You might know that hyperpigmentation is the concentration of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to the skin, in certain parts of the skin. The skin condition is characterized by dark spots, patches or blemishes and is common in all types of skin. Melasma, sun spots, acne, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are among the most common forms of hyperpigmentation.
The condition is mostly harmless from the health point of view but it can cause considerable damage to one’s image and self-esteem. Luckily, you don’t have to endure; if you need help battling these dark spots, borrow an idea or two from the 7 ways savvy people deal with hyperpigmentation.
1. Avoid Exposure to the Sun
One of the primary triggers of hyperpigmentation is direct exposure to the sun; it stimulates freckling and tanning of the skin. This, combined with pollutants and accumulation of dead skin cells increase blemishes, acne breakouts, and skin dullness which result in hyperpigmentation.
As a preventive measure, apply sunscreen daily to block harmful rays. If dark spots are already visible, the sunscreen will prevent further darkening. You can also beef up your protection by wearing wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing when you cannot stay in the shade.
2. Avoid Skin Trauma
When your skin is hurt, the biological healing process triggers excess melanin production in the skin which leaves darkened spots. To control hyperpigmentation, avoid picking, scratching or peeling at acne, rashes and other injuries.
Instead, use natural anti-inflammatory skincare products to encourage a natural healing process. Such products may be in the form of anti-inflammatory moisturizers or neutralizers that slow down the progression of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
3. Natural Skin Lightening Creams
Product safety is a key consideration in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. There are products that contain natural skin lightening ingredients infused into creams or serums. Natural skin lightening creams produce the same results as popular creams like hydroquinone creams but without detrimental health effects.
Besides lightening the skin, some of the ingredients are packed with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help with skin protection and healing processes. Each cream comes with instructions for use but most are used twice daily.
Popular natural hyperpigmentation treatment creams contain ingredients such as bearberry extract (arbutin), liquorice root extracts (glabridin), aloe vera, dried skin of red onion (Allium Cepa), azelaic acid, citrus extracts (vitamin C), Niacinamide, and kojic acid among others.
4. Home Remedies
Natural home remedies have been applied to successfully to treat hyperpigmentation for ages. These homemade solutions are readily available, easy to prepare, safe and cost-effective.
Some of the popular home remedies include:
- Aloe vera gel- contains aloesin, a compound that inhibits the production of melanin hence reducing darkening of the skin.
- Green tea- known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties necessary for the prevention and treatment of hyperpigmentation.
- Apple cider vinegar- rich in acetic acid that has skin lightening properties.
- Sour milk and buttermilk-contain lactic acid which has skin lightening
- Red lentils- rich in antioxidants and are the part of the ingredient in face masks used to treat hyperpigmentation.
These are just but examples of the many home remedies that can work for your skin. They, however, require a lot of consistency, discipline, and patience because they take time to work.
5. Cosmetic Procedures
A number of cosmetic procedures have been applied to effectively get rid of hyperpigmentation. Such procedures work by different mechanisms and include laser therapy, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and intense pulsed light. These procedures produce long-lasting results but they require to be done and cared for by an experienced dermatologist or a skin care specialist.
6. Concealing Makeup
Hyperpigmentation takes time to treat. This may necessitate concealment during the treatment period. A good number of foundation make-ups are available for concealing the dark spots and protecting the skin. Foundation make-up covers the skin and prevents exposure to UV rays and free radicals.
The colour of the skin, sensitivity, and texture determines the most appropriate concealing make-up. To conceal uneven texture, a foundation primer is first applied. A colour corrector is also applied to counteract skin discolourations. The colour corrector is covered with the right concealer. The concealer is set with a translucent powder to lock it in the right spot. Consult a dermatologist to ensure that the make-up product does not affect the treatment process.
7. Prescription Ointments and other OTC Creams
There are many over the counter prescription creams available for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. For example, products containing hydroquinone and corticosteroids can be used safely with a prescription. If misused, however, these products are associated with dangerous side effects to the skin.
Creams containing hydroquinone as the main ingredient work by reducing the number of melanocytes in the skin. This inhibits the production of melanin and thus lightening the skin. Its use is however linked to serious health issues such as carcinogenicity and exogenous ochronosis, a serious blue-black skin discolouration.
Corticosteroid creams are usually prescribed for the treatment of hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions. Their use is usually limited to a particular period of time. When used for too long, they can lead to a host of health problems.
The importance of skin care cannot be overemphasized considering that the skin is the largest organ in the body. Unfortunately, you may find yourself dealing with hyperpigmentation despite all your efforts. This should not spell doom to your image; there are numerous options for you to deal with it. You don’t have to adopt all of the above ways; try a few and choose one or two that work best. Better yet, your dermatologist can help you choose based on your unique needs.