4 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Skin Hyperpigmentation
Skincare is a major industry in modern society, with a great value placed on personal appearance as a point of pride. One of the main aspects of personal appearance is ensuring our skin is well cared for since it is the first thing people see. Despite skin being created as a protective layer, it bears significance in personal appearance and has spawned a major cosmetic subcategory.
While there are products designed to help rejuvenate the skin, certain skincare details get overlooked. While most people focus on reducing wrinkles and blemishes, another aspect of skincare can impact our appearance. Skin coloration can be complicated by certain cosmetic health issues, the most notable of which is hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation can be a very common issue that causes discoloration to an otherwise normal complexion. The problem with hyperpigmentation is that it can affect our confidence in our appearance and is not the easiest thing to resolve. Hyperpigmentation affects several people, but effective treatments are not well-known because modern medicine does not consider it a priority. While this is understandable since there are pressing health conditions, it can make life difficult for people trying to maintain a healthy complexion.
Fortunately, there are tools and methods we can use to reduce hyperpigmentation and possibly prevent it from manifesting. The challenge lies in figuring out which products yield beneficial effects and which are a waste of time.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
You might not have heard of hyperpigmentation before because it is constantly called several other names. The reason for this naming confusion is that hyperpigmentation is a broad condition, and the other conditions fall under the same category. Hyperpigmentation is any skin blemish involving an area of the skin being darker than the rest. Therefore, any blemish on your complexion with a dark spot can be categorized as hyperpigmentation of some variety.
Typically, hyperpigmentation manifests as brown, black, grey, red, or pink spots or patches along the skin. The location where these spots manifest can vary, but they are all tied to symptoms of hyperpigmentation. Typically, you will hear these spots referred to as "liver spots" or "sun spots," the latter resulting from ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation from sun exposure.
Because these blemishes are typically seen in the elderly, people associate hyperpigmentation with age. While it is slightly more common in older people, it can manifest in younger adults and children depending on certain factors.
Hyperpigmentation is commonly caused by environmental factors, with the sun being the most likely culprit (as mentioned earlier). This damage is not exclusive to the elderly and can affect the skin of healthy youths if they overexpose themselves to these elements. Other causes of hyperpigmentation can be more dangerous than sun exposure since certain health issues can cause it. Regardless of what caused the hyperpigmentation, the condition is seldom life-threatening and will only present a cosmetic issue outside of the potential symptoms of the illness that caused it.
While some causes of hyperpigmentation are unavoidable depending on certain genetic and health factors, others can be prevented and reduced through certain tools.
#1: Aloe Vera
The succulent plant Aloe vera is a common household remedy for people suffering from sunburns and other issues. You have likely used Aloe vera once or twice due to its benefits in treating skin and hair. The most common benefit associated with Aloe vera has always been its hydrating effect on the skin, making it a powerful tool for cosmetic and skin health. Aloe vera has been used to treat everything from sunburns to acne with a surprisingly high success rate.
While its primary uses are well known, additional effects associated with Aloe vera make it a versatile tool. One less publicized benefit of Aloe vera is that it can help mitigate the symptoms of hyperpigmentation. Aloe vera has documented skin-lightening properties that have turned it into a cosmetic tool capable of dealing with certain issues.
Hyperpigmentation is one of the issues Aloe vera is capable of treating thanks to its skin-lightening effect. It can reduce the darkness of the affected skin and restore uniformity to your overall skin tone. The benefits of Aloe vera for skin tone are well documented, but the science behind them is not well-known.
Fortunately, the lack of circulation of scientific evidence does not mean it is non-existent. A study was conducted on a group of people with hyperpigmentation specifically to determine how Aloe vera might help. Aloe vera contains a compound called aloesin, which offers protection against ultraviolet radiation. The study divided the subjects into 4 groups and exposed them to UV radiation via their inner forearm. The 4 groups consisted of the following:
- Test Group A: This group received aloesin as a treatment for UV radiation.
- Test Group B: This group received arbutin as a treatment for UV radiation.
- Test Group C: This group received aloesin and arbutin as a treatment for UV radiation.
- Control Group: This group received a placebo.
The 3 test groups showed reduced hyperpigmentation levels compared to the control group, with Test Group C showing the most improvement. These studies confirmed that Aloe vera can combat hyperpigmentation, though there are limits. Animal studies confirmed that Aloe vera can destroy melanin in pigmented cells to reduce the severity of hyperpigmentation, but human studies are still needed. For the most part, Aloe vera seems best suited to the role of a preventative tool rather than a treatment after exposure.
#2: Green Tea
Like the previous section, plants appear to be a powerful tool insofar as skincare is concerned. Another major contender is green tea extract, a surprisingly common ingredient in several health and cosmetic products. Despite being primarily used as a beverage, green tea can be refined into several topical products that allow us to absorb the nutrients.
Green tea is one of several varieties harvested from Camellia sinensis shrubs and has become a favored drink across several cultures. In the centuries since green tea was first distilled into a consumable substance, it has become one of the most treasured supplements in modern society. The shocking thing is that it has benefits for the skin that can help address the effects of hyperpigmentation so you can maintain a healthy and equal complexion.
