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We can not over-emphasise the importance of taking care of your skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against diseases and infections. Any appearance of dark spots from scars, blemishes, sunburn, age spots or any skin discolouration issues will trigger you to take steps towards preventing any form of further damage on the skin as changes in skin pigmentation can be a significant source of emotional distress in individuals with dark skin complexion.
Hyperpigmentation, caused by the overproduction of Melanin - a brown pigment in the skin. It could be in the form of small sports or covers a large area as in age spots, liver spots, and sunburn. Hyperpigmentation can happen on the face, hand, and the body.
Hyperpigmentation disorders such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, drug-induced hyperpigmentation, melanosis (also known as melasma) and erythema dyschromicum perstans, unfortunately, tend to have prolonged course. It is, however, exciting to know that hyperpigmentation can be reduced and treated.
A common form of facial pigmentation called Melanosis has been linked to long-term exposure to sunlight, use of some cosmetic ingredients and hormonal factors.
On the other hand, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin pigments are deposited on the skin following an inflammatory skin disorder (black spots from pimples)
In young ladies, the alteration of hormonal levels sometimes caused by the use of contraceptive pills and pregnancy can also trigger melanin production resulting in uneven skin complexion especially on the face and lower abdomen.
Treatment for Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone
Age spots, Dark spots and sun damage on the skin are prevented by avoiding prolong exposure to sunlight, feeding the skin with antioxidants found mainly in fruits and vegetables and wearing products with sunscreen.
In a quest to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin, individuals have resolved to the use harsh chemicals peels and so on.
The most common ingredients used in skin bleaching are Hydroquinone and Mercury. Hydroquinone has been around for a while and used in different strengths and combination with other elements in bleaching crèmes. These ingredients, however, inhibit the production of melanin in the skin and come with a significant side effect as they become toxic after prolonged use. Hydroquinone if used over an extended period can speed up aging and darken the skin.
Interestingly, hyperpigmentation can be treated with the used of plant based extracts like licorice extract, bearberry extract, citrus extract (lemon juice and orange peel), Kojic acid (a product from several species of fungi in Asia) among others. Which works by absorbing harmful UV rays from sunlight and also reduce the production of excess melanin pigment in the skin.
Zinc oxide is a highly recommended active ingredient that forms a physical barrier on the skin by scattering or diffusing UV rays from the sun. Zinc oxide is a natural sunscreen protection widely used in sunscreen and mineral makeup as an added advantage to the skin.
It is important to note that the dark skin although rich in melanin requires a certain amount of sunscreen protection on a daily basis as this help prevents the long term effect of sun damage resulting in dark patches.
Omolara Tayo~Sobajo. MBA.
Beauty and Business Consultant