Hyperpigmentation – Big Word for Little Spots
Hyperpigmentation is a condition that can cause distress for those affected. Our skin is made up cells called melanocytes which produce melanin. If there is too much melanin in skin cells the skin is hyperpigmented or darkened, and if there is too little melanin the skin is hypopigmented or lightened. (Michael Jackson believed that he suffered from a form of this called vitiligo).
It should be noted that while hyperpigmentation can be quite stressful because of the appearance it gives the skin it is not generally believed to be harmful. But try telling that to someone whose skin is affected by this condition. Their response might well be, “Right, you try living with it.”
Although there are a number of causes of hyperpigmentation including genetics, illness, and certain drugs and conditions, the most common is excessive exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. If you are already prone to hyperpigmentation, sun exposure will exacerbate your condition. And some women suffer from it during pregnancy when it is commonly referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.” This is a temporary condition that generally clears up once the baby is born.
For some people hyperpigmentation appears as dark spots, but for others whole areas of the skin are darkened. Either way it’s not much fun. Fortunately there are things you can do to lessen the effects of hyperpigmentation. First and foremost is the constant use of sunscreen. You need to get into the habit of using a face cream that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, and that blocks both the UVA and UVB rays.
Prevention is always your first line of defense, but there are treatments available if you need skin whitening. Some of the many home remedies include the use of avocado, milk, oatmeal, raw potatoes, etc. Although these are anecdotal rather than scientific they certainly won’t do any harm and contain healthy ingredients that are beneficial to the skin. One of the most popular is lemon juice. Advocates of this remedy suggest mixing it with honey and applying it directly to the dark spots at least twice a day, letting it sit for five or ten minutes before wiping it off. With all of these home remedies you have to be patient and consistent as it can take months before benefits are noticeable.
There are a lot of over the counter products sold to promote skin whitening. Many of these products can successfully lighten dark spots and smooth out the appearance of the skin, but there is a downside. Most of the products contain bleach which may be irritating to the skin. You also want to avoid products that contain hydroquinone which is considered to be carcinogenic and has been banned in some countries. Skin whitening products like Ageless Derma Anti Aging Skin Brightener can lighten dark spots and patches without irritating side effects.
You may have hyperpigmentation, but with the use of sunscreen to prevent future damage, and skin whiteners to address the damage that’s been done, you’ll find it’s much easier to cope.
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