By Dr. Urvashi Chandra, Dermatology
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition which is characterized by the formation of dark patches on the skin. These patches are formed when there is overproduction of a naturally occurring pigment called melanin. The disorder can occur on any part of the body including the hands, neck and arms.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation:
- Over exposure to the sun and heat: This is one of the most common reasons for pigmentation. The UV radiation as well as thermal radiation disturbs the melanocytes. With the result the melanin producing cells are affected leading to pigmentation.
- Injury: In some cases the wound caused by injury heals, leaving minor inflammation. This inflamed area can later turn into pigmentation.
- Medications: Pigmentation can sometimes be caused by certain medications due to their side effects.
- Diseases: Some specified diseases, like jaundice, cyanosis may also lead to discoloration of the skin.
- In some cases the severe emotional stress or duress may become the cause.
Other reasons for pigmentation are like genetics, hormonal changes during pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause, frequent use of hair dyes, etc.
There are many treatments that you can use to treat hyperpigmentation:
- Befriend Potatoes: Rubbing slices of potato on your skin causes the skin to lighten. “Catecholase”, an enzyme present in potatoes, helps in removing blemishes and repairing uneven skin tone.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon is a popular remedy for hyperpigmentation as it bleaches the skin because of its citric acid content. You may apply lemon juice directly using cotton balls or prepare a face mask using lemon juice. This also helps in reducing acne problems.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties that help in maintaining your skin’s natural color. Its acidic nature helps in lightening the skin and reducing dark patches.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is an herb that has anti-inflammatory properties. Owing to these properties, turmeric also helps in bleaching darkened spots and preventing bacterial infections.
- Milk and Honey: You can apply a concoction of milk and honey on your skin. Milk contains lactic acid that helps in bleaching the skin and getting rid of the darkened spots on the skin.
Over-The-Counter Hyperpigmentation Treatment:
Before starting (Do it yourself) DIY skin pigmentation treatment using any of the over-the-counter treatments, it is always suggested to consult a dermatologist as there are several causes of hyperpigmentation and each reason would require a specific treatment.