Hyperpigmentation is due to the presence of excessive melanin in the skin cells. Melanin protects our cells against stresses that involve cell damage. UV radiation from the sun, reactive oxygen species, high temperatures and chemical stresses are all culprits that stress and damage skin.
Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily see hyperpigmentation come to the surface of the skin right away. This means that in some cases, we won’t know the exact cause of your hyperpigmentation.
It arises from various causes, which include:
Melasma – darkening of skin over the forehead and cheeks, in pregnancy, or when using oral contraceptives
Induced by medications such as minocycline, imipramine or amiodarone
Endocrine disease such as Addison’s disease
Accumulation of iron in the body
Tanning due to ultraviolet or sunlight exposure
Other conditions such as age spots, acanthosis nigricans, and lentigines also cause darkening of the skin in specific places.
Here are some tips and remedies on how to get rid of your hyperpigmentation:
Don’t Pick Your Skin
As tempting as it might be to scratch a mosquito bite or squeeze a stubborn blackhead, think back to your mother’s warning — “Don’t pick!” — and pay attention. Scratching and picking at a spot will only increase the inflammation that’s responsible for skin discoloration.
Apple Cider Vinegar
We have been using apple cider vinegar for a lot of things such as help in digestion or weight loss. But believe it or not, its acetic acid component can also address melasma like a charm.
To use apple cider vinegar to lighten melasma, mix equal parts with water and apply it on the affected areas using a cotton ball. Wait for it to air dry before you gently rinse it with warm water. Follow this routine 1-2 times a week and never forget to use serum and lotion right after.
Turmeric has a wide variety of beauty- and health-related benefits. Here is a simple recipe on a turmeric mask for your hyperpigmentation:
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 tablespoons gram flour (also known as chickpea flour or besan)
1/2 teaspoon oil, I would use almond oil, as it absorbs well into the skin
Approximately 1/2 tsp milk, enough to form a paste
Lemon Juice, or cucumber juice if you have sensitive skin
Mix the gram flour, turmeric, the oil, lemon juice and milk until you create a smooth paste.
Apply this to the affected area and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Wash away with luke warm water and pat the face dry with a clean towel.
While your primary goal with hyperpigmentation is to lighten the dark spots, an effective over-the-counter product should contain ingredients that benefit the skin in other ways. In addition to addressing the pigment issues, a good product will have moisturizing agents like glycerin or hyaluronic acid, and maybe even a retinol to boost cell turnover.
Potato is rich in an enzyme called catecholase which has been known to improve the tone of your skin. You can cut a piece of potato and rub it directly on the dark spots or you can mash a potato, squeeze the juice out, and apply it on the dark spots with the help of a cotton ball. You can use this remedy two to three times a day for about a month to get a noticeable difference.