The formation of dark spots on the skin could send alarm bells ringing for the skin’s health. These patches are typically called hyperpigmentation resulting from excess melanin production. It is a skin condition where the skin generates excessive amounts of melanin, resulting in spots, scars, and freckles. Hyperpigmentation is an aesthetic concern, making you conscious about your skin.
Pigment means a naturally-occurring shade of our hair, skin, and eyes. It is powered by melanin, and is dictated by specialized skin cells known as melanocytes. You may note that any shift in melanin level gives rise to pigment disorder, known as hyperpigmentation.
It doesn’t target any particular age group, but some skin tones are more susceptible to pigmentation disorders than others, especially in Africa and Asia. So here is our take on highlighting the causes, prevention, and treatment of dark patches on the skin!
Two Key Types of Melanin that Can Cause Hyperpigmentation:
There are two types of eumelanin- brown and black responsible for inhibiting the amount of harmful ultraviolet rays penetrating the skin. It is generally called a protector of the skin that restricts the number of UV rays that may damage the skin if penetrated. Thus, it protects our DNA from damaging and developing chronic health conditions like cancer.
It is often found in two colors which are red and yellow. Unlike eumelanin, it provides a limited amount of protection from the sun. People with less eumelanin and more pheomelanin pigment have pale skin that easily gets burned with prolonged exposure to the sun.
So, how our skin appears is determined by the balance of these types of melanin present in our skin. Depending on the hormone levels, genes, and interactions with other cells, this may vary from person to person.
Did you know? The amount of melanocytes is determined by genetics, meaning our skin complexion is majorly based on genetic factors. However, tanning and hyperpigmentation can alter how our skin naturally appears as it involves the transfer of melanosomes.
Reasons for Dark Patches On The Face
1. Excessive use of harsh chemical products
Poor-quality products may contain harmful chemicals or toxins that hurt the skin, and make it susceptible to forming dark skin patches. In addition, the skin fails to bear the effects of various products such as bleaching creams, hair removal creams, wax, etc. These products contain harmful chemicals that form stubborn spots on the skin’s surface.
2. Sun exposure
Sun exposure is one of the leading reasons for hyperpigmentation, resulting in melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is because our skin adversely responds to UV rays and stimulates the formation of melanocytes. Melanin buildup in the skin cells causes dark patches on the face. Furthermore, sun exposure without wearing any protection makes it prominent with time.
3. Hormonal changes
Whether experiencing menopause or consuming oral contraceptive pills, hormone levels greatly affect our skin health. Women in their pregnancy, menopause and post-partum period are more likely to get affected by various skin discoloration issues. The disturbance of the chemical balance in the body can cause many skin issues, mostly melasma.
4. Specific drugs
Certain medications are known to cause dark skin patches on the face. These medications could be antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-seizure drugs. In addition, they increase the melanin levels in the skin, causing skin discoloration and uneven skin tone.
Treating dark patches with lifestyle changes
1. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun
If you want to protect your skin from sun damage, you should wear your SPF daily. UV rays may damage the skin’s cellular structure and lead to dark skin on the face. You should thus use well-formulated sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or more.
It is recommended to include antioxidants in your diet to boost cells’ ability to fight against the damage caused by free radicals. So add colorful, bright antioxidant-rich food like grapes, green veggies, bell peppers, and berries to your diet. These foods are said to tackle skin concerns like uneven patches, skin discoloration, and hyperpigmentation.
Stress can manifest as dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and signs of premature aging on the skin. There are a few proven ways to manage stress levels, such as physical exercise, yoga, and reading. We advise practicing yoga daily and dedicating your time to things that make you content. Mindfulness brings changes to your skin.
Precautions can you take to avoid UV rays
- Always wear sunscreen with broader sun protection, like SPF 30 or more.
- Always wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses when stepping outside in sunny hours.
- Avoid sun rays between 10 am to 2 pm. This is the time when sun rays are direct.
- Along with sunglasses and hats, we suggest you wear a scarf to cover your head.
- If you are worried about reapplication, consider SPF spray that can easily spritz.
To get an even skin complexion, it is important to focus on skin hygiene. Besides a thorough cleansing, exfoliation is critical for every skin type. Pollutants and makeup residue penetrate the skin easily, adding to the impurities trapped in skin pores. Regular exfoliation with a safe and gentle face scrub helps renew the underlying skin cells.
Tip: You should exfoliate your skin once or twice every week.
Even out the skin’s texture
You can look up some ingredients that promote healthy skin functioning. For example, we recommend using Retinol and vitamin C to lighten dark patches and hyperpigmentation. Using vitamin C-based products efficiently curbs melanin production and encourages cell regeneration. Retinol offers anti-aging benefits too. So, give these ingredients a try to have an even skin complexion.
Brightens your appearance
While treating hyperpigmentation or dark patches on the skin, you should be mindful of a few things. First, apart from cleansing and exfoliation, focus on brightening up your skin tone. Dullness, if left unattended, can lead to an uneven texture and multiple layers of dead skin cells. Thus, it is vital to have brightening agents such as Mulberry Extract, Turmeric, Squalene, Vitamin C, etc., in your skincare products.
You can opt for Mamaearth Ubtan Face Mask to brighten your skin tone and diminish pesky hyperpigmentation on the skin. Made with the traditional goodness of Ubtan, this De-tan Face Pack helps remove tan and gives your skin an even tone.
Pro tip: Use a sulfate-free face wash with ingredients like vitamin C before you apply your moisturizer.
