Introduction Freckle or sunspot? Sometimes it’s super hard to tell the difference! Both are roundish, brownish spots that appear on our faces. Both seem to
Natural Ingredients to Reduce Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is pretty annoying to deal with. It’s also quite hard to get rid of, often requiring a cosmetic process or some very expensive products to reduce the look of it. Most of the dark-spot correcting serums sold commercially cost upwards of $80, and the prices of medical-grade, prescription ones will make your eyes pop out.
But why is hyperpigmentation so hard to get rid of? Let’s first understand what hyperpigmentation is and what causes it!
What causes hyperpigmentation?
There are many forms of hyperpigmentation but all types are essentially caused by a pigment called melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin color, and it can be found in pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. Some people have a higher concentration of melanin than others, and that’s how differences in skin color come about. Although it causes hyperpigmentation, melanin is really important for us as it helps protect our skin. Melanin is produced when the skin is exposed to the sun to act as a natural sunscreen by absorbing the harmful UV rays which cause skin damage. That’s why we get tanner under the sun! However, when there is an overproduction of melanin, this causes hyperpigmentation, which results in the skin taking on a darker tone. Overproduction of melanin results in deposits of the excess melanin in the skin, which can clump up to form dark patches. The size of these patches can range from small to large, in different shapes, and different degrees of darkness depending on how much melanin was produced.
There are a number of common causes of hyperpigmentation, as listed below:
1. Sun exposure
We all know that the sun causes a lot of damage done to our skin, and one of the effects of it is hyperpigmentation. When our skin is exposed to harmful UV rays, this triggers the production of melanin by the melanocytes to protect our skin against these rays. When the sun is strong, this results in more melanin being produced and hence can lead to patches of darker skin.
2. Inflammation, skin injuries, and acne
A type of pigmentation called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation happens after an injury to the skin, severe acne, or skin conditions like eczema. Darker areas in the skin might appear due to the skin’s response to inflammation or injury. To heal, the melanocytes produce more melanin and cause patches of the skin to darken. A darker patch of skin is likely to be seen in the area which was affected. The more severe the acne was, the darker the spot will be.
3. Hormonal changes
Changes in hormonal activity can result in a type of pigmentation known as melasma that mostly affects women. It is often caused by pregnancy or hormonal contraception. This type of pigmentation occurs because the melanocytes are stimulated to produce more melanin by the errant hormones. Melasma occurs as darker patches of skin on the chin, forehead, nose, and chin.
How can I treat hyperpigmentation on a budget?
We know that the most effective solutions of hydroquinone serums, chemical peels, and micro-needling are all very expensive procedures. And with any skincare product or procedure, they aren’t 100% guaranteed to be effective! So why waste the money and time to potentially lighten your dark spots? There are lots of natural ingredients found right in your kitchen that can help to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation! And even if they don’t work for you, at least you didn’t spend a fortune on it and you can just try another one! All-natural ingredients are also a lot less damaging to the skin, a win-win all around!
This might sound weird but hear us out! While it isn’t a number one, go-to skincare product, potatoes are actually a really great anti-pigmentation ingredient. Also, they’re in such abundance and are relatively cheap, so no harm trying! To use it, just slice a raw potato and soak the cut side in some water. Then, remove the potato half and rub it on the areas with hyperpigmentation for around ten minutes. After that, wash your face with some warm water. You can do this two or three times a week to see a lightening in your affected areas!
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has very effective compounds like polyphenols, pectin, and carotenoids that can help with reducing the appearance of pigmentation. It also contains acetic acid which is shown to help lighten pigmentation marks. To use it, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water, dip a cotton ball or swab into it, and apply it to the areas that have pigmentation. Leave the apple cider vinegar on for around three to four minutes before washing it off with some warm water. You can repeat this process twice a day.
Yogurt is an excellent ingredient for the skin, due to the lactic acid present in it. Furthermore, yogurt has the added benefits of anti-aging and moisturizing. Lactic acid is actually an active ingredient in many skin care products as a natural exfoliator. The alpha-hydroxy acids in lactic acid can dissolve dead skin cells, hence renewing skin cells and sloughing off the dead, old ones. This property of yogurt makes it ideal for lightening hyperpigmentation as removing dead skin cells and letting fresh ones come to the surface reduces the deposits of melanin under the skin. To use yogurt for hyperpigmentation, get a tablespoon of natural, organic yogurt, and apply it to the areas with hyperpigmentation. Leave it to sit for around fifteen to twenty minutes, then wash it off. You can also make yogurt into a nice moisturizing mask by adding some honey.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is known to be great for moisturizing the skin and hair, and it is also a super good ingredient for hyperpigmentation too! It boosts the production of collagen in the skin, which is what keeps our skin supple and soft. Remember that hyperpigmentation is exacerbated by aging skin, as the collagen loss and increased translucency of the skin make dark patches and spots more obvious. So keeping up with your moisture levels will certainly help with hyperpigmentation. Get some high-quality, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil and rub a small amount into your face, massaging it well so that the oil deeply penetrates the skin layers. Leave the oil in your skin for about half an hour then wash the residue off with warm water. Repeat this thrice a week for the best results.
Reducing the look of hyperpigmentation doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! Lots of natural ingredients already contain the compounds and chemicals used in skincare products, so why not go directly to the source and avoid paying all that money!
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