Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation Naturally

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Home Remedies For Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be a result of excess melanin production, hormonal imbalances, skin aging, liver damage, or overexposure to the sun. Some natural remedies that work are combinations involving aloe vera, cucumber, grapeseed, green tea, lemon, neem leaves, and rosehip. Papaya, pineapple, potato, soymilk, tomato, turmeric, and yogurt can also come to your rescue.

Is an uneven skin tone or dark spots on your skin bothering you? Our skin sometimes develops spots or patches of a different color, usually a darker shade. Most of the time, these changes due to hyperpigmentation are harmless and have no impact on us, except cosmetically. In plain speak, hyperpigmentation implies darkening of the skin, either locally or all over. While it usually doesn’t pose any health risks, in some cases hyperpigmentation can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.1

Our skin color is determined by melanin, a pigment produced by specialized skin cells called melanocytes. The discoloration that characterizes hyperpigmentation occurs when some triggers cause excess production of melanin, leading to spots or patches of melanin deposits in the skin. The various forms of hyperpigmentation are outlined in detail later.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation

To overcome safety and health issues associated with some of the ingredients in commercial skin lightening agents, a large number of products available today use many plant-based ingredients. A number of such plants are tyrosinase inhibitors, curbing this copper-containing enzyme that enhances the production of melanin; many others are used because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.2 3 If you want to steer clear of commercial products and keep it natural, try these alternative remedies for relief.

1. Yogurt And Turmeric Mask

Take a pinch of turmeric and add it to two teaspoons of yogurt. Apply the mix on your skin, leave for about 30 minutes, and then wash it off. This is very effective against the darkening effects of excessive sun exposure.

How it works:

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) has a bleaching effect and that’s in addition to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Yogurt is rich in lactic acid, which is a natural exfoliant, a moisturizer, and a skin lightening agent.4 Studies also show that lactic acid is effective against hyperpigmentation problems such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), melasma, and solar lentigines.5

2. Potato And Tomato Mask

Extract the juice from a crushed or grated potato and add it to a mashed tomato. Apply the paste on dark patches and blemishes, leave for about 20 minutes, and wash off. Given potato’s skin lightening properties, you can use potato alone too. Place cooled potato slices on your eyes to remove dark circles and puffiness.

How it works

Potato contains large amounts of the enzyme catecholase, a strong skin lightening agent. Tomato, on the other hand, is rich in vitamin C and lycopene, both powerful antioxidants.6 Vitamin C is a tyrosinase inhibitor that interrupts the key steps of melanin production, thereby helping treat hyperpigmentation.

Incidentally, vitamin C is added to many skincare products available commercially. However, since it is an unstable compound, it is often combined with other depigmenting agents like soy and licorice for better effect.7

3. Lemon

Squeeze out the juice of half a lemon and add 3–4 drops of honey. Apply the mix all over your face and any other trouble spots. Leave for about 10 minutes and then wash off with cold water. Not only will this treatment help lighten marks and spots, it will also leave your skin soft and moisturized.8

How it works

Rich in citric acid, lemon juice when applied topically can help lighten superficial hyperpigmentation marks. However, it may not be very effective against deeper hyperpigmentation.9 Honey is an effective moisturizer besides having antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.10

4. Green Tea Extracts

You can apply dampened and cooled green tea bags on your eyes to remove dark circles and puffiness.11

How it works

A study of 10 kinds of Korean tea showed that green tea has the strongest tyrosinase inhibitory property, making it an effective skin lightening agent. Green tea extracts also contain polyphenolic compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties, all of which offer effective skin protection against sun damage and various other skin conditions.12

5. Soymilk

Dip a cotton ball or paper towel in a cup of soymilk and wipe your face with it. Or you can soak a clean gauze in soymilk, squeeze it and use it as a compress. Rinse off with tepid water after a few minutes.13

How it works

Soymilk is a natural remedy against hyperpigmentation. Soy contains active ingredients like vitamin E and isoflavones, both of which inhibit melanogenesis. A host of commercial skincare products also use soy to treat hyperpigmentation.14

6. Pineapple And/Or Papaya Juice

Apply the fresh juice of pineapple and/or papaya with a cotton ball on your problem spots and let it stay for at least 10 minutes. Wash it off after that.15

How it works

Both fruits have natural skin lightening properties. Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which is also a gentle exfoliant. It helps removes dead skin cells making way for new and brighter skin cells. Both orange and green papaya are effective although green papaya is richer in papain. Papain is often an ingredient in commercial skin lightening creams.

