Hyperpigmentation: The Facts…
Brown skin comes in many beautiful shades and while it is notoriously resistant to aging, it is also often faced with one common problem; it’s susceptibility to hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation (unevenness of skin characterized by specific areas of skin where melanin has been overproduced)can affect any race, but is most commonly found in deeper skin tones. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology’s website (aocd.org) hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the unaffected surrounding skin. The darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces skin color, forms deposits in the skin (aocd.org/hyperpigmentation).
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by many different issues and circumstances including: acne, sun damage, pregnancy, Melasma (also called “the pregnancy mask” or Chloasma), burns, insect bites, and allergic reactions, are just a few.Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to treat hyperpigmentation. Below are some treatments listed from the mildest remedies to the more intense.
Warning: Always remember to protect your skin with an effective SPF sunscreen with adequate UVA/UVB protection especially when dealing with hyperpigmentation. Leaving skin which is being treated for uneven tone vulnerable to unprotected sun exposure is a sure fire way to create even darker hyperpigmentation as the skin darkens unevenly and can also cause skin damage.
Natural Remedies: One remedy recommends using citric acid (the juice from lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits) and applying it directed to affected areas on the face and body a couple of times a week then gradually increasing application frequency. Once your skin has acclimated to this mild DIY gentle acid peel treatment, you can also mix in baking soda and water to create a medium thick paste. Leave it on your skin for 15 minutes as a spot treatment for use twice per week to help fade areas of hyperpigmentation.
Over The Counter and Cosmetic Line Remedies: Skin care lines dedicated to combating hyperpigmentation. For example, VMV Hypoallergenics is a high-quality skincare company which conducts clinical studies with their products to make sure the desired results are achieved. The regimen of products is made up of a six piece line called Illuminants + which helps to eliminate hyperpigmentation and fine lines. The line includes a Cleansing Cream, Treatment Toner, a fabulous BrillianceTreatment (comprised of Primary Cream & Brilliance Treatment), Advanced Cream, Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant (for underarm discoloration due to shaving, etc.) and a Face| Hand| Body Lotion.
Prescription Treatments:Prescribed topical creams with strong doses of Vitamin A (known as Retinol) can be effective but should be used only as directed. Steer clear of products with levels of hydroquinone as this ingredient is caustic and banned in several countries for its dangerous side effects. Products with any levels of this ingredient should only be used (if absolutely necessary) under the care and supervision of a trusted Dermatologist and then strictly as directed.
Laser Treatment:Laser treatments have become a popular and expensive option for the treatment of skin texture and tone issues. While laser methods can be effective, they are not all the same and not all laser treatments are suitable for skin of color. In fact, many aren’t; as laser frequencies are drawn to areas of pigmentation, this can be tricky on skin where the unaffected areas are naturally heavily pigmented. There are effective laser treatments available, but as with any medical procedure; it is absolutely crucial that you seek out a qualified medical professional who will understand your specific needs and recommend the most appropriate treatment for your desired results. Fortunately, the common nuisance that is hyperpigmentation can be effectively treated for everyone. It is entirely up to you to decide which methodology best suits your lifestyle, budget and desired results.