Chemical procedures to lighten hyperpigmentation
Whether hyperpigmentation or dark patches on the skin, it is possible to lighten them through chemical peels or laser treatment. In addition, you may try microdermabrasion to achieve better results.
1. Chemical peel
The procedure of chemical peels involves peeling off the skin’s epidermis, enabling newer skin to stimulate. This therapy aims to eliminate the amount of melanin from the skin, thus reducing the dark spots and patches.
2. Laser pigmentation:
Through Laser Pigmentation, the laser targets lesions in the skin. During the process, it ensures to cause no harm to the skin around. To be precise, this skin procedure is completely safe, giving visible results on dark patches on the skin.
3. Intense Pulse Light (IPL):
IPL is an effective treatment that involves heating the pigment and lifting the damaged area to the skin’s surface. It removes the damaged areas or discolored skin through the process safely and exfoliates the skin to stimulate the newer skin underneath.
Known to be one of the most chosen pigmentation treatments, it is common among people looking to eliminate unwanted pigments from the skin. The success of treatment purely depends on the individual’s skin texture and tolerance.
Apart from these factors, following a targeted skin care regimen is important. Skin conditions like dark patches or hyperpigmentation can easily creep up back by forming a few tiny spots on the skin. It is thus imperative to take thorough care of your skin and understand your treatment.
Ingredients that help control the formation of hyperpigmentation
Topical treatments are considered effective solutions for dark patches on the skin. So, if you want to add face gel, moisturizer, or serums to your skincare, there are some ingredients you can give a try. These ingredients are highly effective for hyperpigmentation, age spots, and dark spots on the skin.
- Vitamin C
- Mulberry extract
- Kojic acid
- Azelaic acid
- Retinoids, such as tretinoin.
- Licorice Extracts
Our bestsellers: Skincare Products that Help Reduce Hyperpigmentation
1. Bye Bye Blemishes Face Cream
If you are seeking a topical solution to fade the appearance of dark patches, this product can help. This safe and gentle face cream is crafted with a lightweight formula that gives optimum skin care without being harsh on the epidermis. In addition, it is a rich blend of powerful ingredients like Mulberry Extracts, Vitamin C, and Daisy Flower Extracts.
These ingredients nourish the skin tissues, help lighten the dark patches, and raise the moisture level in the skin. In addition, it is dermatologically tested and can be used on oily, normal, dry, combination, and sensitive skin.
Note: It is better to use a face toner before you put on moisturizer. It would help balance the skin’s pH level and soothe the skin after cleansing.
2. Retinol Face Serum
Let Retinol be your savior if your dark patches have resulted from premature skin aging or lack of care. Owing to the anti-aging ingredients, this face serum helps reduce dark spots, lighten scars and blemishes, and defy dryness. So we have brought you a fine league of a retinol face serum enriched with Cottonseed oil, Bakuchi, Linseed oil, and Retinol.
The formulation works well to moisturize deeper skin cells while hydrating and repairing the uppermost layer of the skin. In addition, it boosts collagen, calms skin’ sensitivity, and improves elasticity.
3. Ultra-Light Indian Sunscreen
Do you want long-term protection from UV damage and environmental stressors? Then, sunscreens are the best products you can keep clinging to all your life. Besides protecting from UVA/UVB rays, it works well to delay aging.
Try our Ultra Light Indian Sunscreen that gives you optimum protection without creating any white cast on the skin. It is packed with Carrot seed oil, Turmeric, and Orange oil that promise nourishment and protection. With PA +++ and SPF 50, it assures complete protection from UV rays.
Dark patches heal in the majority of cases. However, bearing its effects and managing them is an overwhelming job. They can take massive forms if left untreated. Whatever skincare goal you are chasing, remember to remain hydrated and consistent with your routine. If you notice any signs of dark patches on the skin or discoloration, treat it without delay.
At Mamaearth, we have a product range that uses natural science to care for your skin needs. From cleansers and serums to face moisturizers, we have remained true to our promise of providing gentler solutions for multiple skin concerns. So, know the root cause of your skin concerns and find a dedicated skincare solution accordingly.
Then, roll up your sleeves and ride your skincare journey with gentler approaches and the right practices.
- Why is the skin around the mouth dark?
There are several reasons that cause dark skin around the mouth, and hyperpigmentation is said to be one of the leading reasons. Hyperpigmentation, however, often results from inflamed skin cells, excessive smoking and sun exposure, dehydration, and emotional stress. In addition, the unbalanced melanin level in the skin gives rise to darker patches around the mouth than the rest of the skin.
- Why is skin color dark?
Melanin is a pigment that gives color to your skin and hair. It is produced by the skin cells called melanocytes. These skin cells can become abnormal and cause excessive skin color darkening in certain conditions. The latter may include prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays, long-term medications, inadequate nourishment, a lack of moisturization, or improper sleep cycles.
- How to remove dark spots on the face?
Removing dark spots on the face isn't an overnight process. If you seek instant results for stubborn dark spots, you may seek a cosmetic treatment like chemical peels. However, if your dark spots result from a lack of care, you may add products enriched with ingredients like kojic acid, vitamin C, Turmeric, Retinol, Mulberry Extracts, Bakuchi Oil, Licorice Extracts, etc.
It is also vital to take care of your overall health if you want your skin to glow from within. Also, we recommend going for an expert opinion to know the root cause of the dark spots on your face and get treatment accordingly.
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