Hyperpigmentation is a common condition caused by the darkening of some parts of the skin due to excessive melanin production. A lot of women try to cover up dark spots with makeup and concealers. While dark spots are usually not something to be worried about, it is important to understand the causes of hyperpigmentation and treat it appropriately. Let us look at its causes and treatment (both medical and natural).
CAUSE OF HYPERPIGMENTATION:
Age spots or ‘liver’ spots and freckles: They are dark patches found on the face and hands, usually small in size. They are normally seen in people over the age of60 years. They are caused by sundamage OR damage due to tanning beds. They are also known aslentigines. Freckles are usually hereditary but can darken due to sun exposure.
Melasma: They are larger areas of dark spots that are caused mostly due to hormonal changes.Such spots are normally seen during pregnancy. Use of birth control pills which mimic pregnancy also causes melasma. Hormone therapy and thyroid dysfunction also cause such spots.
Post InflammatoryHyperpigmentation (PIH): PIH is dark spots on the skin as a result of skin conditions such as acne or after healing of burns and some skin care treatments. Such spots fade away when the skin regenerates and heals.
Drug-inducedHyperpigmentation: Some drugs cause inflammation and eruptions on the skin. This leads to secondary hyperpigmentation. It can also be a side effectof some chemotherapy drugs.
Medical conditions causing hyperpigmentation: Some hormonal conditions such as Addison’s or diseases such as psoriasis can cause dark spots.
TREATMENT OF HYPERPIGMENTATION: Several methods of treatments are available depending on the cause (any one of the above) of hyperpigmentation.
Topical applications: Some of most commonly used ointments are kojic acid, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, and mandelic acid. Prescription creams containing cortisone or Tretinoin are used in severe cases. Bleaches can be used which lighten and fade dark patches or dark spots. Prescription bleaches contain twice the amount of hydroquinone than normal bleaches and are to be used only under medical supervision.
Professional procedures: Skin peels, Laser skin resurfacing, Intense Pulsed Light(IPL) therapy are non-ablative procedures. These should be recommended by a dermatologist and are used only when topical treatments fail. These treatments are done under strict medical supervision.
Microdermabrasion treatment: This procedure has gained much popularity. It uses a spray of microcrystals (aluminium oxide) to remove the outermost layer of dead and dry skin to reveal the healthier, younger skin. Those people having sun-damaged skin, uneven pigmentation, and age spots are suitable for this procedure.
Consult a doctor:If there is a known systemic illness, a doctor should be consulted for the best possible treatment.
HOME REMEDIES: Several natural treatments are available for getting rid of dark spots and preventing future occurrences.A peek into the kitchen will reveal numerous products which when used correctly will help in reversing hyperpigmentation. Here are some simple DIYs for treating hyperpigmentation naturally.
Potato and lemon juice:
Extract juice by grating a large potato. Add 1 tsp lemon juice to it. Rub on the areas of dark spots for 10 minutes. Rinse the areas with lukewarm water.
Lemon is a natural bleaching agent. It also contains vitaminC that works as an antioxidant and protects the skin from sun damage. Potato contains an enzyme called catecholase that curbs excessive melanin production.
Aloe vera and raw honey:
Mix raw honey and aloe vera gel. Let it sit for 5 to 10minutes. Apply the gel over dark patches and wait for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Aloe vera helps in reducing dark spots and offers protection against UV radiation. Honey is a natural bleaching agent.
Cucumber juice and honey:
Make a smooth mixture of 1 tbsp cucumber juice and half tbsp honey. Apply on the affected areas of skin and leave the mixture on for 10minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Cucumber has 95% water and provides hydration to the skin. Presence of vitamin K and most of the other vitamins help in healing the skin.
Almond and milk paste:
Soak 5 to 6 almonds overnight. Peel their skin and make a paste with milk. Apply over the face and under the eyes. Rinse off with cold water after 30 minutes.
Being a great source of vitamin E, almonds heal the skin. Milk acts as a moisturizer.
Sandalwood powder and rose water:
Make a smooth paste with 2 tbsp sandalwood powder and a required amount of rose water. Apply as a mask and leave on for about 30minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
Sandalwood protects against UV rays and acts as an excellent blood purifier. Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in unclogging skin pores.
Tomato juice with oatmeal:
Make a paste with 2 tsp oatmeal and the juice of one tomato. Use as a scrub on the affected areas.
Oatmeal removes dead skin cells. Tomato acts as a rejuvenating, antioxidant and bleaching agent.
Red lentils (masoor dal) face pack:
Soak the lentils in milk overnight. Make a paste of it in the morning. Mix it with honey and yogurt. Apply as a mask on the face and neck. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.
The proteins in lentils help to get rid of dead skin cells.Honey, milk, and yogurt provide the bleaching and moisturizing properties to the paste.
Oils for hyperpigmentation:
Olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and neem oil– all of these oils help in minimizing skin pigmentation by protecting the skin from sun damage, having antioxidant properties, having fatty acids which repair the skin, and restoring the oil balance of the skin. Mesmara offers to you all the above oils. Check the list of the products available on the homepage. Apart from the shopping cart available on the website, Mesmara also sells its products on Amazon.in and Flipkart.com.
Hyperpigmentation, though not a worrisome condition, can certainly take a toll on your self-esteem emotionally. But the next time you see some dark spots or if you have some dark spots on your skin, there is really no need to worry! “Get comfortable in your own skin” by identifying the cause and using the treatment methods described above!!