I know this is a huuuge problem particularly in the darker/more tanned skin types. In this post I will try as much as possible not to be technical and to cover as much as possible in terms of the basics.
Lets get started…
So pigmentation is created when your melanocytes (the cells responsible for melanin production) are “stimulated” into over activity and hence over-production of melanin resulting in the dark “spots/marks/patches”. Pigmentation can be caused by several factors eg. sun, birth control pills, hormones (eg. in pregnancy), post inflammatory conditions (eg. acne, breakouts), genetics…
Prevention is better than cure:
* I personally think the number 1, most important rule to follow ~ is NEVER leave the house without having applied sunscreen! A sunscreen of SPF30 should be sufficient, if you know you will be out in the sun for long periods of time, then you would need to reapply throughout the day too. This rule applies to EVERYONE whether green, yellow, purple, whatever your skin colour! Remember the higher the SPF, the higher the amount of chemicals in order to achieve that.
- there are several different calculations that I have come across to measure the amount of time your SPF will cover you for, but here is the one i generally use: amount of time my skin allows in the sun before I start to burn eg. 10mins x SPF 30 = 300minutes
* Other small tips you can make use of:
- don’t squeeze your pimples
- apply anti-scar cream to “fresh” scars and don’t pick of the scab
- if it’s possible, use a lower dose birth control pill
- balanced diet together with drinking lots of water
- start a consistent skincare regimen, using good quality products
It is always important to figure out the source of your pigmentation before looking for a solution, otherwise your efforts are in vain. If the cause remains, the symptoms continue.
There are several ways to treat pigmentation and create a more even skin tone. From natural remedies to prescribed creams. If you are on a mission to get clearer skin, here are a few things to try:
- most important in this case is PATIENCE!
- creams/masks containing anti-oxidants eg. aha’s (which will gently exfoliate your skin and slowly bring up the pigmentation to the surface of the skin then clear it out), Vitamin A, C, E etc..
- mixing lemon/lime juice and water and using it twice daily, the acidity will help to lighten the skin ~ this is especially good if you are prone to oily skin as it will help to absorb some of the sebum, NB. don’t forget to use sunscreen after
- rubbing raw potato juice, ripe mashed papaya or mashed avocado has also been known to help – with home-made remedies, you will obviously need to stick it out for much longer
- having skin peels, performed by a professional
- on an if all else fails tip, microdermabrasion, laser and recommendation of a dermatologist