Hyperpigmentation, or dark patches of skin, can be caused by a variety of factors, such as sun exposure, hormonal imbalance, health conditions, inflammation, and genetics. Most cases are due to the sun – and being one of the few factors we can actually control, cutting down on sun exposure (or diligently using sun protection) is one of the best ways you can minimise your chances of developing hyperpigmentation.
However, did you know that your diet also plays a part in helping to prevent and minimise hyperpigmentation? Foods that are great for the skin are generally helpful in helping to minimise pigmentation issues. Some examples of foods to include in your diet are as follows:
Pomegranate is a superfood for the skin. Rich in polyphenols, it helps to protect the skin from sun damage. The fruit is also a great source of antioxidants, which helps to prevent inflammation including acne and heart disease. You can have pomegranates raw with the seeds alone or in salads, or in processed forms like juice, syrup, or concentrate.
Green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and peas contain carotenoids that help to protect the skin from UV radiation and reduce oxidative stress. As a bonus, carotenoids are also good for eye health, protecting the eyes from various vision degenerative conditions.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that promotes exfoliation and the growth of new, brighter skin cells. Papaya and other red-coloured foods like tomatoes, carrots, and oranges contain carotenoids as well. The carotenoids in these fruits reduce oxidative stress and minimise DNA damage. It also helps that these fruits are full of other essential vitamins that help your skin maintain its glow.
Are there foods to avoid?
Apart from the sun, other causes of pigmentation are hormones, genetics, medications, or health conditions. Some foods contain chemical hormones that can aggravate hormone-triggered hyperpigmentation. Examples of foods that contain potentially hyperpigmentation-causing hormones are soy products, black beans, flaxseed and chickpeas, all of which contain estrogen.
If your abnormal pigmentation is caused by medications, the pigmentation should stop worsening once you are taken off the medication. Of course, you need to consult your doctor before making any changes to your dosage.
Other ways to reduce hyperpigmentation
While diet and lifestyle changes are the most natural and gentle ways to prevent or reduce hyperpigmentation, the truth is, hyperpigmentation that is already present usually take quite a long while to fade off even when the trigger cause is eliminated. It can take months for the effect to show, with diligent conscious effort to adjust your diet and lifestyle.
Some people may prefer a quicker way to remove their hyperpigmentation, and that’s where aesthetic treatments come in. You can find treatments for pigmentation removal in Singapore at most dermatologist clinics. Usually, these are in the form of laser treatments like the pico laser. Compared to dietary and lifestyle changes, laser pigmentation removal is more immediate, and is ideal for those who wish to remove hyperpigmentation effectively and efficiently.