Hyperpigmentation or excessive melanin production can be prevented and remedied naturally. Here are nine ways.
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In this article:
- Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure
- Apply a Good Sunblock
- Don’t Scratch or Pick at Your Skin
- Invest in Topical Lightening Creams
- Apply Aloe Vera Over Affected Areas
- Use Avocado Pulp as a Mask
- Use Licorice Tea as a Toner
- Apply a Lemon Juice Scrub
- Undergo Lightening Cosmetic Procedures
How to Prevent Excessive Melanin Production: 9 Safe and Easy Ways
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is what you call patches of skin that turn darker than the surrounding areas. Examples include dark scars, age spots, heat or friction-induced darkening, or post-inflammation.
Hyperpigmentation is what occurs when the skin produces too much melanin which is what gives skin its color.
1. Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure
It is a common fact that staying under the sun for extended periods of time results in darker skin. Many people desire a golden, sun-kissed tan, but prolonged sun exposure can be dangerous.
Not only can UV rays result in a sunburn, but they can also exacerbate hyperpigmentation in existing wounds and scars, encourage the appearance of sunspots, and raise the risk of skin cancer.
Age spots or sun spots, in particular, are directly caused by too much sun exposure. They appear on body parts that are often exposed to the sun, like the face, neck, arms, legs, and hands.
Sun exposure is the primary cause of hyperpigmentation. This is because hyperpigmentation itself is the body’s protective response to the sun.
Sunlight triggers the skin’s melanin stores to produce more melanin so it can protect your skin. But this is not a permanent solution.
Try avoiding excessive tanning and wear protective clothing. And of course, wear sunblock.
2. Apply a Good Sunblock
A good skincare regimen isn’t complete without applying sunblock. It serves as the skin’s protection against UV rays, and several kinds even contain tinted formulas, as well as moisturizing properties.
Sunblock helps protect the skin by preventing UV rays from interacting with the skin. An active ingredient in sunblock, zinc oxide, acts as a physical filter by blocking the sun.
You can also supplement your sunblock with special day creams like the Purple Tea Hydrating Day Cream. It supports sun protection by working with sunblock to block UV rays and reverse free radical damage.
3. Don’t Scratch or Pick at Your Skin
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is also another term for dark spots or scarring that results from skin injuries. These may include wounds, infections, acne breakouts, or from wounds that result from wandering fingers.
When the skin experiences trauma in the form of wounds or acne, melanin cells trigger an inflammatory response. When left alone, these dark blemishes often settle down on their own and fade after a couple of months.
But there are people who can’t resist but pick at even the slightest bump in their skin. This may provoke the melanin cells to trigger a response or exacerbate existing sites of injury.
Picking at existing acne or scabs may result in even worse and darker scarring. These types of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can take at least six months to fade away.
4. Invest in Topical Lightening Creams
Hyperpigmentation can be addressed by many kinds of topical lightening creams. Here are some creams that are effective at lightening dark spots:
- Hydroquinone – A skin-lightening agent that works as a tyrosinase inhibitor.
- Kojic acid – Another skin lightening agent. It is created by combining several fungi species and the fermentation of malted rice.
- Tretinoin – A topical cream that is more popularly known as a medication that treats skin conditions like acne and skin aging.
- Vitamin C – A powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radical damage. It can also boost collagen production, leading to faster skin cell recovery.
- Azelaic acid – A natural skin brightener common in rye, barley, and wheat. It is used for spot treatment of dark spots.
What Is Tyrosinase? This is an enzyme within cells (melanocytes) that create melanin.
5. Apply Aloe Vera Over Affected Areas
Not only is aloe vera a great treatment for sunburns and 1st-2nd-degree burns, but it is also effective at minimizing the appearance of dark spots. It has natural soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness.
Because aloe vera can calm down inflamed skin, it can minimize the response of melanin cells. This means melanin production won’t be as excessive, as the perceived trauma wouldn’t seem so grave.
6. Use Avocado Pulp as a Mask
Avocados are rich in vitamin C, fatty acids, as well as oleic acids. Oleic acids are a type of fatty acid that may help inhibit inflammation and help the stimulation of regenerating cells.
Avocados also contain a high amount of vitamin E, which helps reduce patches of darkened skin. To make this, simply mix some mashed avocado with a bit of milk and honey, then let dry before rinsing off.
7. Use Licorice Tea as a Toner
Licorice may divide people over its flavor in candy, but it provides a whole host of benefits when applied to the skin. It’s actually pretty popular in skincare products.
This is because licorice contains glabridin, which inhibits pigmentation, soothes skin, and helps fight against free radical damage.
There are many licorice creams out there. But you can simply steep licorice root in hot water to create a tea to use as a toner.
8. Apply a Lemon Juice Scrub
Lemon and other citrus fruits have been used over hundreds of years as a natural skin bleaching agent. This is because citric acid has an astringent quality, helping strip away excess dirt, oil, and dead skin.
Citric acid is also very high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps lighten skin, fight free radical damage, and boost collagen production in the skin.
You can try moistening a cotton swab with lemon juice and apply it over affected areas. Instead of discarding lemon peels, you can also toss them in a bath and use the rinds as a scrub.
9. Undergo Lightening Cosmetic Procedures
As a last resort, there are procedures that treat hyperpigmentation. But these procedures should be discussed with your dermatologist, as the process, results, and side effects may considerably vary.
- Chemical peels – This procedure involves the peeling of the top layer of skin. New and healthy skin is revealed underneath.
- Laser treatments – Also known as skin resurfacing, this treatment uses beams of light to target excess melanin production.
- Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL) – This treatment is also called the photofacial. It stimulates collagen growth in the dermis and requires multiple return sessions to take effect.
- Microdermabrasion – An in-office treatment that is effective in hyperpigmentation on the topmost skin layer. It involves gently scraping the skin surface with an abrasive tool.
Melanin production is a normal and harmless function of your body. Like most bodily functions, it happens for a good reason.
But excessive melanin production can be indicative of larger problems like sun damage or scarring. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist about hyperpigmentation for a recommended course of treatment.
Have you ever had a bad case of hyperpigmentation? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!