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Hyperpigmentation is a major threat to radiant and even skin tone especially amongst people of color. For a simple compound word, it shows itself in many diverse and complex forms such as Post-Inflammatory skin pigmentation caused by trauma or allergy, sun spots, age spots and melasma caused by hormonal pregnancy changes and contraceptives. It basically occurs due to damage or overstimulation of melanocytes that produce melanin which gives the skin its color. Accumulation of excess melanin then leads to a dark patch. Even though hyperpigmentation can be persistent; taking a long time to heal or vanish, it can not only be prevented, but also treated. Below are five effective ways to fight hyperpigmentation.
- SEE A DERMATOLOGIST: While self medication might be successful, it has its consequences at times. It then becomes important to see a dermatologist to identify the type of hyperpigmentation, its extent, and to also recommend the right treatment. Indiscriminate use of over the counter topical creams can lead to contact dermatitis; an allergic reaction that will make the condition much worse.
- GO NATURAL: This involves the topical use of natural products such as fruits and spices to even the skin tone. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are both effective in exfoliating the skin and reducing hyperpigmentation. Their acid content, especially the high citric acid in lemon, helps bleach and fade out blemishes and dark spots. Turmeric powder which can be applied as a face mask is a very potent anti-inflammatory spice that fades out blemishes and lightens the complexion and hyperpigmentation. Other natural substances include potato, honey and Aloe Vera. Natural product’s milder action on the skin is an advantage over pharmaceutical skin care or skin lightening products that have several side effects.
- SKIN LIGHTENING CREAMS: Numerous types of off the counter skin lightening creams that either reduce levels of existing melanin or slow down melanin production are currently available to treat hyperpigmentation. The most common active ingredient is hydroquinone, which is the most used skin brightening ingredient in the USA that works by inhibiting an enzyme (tyrosinase) responsible for production of melanin and also by increasing the breakdown of melanosomes (melanin producing granules). The resultant effect is lightening of the pigmented area. Products containing Glycolic acid, Azelaic acid, Vitamin C serum and Retinoids are also useful to treat brown spots, melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation, with some every effective in treating post inflammatory hyperpigmentation related to acne or pimples.
- LASER TREATMENT: Advancement in technology has lead to the use of laser treatment for hyperpigmentation. Like tattoos, difficult and stubborn pigmentation on the skin can be gotten rid off by Q-switch Laser. Other forms of laser treatment include intense pulsed light (IPL) and fractional laser resurfacing treatment, that all work with a similar principle of targeting sun-induced discoloration, broken capillaries and other forms of hyperpigmentation. The beauty of laser treatment is that you get results early and get an even skin tone that makes you look way younger than you really are.
- SUN PROTECTION: You certainly can’t talk about the effective ways of treating hyperpigmentation without talking about the most effective way of preventing it. Chronic sun exposures aided by the tanning and skin aging UV rays are chiefly responsible for most forms of hyperpigmentation. Persistent sun exposure leads to overproduction of melanin which leads to hyperpigmentation. Aside from avoiding the sun in the peak hours, the use of sunscreen is the best way to tackle hyperpigmentation as it blocks off the harmful rays emitted by the sun. Sunscreen should be applied before sun exposure and should also be applied every two hours for optimal protection.