Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but for some, it can be particularly distressing when it appears on your visage.
There are four main types of skin discolouration: freckles, melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and sunspots.
Freckles are the little spots that largely occur on the face, chest and arms. Melasma are usually light to medium-brown patches that typically occur on the sides of the face, cheeks, nose and forehead. They may be the result of hormonal changes as well as sun exposure.
Sunspots or age spots are usually small and flat, and the colour can be anywhere from light to dark brown. These frequently occur on the face, chest and hands and are usually the result of sun damage. PIH is caused by inflammatory acne and can be brown, red and even pink; they often appear on the visage.
While you can visit your aesthetician or dermatologist to discuss various treatment options, below are a few home remedies that are known for treating hyperpigmentation that you can test out:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar isn’t just a great ingredient in a salad dressing, the acetic acid has also been shown to lighten skin pigmentation. Start by mixing equal part water and apple cider vinegar in a container. Pat it onto the affected areas and leave it on for two to three minutes before rinsing off with some lukewarm water. You may repeat this action twice a day for optimal results.
Green tea extract is widely used in skin-care products that are targeted at ageing complexions. Apparently, green tea applied topically can help to strengthen the epidermis and prevent skin discolouration. Drinking two to three cups of green tea a day can help and so can consuming green tea supplements.
You can also try this trick with green tea bags at home: place a good quality green tea bag in boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes before removing. Wait for the tea bag to cool and then use it to rub on the dark patches on your skin. Do this twice a day until you see positive results.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloin, a component found in aloe vera gel, can be helpful for lightening post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which are the darkened marks left behind by pimples that have healed.
Because aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties, it may also be helpful in preventing post-inflammatory pigmentation from occurring. The remedy is simple; before bed, just apply 100 percent pure aloe vera gel to the areas that are pigmented. Leave it on overnight and rinse off with warm water when you wake up in the morning. You can keep following this regimen until your skin tone improves.
Not the most pleasant smelling option, of course, but red onions are rich in vitamin C, which is often used for the treatment of pigmentation. For a home remedy, you may slice a red onion and rub it onto areas of your skin that need it. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off completely with warm water. This may also be done twice a day.
Incidentally, red onion extract happens to be a commonly used ingredient in skin-lightening products. Just look for Allium cepa in the ingredients list.
Can black tea help to lighten dark spots? It has definitely been shown to work with guinea pigs! Black tea’s skin-lightening and antioxidant properties make it an excellent option as a home remedy for hyperpigmentation.
Here’s what you can do: Boil a cup of water (preferably distilled water) and add a generous tablespoon of black tea leaves. Let it steep for about two hours; strain the tea. Dip a cotton ball into the black tea and dab it onto your skin, wherever it is needed. You may try this twice daily, six days a week for a whole month. Good luck!
The extracts of liquorice have been shown to be effective for reducing hyperpigmentation resulting from melasma and overexposure to the sun. In fact, there are several creams on the market that have liquorice extract as a component.
This is one way you can create your own skin lightener with liquorice at home: blend together some sliced cucumbers and liquorice extracts to create a paste for a face mask. Apply only to the dark spots to achieve a radiant and flawless complexion.
Buttermilk contains milk protein and lactic acid, both of which can help to lighten skin tone, clear pores and remove dead skin cells, giving skin the glowing and smooth texture that we all seek. One very simple recipe involves combining honey with buttermilk. Simply apply the mixture over your skin and leave it on for several minutes before rinsing it off completely.
Juicy tomatoes are heavenly in a Bloody Mary or paired with lettuce and bacon in a BLT, but did you know that the lycopene in tomatoes can greatly assist your efforts to reduce your hyperpigmentation issues?
While eating more tomatoes can help to protect against photo-damage, you can also make yourself a delicious mask at home. Combine one teaspoon of tomato pulp with about 4 drops of fresh lemon juice (the additional lemon helps to speed up the lightening process). Only apply to the affected areas. Leave the mask on until it dries, which is about 10 minutes or so. Rinse off well and make sure to moisturise after. You can comfortably do this once a day.