Due to overproduction of melanin, the human skin undergoes a process of darkening which is known as hyperpigmentation. This uneven pigmentation on the skin appears as darkened patches or spots on the skin. These spots are known as age spots or sun spots. It can also be caused due to different types of injuries to the skin, sun damage, inflammation or acne vulgaris. It can also be caused due to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, and freckles.
Although people of any skin tone can be affected by hyperpigmentation, people with darker skin tones are more prone to it. People who spend more time under the sun can also be affected by the skin condition. The sole symptom of this condition is the darkened areas on your skin. It may occur on your face, hands or the whole body and is best treated using natural remedies for hyperpigmentation.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
The natural pigment called melanin is the one that gives your skin, hair, and eyes their color. The increase in melanin causes hyperpigmentation. There could be many factors that trigger an increase in melanin production, but the obvious ones are overexposure to the sun, hormonal influences, age factor, skin injuries or inflammation.
Overexposure to the sun: Melanin acts as the natural sunscreen of your skin. It protects the skin from harmful UV rays, and in the process, people get tanned skin. But overexposure to the sun can disrupt this process causing hyperpigmentation. Sun exposure can make already existing dark spots darker.
Hormonal influences: It is the cause of a specific type of hyperpigmentation known as melasma. It is particularly common among women and occurs when the female hormones stimulate the overproduction of melanin during the skin’s exposure to the sun. Hyperpigmentation can also occur as a side effect of any hormonal treatment.
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Age factor: After a particular age, the number of melanin-producing cells known as melanocytes, decreases while the remaining ones increase in size causing uneven distribution. This physiological change is typically observed in people above 40 years and is a result of aging skin.
Skin Injuries or Inflammation: Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation(PIH) occurs as an after-effect of a skin injury or inflammation like wounds, burns, chemical effects, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis. On healing of the wound, the skin becomes dark and discolored.
Hyperpigmentation can also occur due to certain autoimmune or gastrointestinal disease, vitamin deficiencies, metabolic disorders. It can occur as a side effect of certain medications.
You can prevent hyperpigmentation to some extent by:
- Limiting sun exposure.
- Wearing protective clothing along with sun hats and sunglasses.
- Regularly applying sunscreen creams with suitable SPF levels that are formulated to suit your skin type and condition.
There are many methods for treating hyperpigmentation, but some of the safe and proven ones are as follows:
Apple Cider Vinegar: It contains Ascetic acid which according to research, is helpful in skin lightening. Mixing it with equal parts of water and apply on the dark patches. Leave it for 2 to 3 minutes and then rinse n lukewarm water.
Aloe Vera: IT contains aloin, a natural depigmenting compound, which can reduce dark patches as per research studies. Apply aloe vera gel to the dark spots at bedtime. Rinse it in the morning using warm water.
Red Onion: Its extract contains Allium Cepa a skin lightening ingredient. Apply creams containing this particular compound.
Tomato Paste: It is rich in lycopene which protects the skin against different types of photodamage. Consuming 55 grams of tomato paste in olive oil for 12 weeks brings out favorable results.
These are some of the natural remedies for hyperpigmentation which can be safely tried at home along with the suggested precautions to prevent it from recurring.