which many people face due to different reasons that can be treated with cosmetic treatments, lotions, and home remedies like micro-needling, laser treatment, IPL therapy, or by applying natural products to the skin.
There are many methods to treat hyperpigmentation but always consult your dermatologist before going for any treatment because there are different treatments for different skin types.