When the skin generates more melanin, (the pigment that gives skin its colour), hyperpigmentation occurs. This can cause spots or regions of skin to seem darker than the rest of the body.
Hyperpigmentation is a skin disorder that affects a lot of people. It affects people with all sorts of skin.
Extra pigment in certain parts of the skin is normally safe, although it might occasionally suggest a medical issue.
Types and symptoms
Most common types of pigmentation disorders are:
Also known as liver spots, occur as brown, tan, or black spots that appear on face and hands, or on sun-exposed areas of the body. Age spots usually appear on older adults or after extended sun exposure.
Also called chloasma or “the mask of pregnancy”, looks like large patches of darkened skin. They are most likely to appear on the forehead, face, and stomach on women, people who are pregnant or taking birth control pills, and people with darker skin.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
These are spots or patches of darkened skin that appear after an inflammatory skin condition, such as acne or eczema. They usually appear on the face or neck of people who have had inflammation or an injury to the skin.
Vitiligo is a disorder in which the immune system destroys pigment cells (melanocytes), resulting in the loss of pigment. Smooth, white skin patches appear around the mouth and eyes, as well as on the backs of the hands, in vitiligo. These patches might appear all over the body in certain people.
Albinism is an inherited condition that results in no pigmentation in the skin, hair, or eyes due to a lack of the pigment melanin. Albinos have a defective gene that prevents melanin formation.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
- Prolonged exposure to the sun: Body creates more melanin to protect skin from sun.
- Inflammation of the skin: After skin inflammation, skin can darken in some areas.
- Melasma: When people’s hormones change, darker areas of skin can appear. During pregnancy, this sort of hyperpigmentation is quite frequent.
- Drug-related reactions: Antimalarial medicines and tricyclic antidepressants, can produce hyperpigmentation.
- Medical problems: Like Addison’s illness and hemochromatosis
What are the home remedies to treat hyperpigmentation?
If a person wants to attempt a new therapy or natural remedy, they should first test it on a small patch of skin and cease using it if the skin becomes irritated. Hyperpigmentation can be reduced by using natural remedies such as these:
- Aloe vera: Aloesin, a chemical found in aloe vera, works by preventing melanin formation in the skin. Melasma in pregnant women may be relieved by using aloe vera capsules.
- Licorice: Licorice extract called glabridin can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-whitening effects.
- Green tea: Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which have the potential is treating hyperpigmentation.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that might lighten dark spots.
- Red onion: Research has found that the dried skin of red onions can effectively lighten skin.
- Black tea water: The black tea water when applied twice a day, six days a week for four weeks, proved to lighten dark spots to some extent.
- Milk: Milk, buttermilk, and even sour milk have all been shown to effectively lighten skin discoloration. Lactic acid is the ingredient responsible for this effect.
- Tomato paste: Tomato paste rich in lycopene protected the skin against short-term and long-term aspects of photo damage.
How to treat hyperpigmentation?
To lighten dark spots of skin and erase hyperpigmentation, people can attempt the following treatments:
Many people use topical treatments to treat hyperpigmentation. Topical treatments will include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as:
- Azelaic acid: known for its anti-inflammatory uses
- Corticosteroids: Known to lighten pigmentation but judicial use is very important.
- Mandelic acid: Almonds contain a kind of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) called mandelic acid. It’s frequently used in anti-aging treatments for wrinkles and uneven skin tone in combination with other substances. Inflammatory acne can also be treated with this acid.
- Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a niacin-based substance (vitamin B-3). Because of its propensity to aid in water retention, it’s widely found in wrinkle creams and other anti-aging products. It can also help you produce more collagen.
- Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a bleaching chemical that removes dark spots while also reducing melanin production.
- Retiniods: Retinoids are vitamin A-derived chemicals. These act to level out skin tone and texture by penetrating deep into the skin.
- Kojic acid: extracted from a types of fungus, best known for its natural bleaching properties.
- Vitamin C: Powerful antioxidant that boost the collagen production, thus reducing dark spots.
Some cosmetic procedures can also lighten areas of skin to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Cosmetic procedures for hyperpigmentation include:
- Laser therapy: Light energy is used to alter the skin’s surface. The new skin is more evenly toned and smoother than the old skin. In more severe cases of hyperpigmentation, laser peels are employed.
- Intense pulsed light: For people with light skin complexion, intense pulsed light (IPL) also may be a treatment option as it increases blood supply that promotes collagen production.
- Chemical peeling: Chemical peeling is the most common cosmetic procedure in de-pigmentation treatment and has been performed for years. In this procedure certain chemical agents (acids) are used that do control destructions of epidermis and dermis and promote wound healing which results in smoother skin.
- Microdermabrasion: is a painless procedure that helps in reducing the appearance of pigmented spots. This procedure targets the upper layer of skin (epidermis), and works by stimulating the skin to tighten collagen and elastin fibers.
If you are considering undergoing one of these procedures, you should discuss the process and possible side effects with our highly skilled dermatologist who will devise a treatment plan tailor made for you. Your dermatologist will consider a variety of factors when developing this plan, including your history and where the pigmentation appears on your body. If you’ve used any topical treatment or home remedies to treat hyperpigmentation, let your dermatologist know before starting treatment.
To obtain the best results, your dermatologist may recommend more than one treatment.
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