Pineapple juice is commonly used as a home remedy against hyperpigmentation though research is yet to confirm its skin lightening properties. Some of pineapple’s sulfur and phenolic compounds are believed to have potential in lightening the skin.16

7. Cucumber And Aloe

Blend half a cucumber. Add 2 tablespoons of plain aloe juice, and 1 tablespoon each of honey and whole-fat condensed milk. You can add some kaolin clay to thicken the paste. Apply the paste on a clean and dry face and any other trouble spots, leave for about 15 minutes and then wash it off with tepid water.17

You could also apply cucumber juice or cucumber slices on your eyes to remove dark circles and puffiness.18

How it works

Cucumber is a natural skin lightener and has been used for ages for removing dark spots and patches. It inhibits melanogenesis and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.19

Aloin, the active ingredient in aloe vera leaf extracts, induces powerful melanin-aggregating effects, helping to lighten the skin.20

8. Other Remedies For Hyperpigmentation

  • Vitamin E is an effective tyrosinase inhibitor in addition to other properties that make it effective against hyperpigmentation. A clinical double-blinded study showed improvement of melasma and other skin pigment issues with topical vitamins C and E.21
  • Grape seed extracts contain proanthocyanidin, a powerful antioxidant. Although there is no study on the topical consumption of grape seed extracts, oral intake for 6 months has been found to be beneficial in treating hyperpigmentation.22
  • Rosehip contains methanolic extracts that can inhibit melanogenesis. In fact, the rosehip plant itself can prevent skin pigmentation when taken orally.23
  • Neem leaves are rich in flavones and other ingredients that could help reduce photodamage, including hyperpigmentation, especially liver spots.24

Simple Measures To Prevent Hyperpigmentation

While these natural remedies can help if you have a case of hyperpigmentation, there are some steps you can put in place to minimize its chances in the first place.

  • Stay hydrated: For starters, you need to keep yourself hydrated at all times. Drinking plenty of water will help you get rid of harmful toxins.25
  • Eat skin-friendly food: Eating a healthy diet can do wonders for your skin tone and overall health too. Food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins C and E is what you need to boost blood and oxygen flow to your skin.26

Vitamin C can be consumed in the form of fruits and vegetables like orange, grapefruit, banana, apple, peach, raw tomato, and cooked spinach. Vitamin E-rich foods include almonds, sunflower seeds, salmon, and avocado. Food sources of omega-3 are fatty fish, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, vegetable oils such as rapeseed and soybean, and leafy vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, salad greens, and spinach.

  • Avoid sun damage: Avoiding sun damage is one of the primary ways to protect your skin. You can try staying indoors between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM as this is the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest. You could also protect your skin with ample clothing and by applying proper sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.27

Types Of Hyperpigmentation

1. Melasma

Also known as chloasma, this type of hyperpigmentation typically occurs on the face – on the cheeks, forehead, temple, and above the upper lip. Exposure to sunlight is an important factor that triggers melasma. From tan colored to deep brown, melasma patches can be any shade in between. They usually form identical patches on both sides of the face.

Melasma is more common among women although men sometimes get it too. It is usually associated with hormonal changes, and that makes it common during pregnancy, among women taking oral contraceptives, or undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). No wonder it is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy”.28

2. Liver Spots

Known as liver spots or solar lentigines, this common form of hyperpigmentation is caused due to excessive sun damage. These dark spots are found mostly on sun-exposed parts of the body such as the face, forearms, shoulders, upper back, top of the feet, and the back of the hands. They tend to increase with age and are more common in middle age and later.29 In fact, they are sometimes referred to as “old age spots”, or “senile freckles”.

