The uneven brown patch that appears on the skin owing to excess melanin production is called hyperpigmentation. Despite its unsightly appearance, hyperpigmentation is a harmless condition.
Hormonal changes and sun damage are primarily responsible for darkening of certain areas of the skin. Although it is quite difficult to heal hyperpigmentation with conventional treatments, nonetheless, the darkened areas of the skin can be significantly lightened with skin lightening creams and several home remedies.
8 Useful Remedies For Hyperpigmentation
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
By aiding exfoliation of the affected areas of the skin, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) help to fade the dark patches. You can easily find over-the-counter skin lightening ointments, creams or lotion containing AHA. In addition to improving the complexion of the skin, these products can slow down skin aging, leaving the skin soft and supple.
Hydroquinone obstructs the activities of enzymes that trigger melanin synthesis, thereby fading the dark brown patches on the skin. Over-the-counter hydroquinone preparations usually contain lower concentration of hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone products of higher concentrations can only be prescribed by dermatologists. However, skin-lightening products containing hydroquinone should not be used for a long time.
The skin lightening activity of kojic acid is comparable to that of hydroquinone. Just as hydroquinone, kojic acid disrupts melanin synthesis by suppressing production of free tyrosinase, an enzyme associated with melanin creation.
This by-product of rice wine fermentation is widely used in Japan for treating hyperpigmentation. Kojic acid of 1 percent concentration is considered safe for treating hyperpigmentation. However, prolonged use increases the risk of erythema and dermatitis.
Topical application of vitamin C or ascorbic acid to the darkened areas of the skin is an effective remedy for hyperpigmentation. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a derivative of ascorbic acid, is especially lauded for its powerful skin lightening property.
Mild to moderate pigmentation can be faded by applying vitamin C rich citrus fruit juices to the affected areas of the skin. To boost the skin lightening property of ointments, creams and other facial products, ascorbic acid is often blended with hydroquinone or kojic acid.
Licorice extract is widely recommended in Egyptian folklore for fading hyperpigmentation. It works in the same manner as kojic acid. Glabridin, an active component in licorice, prevents the melanocytes from producing melanin.
Botanicals Containing Arbutin
Mulberry, bearberry, cranberry and blueberry extracts contain a natural skin-lightening compound called arbutin. Arbutin is a naturally occurring hydroquinone. These natural skin-lightening products can be used as safer alternatives to pharmacological ointments and creams.
Applying potato juice to the pigmented areas of the skin is a popular hyperpigmentation remedy. The mild bleaching activity of potato juice can fade the dark patches. For better result, consider adding potato juice in a face pack containing honey and yogurt.
Rapid exfoliation helps to fade the darkened areas of the skin by removing the dead cells and exposing the younger skin layer. Oatmeal is an effective exfoliating agent, which can be used frequently for improving the complexion.
For better result, add the juice of a natural bleaching agent such citrus fruits, tomato, potato or cucumber to the oatmeal face pack.