Today we have a guest beauty blogger, Adonia Dennis, here to tell us a little bit more about hyperpigmentation, its causes and its treatments. Adonia is a professional health, beauty, and skin care adviser. Her passion is to provide a wide range of solutions for health and beauty problems. She’s an independent researcher who researches for all types of skin-related issues. She’s also a passionate blogger who loves to read up on the latest lifestyle news and share her views on health, fitness, and diet.
She’s here today to talk about hyperpigmentation. Please give Adonia a warm MB welcome!
Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which some parts of the skin obtain a darker color than the surrounding parts. These darkened patches are normally caused by excessive melanin deposited in the skin. It’s a condition that’s usually considered to be harmless, though it may be a nuisance to some people, especially women. It can affect any part of the body, and its prevalence is higher in people of Latin, Asian, and African ethnicities. Hyperpigmentation occurs in many forms such as melasma and lentigines (source).
Melasma is a result of hormonal changes, usually during pregnancy, and lentigines occur as a result of solar damage.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
Taking birth control pills or being pregnant can cause extreme changes in estrogen and progesterone hormones. Overproduction of these hormones stimulates excessive melanin production. These hormonal changes can cause brown patches on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. During pregnancy, women with this condition develop a dark line that runs from their belly to the pubic area. This condition is referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.”
Some foods, especially fruits, are known to affect the skin. Citruses contain substances that when combined with UV ray exposure, create a phototoxic reaction, which then causes the formation of dark spots on the skin. Some dermatologists argue that if you step out into the sun with fruit juice on your hands, you can develop some form of discoloration.
Removal of facial hair
Normally this paves the way for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Removal of unsightly hairs on the chin using tweezers or wax can cause breaking of the hair shaft or even ripping it out, which can lead to inflammation. Exposing the chin to harsh chemicals also causes the skin to inflame.
Overexposure to UV Rays
Continuous exposure to UV rays causes freckles and other darkened spots on the skin to be more pronounced. Normally this happens when melanin tries to absorb energy generated by harmful ultraviolet rays. Absorption of this energy results in a tanning of the skin and in return the already hyperpigmented areas become darker (source).
This type of hyperpigmentation mostly affects women who wear too-tight bras. An overly tight bra causes skin discoloration due to the constant friction between a bra rubbing against the skin. Irritation from this friction can change the color of the skin on the affected area. The characteristic of this type of hyperpigmentation is dark red and shiny skin patches.
Other causes of hyperpigmentation include the use of certain medications, iron overload, and endocrine diseases.
How to Treat or Reduce Hyperpigmentation
This is a natural antioxidant that neutralizes effects of harmful UV rays. Vitamin E also plays an important role in repairing and protecting the skin. Its usage involves massaging the affected area with vitamin E oil twice daily. Continue this routine for a few weeks to get positive results.
Aloe vera contains polysaccharides that work well in preventing and reducing hyperpigmentation. It works by first removing dead skin cells, then promoting regeneration of new cells. Before going to bed, apply fresh aloe vera gel on the darkened spots and leave it overnight. Rinse it in the morning. It’s advisable to use this remedy daily for a few weeks to observe changes. You can also combine aloe vera gel with raw honey. Mix two tablespoons of aloe vera with a half spoon of raw honey and leave it to settle for ten minutes. Apply the mixture on the darkened spots and let it dry. Wash with warm water and always repeat this daily for better results.
According to most dermatologists, this is the best medication for treating hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone contains antioxidants and retinoid that help to reduce effects of hyperpigmentation. It’s an approved product for skin lightening according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (AHAs)
This is a drug used by dermatologists to rejuvenate the skin. It contains active ingredients that work by affecting tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates production of melanin. These ingredients regulate the production of excessive melanin, thus preventing skin discoloration. It also helps in the treatment of melasma.
All in all, hyperpigmentation is a harmless condition that’s easy to treat and manage, if its causes are known and the appropriate treatments are applied. When it comes to your skin, sometimes all you need, you have at home.
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