3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

This condition is caused due to an injury or an inflammatory eruption such as lupus, acne, eczema, and lichen planus. It is mostly seen in dark-skinned people. This form of hyperpigmentation is also called acquired melanosis. The lesions that come up can range from light brown to black in color. If you have PIH, it is advised that you avoid direct contact with sunlight as much as possible because UV rays can make the skin patches look darker.30

4. Hyperpigmentation Because of Disease

Two serious causes of hyperpigmentation are an endocrine disease like Addison’s disease, and Haemochromatosis, which involves high levels of iron in the body.31

5. Hyperpigmentation Because of Medication

Certain chemotherapy drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, anticonvulsants, hormonal pills, and antimalarial drugs can all cause hyperpigmentation. Certain anti-retroviral drugs and tricyclic anti-depressant drugs can lead to gray patches.32

6. Facial Hyperpigmentation

Other than melasma, there are several other conditions that can lead to facial hyperpigmentation. Some of them are:

  • Maturational dyschromia: dark patches on the forehead and cheeks,
  • Lichen planus pigmentosus: gray-brown to brown patches in sun-exposed areas,
  • Exogenous ochronosis: yellow-brown deposits on the skin,
  • Periorbital hyperpigmentation: dark circles under the eyes,
  • Ephelides: freckles,
  • Post-chikungunya pigmentation33

References   [ + ]

1.Hyperpigmentation. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
2.Smit, Nico, Jana Vicanova, and Stan Pavel. “The hunt for natural skin whitening agents.” International journal of molecular sciences 10, no. 12 (2009): 5326-5349.
3.Katiyar, Shweta, Khozema Saify, S. V. Singh, and Meenu Rai. “Botanical study of skin lightening agents.” International Journal of Pharmacognosy 1, no. 4 (2014): 243-249.
4, 6.Sharad, Jaishree. Skin Talks: Secrets to glowing skin for men and women. Random House India, 2014.
5.Usuki, Akiko, Akiko Ohashi, Hirofumi Sato, Yasunobu Ochiai, Masamitsu Ichihashi, and Yoko Funasaka. “The inhibitory effect of glycolic acid and lactic acid on melanin synthesis in melanoma cells.” Experimental dermatology 12, no. s2 (2003): 43-50.
7.Telang, Pumori Saokar. “Vitamin C in dermatology.” Indian dermatology online journal 4, no. 2 (2013): 143.
8.Ahmed, Shamim. Home Healing with Nature’s Medicines. Xlibris Corporation, 2013.
9, 24.Norman, Robert A., Shenefelt, Philip D., RupaniReena N. Integrative Dermatology. Oxford University Press, 2014.
10, 17.Gabriel, Julie. The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances. Health Communications, Inc., 2010.
11, 15.Dugliss-Wesselman, Stacey. The Home Apothecary: Cold Spring Apothecary’s Cookbook of Hand-Crafted Remedies & Recipes for the Hair, Skin, Body, and Home. Quarry Books, 2013.
12.No, Jae Kyung, You Jung Kim, Kyung Hee Shim, Yeong Soo Jun, Sook Hee Rhee, Takako Yokozawa, and Hae Young Chung. “Inhibition of tyrosinase by green tea components.” Life sciences 65, no. 21 (1999): PL241-PL246.
13.Voiculescu, Gabriela. Skin and Beauty Wisdom. AuthorHouse, 2012.
14, 20, 21, 22, 23.Sarkar, R., Arora, P., & Garg, K. V. (2013). Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available? Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 6(1), 4–11.
16.Binic, Ivana, Viktor Lazarevic, Milanka Ljubenovic, Jelena Mojsa, and Dusan Sokolovic. “Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
18, 19.Draelos, Zoe Diana. Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
25, 26.Piccardi, Nathalie, and Patricia Manissier. “Nutrition and nutritional supplementation: Impact on skin health and beauty.” Dermato-endocrinology 1, no. 5 (2009): 271-274.
27.Skin – abnormally dark or light US National Library of Medicine.
28.Melasma (Chloasma). Harvard Health Publications.
29.Hyperpigmentation. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
30.Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation “Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation”). DermNet NZ All About The Skin.
31, 33.Hyperpigmentation – of the face and neck. The Primary Care Dermatology Society.
32.Hyperpigmentation. University of New Mexico Health.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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