Green tea has such a beneficial effect on the body because of the concentration of polyphenols, which are known to provide health benefits. The benefits of polyphenols are primarily related to blood pressure and circulation, making them very effective in improving cardiovascular health.
More shocking is that the consumption of polyphenols seems to prevent skin photoaging. A study was conducted that focused on Japanese women who were dealing with hyperpigmentation. The study focused on polyphenols from both coffee and green tea consumption and did not focus on topical application.
Nevertheless, the polyphenols in green tea extract were discovered to yield beneficial effects for hyperpigmentation by alleviating discoloration. There were limitations to the effects, but the study uncovered that the polyphenols in both substances effectively suppressed the effects of hyperpigmentation and provided the women in the study with a more uniform complexion.
Unfortunately, not as many studies focus on green tea for hyperpigmentation as on Aloe vera. Nevertheless, it is worth considering altering your diet to incorporate more green tea to reap the benefits of its polyphenols. That said, there are still alternatives if green tea and Aloe vera are not your preference.
#3: Licorice Extract
Another valuable plant is Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is not the most popular plant in the world but offers a unique product. G. glabra is the plant responsible for giving us licorice, a controversial addition to certain diets. Black licorice is the most divisive version of the product, but none of that changes the nutritional benefits it offers.
Licorice is packed with essential minerals and vitamins, making it a powerful health tool when used in moderation. Licorice can cause cardiovascular issues if consumed excessively, but it ultimately presents a powerful tool that can bolster our health. The part that surprises most people is that licorice offers certain cosmetic benefits that can improve our complexion. Licorice extract is in several cosmetic products designed to improve skin health.
While most licorice-based products are designed to soothe the skin, they can also provide benefits that reduce the symptoms of hyperpigmentation.
Licorice has certain traits that can counter the effects of hyperpigmentation by modifying certain physical responses in the body. Licorice is particularly effective at reducing the production of melanin, the chemical that causes the skin to darken. Melanin is designed to be released in larger quantities when exposed to sunlight and is directly tied to developing a suntan.
Unfortunately, the bodily response that releases melanin can overproduce when you spend too much time in the sun. This can cause hyperpigmentation since the body releases more melanin to try and protect you from UV radiation. Additionally, some people are just predisposed to excess melanin production due to genetic factors. Fortunately, licorice has shown an interesting effect insofar as our body's melanin production is concerned.
Research shows that licorice inhibits the body's ability to produce melanin, reducing the amount our bodies release in response to the proper stimuli. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme essential to melanin production, preventing excess levels. Unfortunately, this can adversely affect you if you overindulge since excess licorice consumption could limit your melanin production beyond acceptable levels.
This issue is rare, but it is worth ensuring you only consume the recommended amount of licorice (no more than twice a day). Nevertheless, licorice can help your body naturally prevent hyperpigmentation by preventing melanin production. There have also been records of licorice removing excess melanin from the body, meaning it might have limited success in undoing hyperpigmentation.
The final option we can recommend for dealing with hyperpigmentation is probably the most surprising one on the list. Milk is a very beneficial product that is naturally found in a variety of animals and legumes. The lactic acid from natural animal milk contributes to healthy development, and the calcium improves bone strength.
While milk is an important addition to your diet and development, there are additional benefits that might come as a shock. The lactic acid in milk, buttermilk, and sour milk has been observed to reduce skin discoloration. As a result, lactic acid has been harvested from its source to take advantage of its effects on hyperpigmentation. Specialized lactic acid peels have become common cosmetic products that help people reduce discoloration to restore a more unified complexion.
Lactic acid does this by actively removing the top layer of the dermis and allowing the layer beneath to replace it. This can reduce discoloration somewhat, but repeated sessions are required to eliminate the hyperpigmentation fully. Additionally, lactic acid peels are risky since the newly exposed layer of skin is more sensitive to UV radiation than the original. Therefore, care should be used when employing lactic acid peels.
Finding the Right Blend
Hyperpigmentation might not necessarily be dangerous, but it can cause distress and damage your self-esteem. Wanting to reduce or eliminate your hyperpigmentation is an understandable sentiment, but it can be challenging. Natural products allow you to take advantage of your body's healing capacity without subjecting your skin to chemical compounds that might exacerbate the issue. You can use several possible tools to enhance your complexion, but finding the right one from a reliable source is the biggest hurdle.
We at Teami believe in providing natural tools you can use to enhance your health and appearance. That is why we have created several resources you can rely on to treat conditions like hyperpigmentation. While we do not have any lactic acid peels or licorice masks, we have our Butterfly Toner Mist (made with Aloe vera) and our Green Tea Detox Mask.
Both products are designed to enhance the health and appearance of your skin with a focus on your face. Our products are designed to enhance your health and appearance without interference from artificial ingredients. We encourage you to visit our website and try our products yourself to enjoy their effects and take control of your complexion. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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