Finding spots of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin is a sign of hyperpigmentation. These can be in the form of melasma, freckles, age spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
The truth is, these conditions are not at all uncommon. Constant exposure to sun can promote the formation of these highly pigmented spots. Some of these are also a result of injuries to the skin, where the skin heals back in a darker shade than the original skin colour. Conditions like pregnancy and acne are also often associated with hyperpigmentation. People can also have hyperpigmentation from genetic conditions or auto-immune diseases.
Although most of the common pigmentation issues do not cause any problems to health, they can make some people feel conscious and uncomfortable about their own looks. If you are concerned about hyperpigmentation on your skin, you can consider some of these methods to minimise or remove them:
You can use topical creams to help in lightening the dark areas. Look for creams with skin-lightening ingredients like salicylic acid, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and azelaic acid. Other ingredients work by exfoliating the skin to reduce the colour, and others work by blocking off the enzymes responsible for pigment production.
Studies have shown that aloe vera can have a lightening effect on skin by blocking melanin production. You can use gel from the plant directly on the affected area, or use store-bought gels made from aloe vera. The plant is generally considered safe for use on the skin.
Liquorice contains compounds called liquiritin and licochalone, which have been found to inhibit the production of skin pigments. Apart from its skin whitening effects, liquorice or its extract is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
For older and more stubborn spots, cosmetic procedures may be a more effective way to lighten them. Some aesthetic procedures that reduce heavily pigmented skin include the pico laser treatment, which uses laser technology to break down pigments in the skin. It is a procedure commonly used for tattoo removal, and has shown to be promising for removing hyperpigmentation as well.
Listed above are just some of the steps you can take to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation on your skin. As with any kind of treatment method, there may be risks of side effects and varying results. Thus, it is important that you do thorough research and consult with a professional before you embark on any new treatments.
Home remedies and over-the-counter creams are usually low-risk options, but you should also take care to do a patch test before using the product regularly to rule out any skin allergies or sensitivities to the product.
Cosmetic procedures usually come with a slighter higher risk and pain involved. However, they also typically give faster and better results. If you want to know more about aesthetic treatments for skin lightening and hyperpigmentation removal, you can contact an experienced practitioner to find out about its costs, number of sessions required, and possible side effects.