While you might be paying meticulous attention to your skin, still, if you notice discolouration or dark spots on your face, arms, chest, or anywhere else on the body, you might be affected by pigmentation or hyperpigmentation. It might be incredibly frustrating to cover these dark spots when they sometimes get darker and more prominent.
So, what is pigmentation, and why is it happening to you?
Hyperpigmentation or dark patches on your skin happen due to excess production of melanin that can be triggered by many factors such as unprotected sun exposure, allergic reaction to medicines, hormonal change, or imbalance. There is one more reason for pigmentation, and that is post-inflammatory pigmentation. It occurs due to inflammation or injury to the pigment, forming a layer of skin. Acne or skin inflammation leaves dark spots on the skin, which is an example of post-inflammatory pigmentation. Usually, they are temporary, but sometimes, they can take longer to disappear if not taken care of properly.
What can you do to prevent pigmentation?
You must have heard of this step in almost every beauty ritual. It’s something to swear by- SPF! Yes, SPF, and we are not talking about your regular foundation with SPF 10+, but a proper sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. You must protect yourself against the most significant factor of pigmentation.
- Use sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and with an SPF of more than 30.
- Avoid direct sunlight during peak hours, but do not forget your sunscreen if you need to step out.
- Wear clothing that blocks sunlight.
Home hacks to cure pigmentation
- Papaya Exfoliation
Papaya has been used for many generations before you to get brighter and spotless skin. It is rich in AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), which treats the top layer of the skin and removes dullness and dark spots. To use papaya as an exfoliator,
- Mash it in a bowl and apply the pulp to the affected area.
- After 15-20 minutes, gently rub and massage the papaya into your skin.
- Finally, clean your face with water.
2. Aloe Vera
Sometimes, dark spots occur due to hyperpigmentation and can also happen because of scarring caused by acne or an injury. Scars are unpredictable and can take much longer to heal. Aloe vera gel has been found beneficial in treating scars, and some people claim that their very old scars disappeared after using the aloe gel regularly. To use aloe gel,
- Take an aloe leaf, peel its upper layer from one side and scoop out the white gel in a bowl.
- Apply the gel while massaging it on your scars. Leave it overnight.
- And then wash with water the next morning.
- Some people complain of bad reactions due to aloe vera gel, so do not forget to do a patch test before.
Tomatoes are powerhouses of lycopene, a plant nutrient with many antioxidant properties. It is beneficial in treating sunburns and protecting the skin from both short-term and long-term damage. You can either include tomatoes in your diet or apply them topically. Both are beneficial in curing pigmented skin. To apply the tomatoes topically,
- Cut the tomato in half and rub it on the affected area while squishing the juice.
- Leave it for 15-20 minutes and wash with water.
Yogurt has been used in Indian homes for centuries to treat pigmented skin. It removes dullness and provides brightness. You can also add honey to yogurt for more benefits.
- Apply the yogurt to the affected area and leave it for 20 minutes.
- Gently rinse with cold water.
You should know when you must turn to medical treatments or specially formulated products for pigmentation. As discussed earlier, there are many useful home remedies; however, they may not be for everyone. Some may have a severe form of pigmentation and not be patient enough to allow time for the home remedies to work, or it may just not be feasible.
- Lightening Creams and Serums
Lightening creams are over-the-counter treatments that are readily available and easy to use. Ingredients such as hydroquinone, liquorice extract, and vitamin B3 present in lightening creams decrease pigmentation. They are handy in treating dark spots or melisma.
- Chemical Peels
In chemical peels, acids are used that reduce hyperpigmentation by removing the epidermis. You should always get professional help during chemical peels; otherwise, sometimes the damage to the skin may be irreversible. Consult a good dermatologist and choose a chemical peel according to your skin type.
Pigmentation or hyperpigmentation does not have any harmful effects on your health. Instead, it is more of a cosmetic concern. There are several other home hacks that you can try to treat pigmentation, such as green lentil paste, almond oil, apple cider vinegar, etc. While going for lightening creams and serums, always choose the product according to your skin type. And always do a patch test before using a product. If you feel that pigmentation is more serious, consult a dermatologist who can help you choose the right treatment plan. As it is said, prevention is always better than cure. Avoid going out too much in the sun, and always apply sunscreen.