Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that makes some areas of the skin darker than the rest of the body. This occurs when the skin produces excess melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its colour. Hyperpigmentation can affect people of all skin types.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
There are three common types of hyperpigmentation. They include:
Liver spots, also known as sun spots or age spots, do not necessarily have anything to do with the liver. These spots are darkened patches of skin that appear on areas that have been exposed to extreme sunlight. Liver spots are common in adults over 50, but anyone can get them. People who are most likely to get these spots are those who:
- Have a lighter shade of skin
- Spend a lot of time in the sun
- Use tanning beds
Liver spots often appear on the face, hands, neck, or arms. They are dark brown or tan and look like flat or circular patches. Just like freckles, they are grouped in one spot.
Unlike the other types of hyperpigmentation, melasma usually covers a larger skin area. It mainly affects women more than men, and it is common in women with a light-brown skin tone. A change of hormones usually triggers melasma. Therefore, pregnant women or those who use birth control are more prone to it.
It occurs due to skin inflammation caused by acne, burns, cuts, or injuries. The common cause of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is acne. Beauty: How To Take Care Of Acne Prone Skin
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
The type usually determines hyperpigmentation causes. However, there are other causes of hyperpigmentation, such as
Reaction to drug use
Hyperpigmentation is usually a side effect listed in different kinds of medications. An example is topical creams which are used to treat a variety of skin issues.
Certain medical conditions also cause Hyperpigmentation. People with conditions such as diabetes, cancer, Addison disease, and systemic lupus are more prone to hyperpigmentation.
It is not always possible to prevent hyperpigmentation. However, there are some methods you can use to reduce the risk. They include:
Using a Hat
Whenever you head out of the house on a sunny day, you should consider wearing a hat to protect your face.
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Sunscreen is the best way to help prevent hyperpigmentation. The best kind of sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher. There are two types of sunscreens, chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed on the top layer of the skin when applied. They absorb the UV rays caused by the sun and convert them into energy, so they don’t harm your skin. Physical sunscreens, often mineral or natural, include zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These two ingredients reflect the sun’s rays. The best way to find out which sunscreen you should use is to ask a professional.
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Stay away from direct sunlight.
The sun is usually at its peak from 10 am – 2 pm. The best solution to avoid sun rays is to avoid being outside at that time. If you have things to do that require you to be outside, you can opt to use an umbrella. You can also choose to wear clothes that mainly cover the areas prone to hyperpigmentation.
Adding Vitamin C to your daily skincare routine
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known for its lightning and anti-ageing properties. It can be used as a prevention or cure for hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C for the skin is packaged as a serum that you can add to your daily skincare routine.
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Home-based treatments for Hyperpigmentation
There are a few natural remedies that are known to help with hyperpigmentation. Here are a few:
Aloe vera contains two chemicals, aloesin, and alonin, which help lighten the skin. Aloin breaks down the excess melanin, while aloesin prevents the skin from forming excess melanin. With time the two components make your skin lighter and brighter.
How to use it
You can either purchase a packaged aloe vera gel or use the gel extract from the plant itself. If you opt to use the plant extract, here are some tips on extracting the gel:
- First, you should find a plant that has been in existence for an extended period. Older plants contain more aloin and aloesin. However, if you can’t find an old plant, you can still use a recent one.
- Using scissors, cut a few thick leaves near the plant’s stem. The leaves should be green and smooth, which means the plant is healthy.
- Wash and dry the leaves, then remove the prickly parts.
- Use a knife to scrape the gel from the plant.
- Pour the gel into an ice cube tray and freeze it into smaller cubes for easy use. Freezing also ensures that the gel stays longer.
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Green tea helps lessen the effects of UV rays. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help apparent hyperpigmentation by preventing the skin from producing excess melanin. 11 Health Benefits Of Green Tea
How to Use it
- If you have green tea leaves, soak them in cool water for an hour or two. Then using a cotton ball, apply the fluid to the hyperpigmented areas; after 15 minutes, wash your face.
- You can also opt to make green tea and once it has cooled down, put it in the refrigerator for a while. Once the tea is cold, apply it to your face using a cotton ball. You can also use a green tea bag with the same process.
For other homemade remedies, you can check out 5 Home Remedies For Skin Pigmentation
There are a few over-the-counter products that are known to help with hyperpigmentation. The key is finding products with ingredients that help with the patches. It would help if you also strived to find a product that works for your skin to avoid experiencing side effects. Here is a list of ingredients you should look for when choosing a product:
Retinol helps deal with hyperpigmentation by helping the skin cells turn over. This helps to get rid of the pigmented cells and regenerate new cells. It is usually advisable to use retinol at night since, during the day, sunlight breaks it down, making it less effective. Benefits Of Vitamin A And Retinol For Skin
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) brightens the skin and clears fine lines and wrinkles. Studies show that products that contain niacinamide help in dealing with hyperpigmentation.
Kojic acid is used to treat several skin-related issues, including hyperpigmentation. It prevents the formation of tyrosine which is an amino acid used to produce melanin. It would be best to consult a dermatologist before purchasing any product with this ingredient to be safe.
When should you seek medical attention?
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition and usually doesn’t risk your health. However, it is crucial to see a dermatologist so you can know what you are dealing with. They will also be able to inform you if you require or can undergo other medical forms of treatment like laser peel and Microdermabrasion.
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