Darkened skin, or hyperpigmentation, is the appearance of a patch of skin that has become darker than the surrounding area. This happens because of the over production of melanin, a pigment normally found in the skin that contributes to the color of our skin and hair. It also serves a protective function to the skin, often protecting our skin cells from further sun damage.
So how does hyperpigmentation happen? There are several causes of hyperpigmentation. In a lot of cases, it can be simply genetic. Some people and their families genetically have darkness under the eyes and around the lips (both are areas of the face that are extremely sensitive). Dark spots or age spots are also a type of hyperpigmentation. It is caused by the accumulation of melanin through years of sun exposure. Hormonal change, like in pregnancy or while using birth control pills, can also cause hyperpigmentation. Other than that, any type of damage or trauma to the skin can cause hyperpigmentation.
What is the best way to deal with dark skin and uneven skin tone brought about by hyperpigmentation and other causes? Read on to find out.
Consider Taking Glutathione Supplements
Glutathione is the body’s most powerful anti-oxidant. In a 2004 study authored by Balendiran et.al published in the journal Cell Biochemistry and Function the authors noted that glutathione is crucial in the removal and detoxification of carcinogens and may play a huge role in protecting the cell from both cancer and chemotherapy. Aside from being a really powerful anti-oxidant, a side effect of glutathione is smooth skin and an even skin tone. In some cases, after prolonged use, it can even significantly whiten the skin.
Glutathione works by disrupting the pathway of melanin synthesis. So instead of producing darker pigments (eumelanin) the cell now produces lighter pigments (pheomelanin). This can lead to a lighter and more even complexion. Glutathione however works better when administered orally (supplement) or through the bloodstream (IV-insertion) so skin brightening creams that claim to have the anti-oxidant might not be too effective.
6 Natural Ways to Brighten Your Skin Complexion:
Exfoliate Regularly...But Not Too Often
Like all skin cells, skin cells with an increased amount of melanin in them will eventually have to slough off to make way for newer skin cells. As we age, the process of skin renewal slows down so you may have to assist the process mechanically once in a while. Aim to exfoliate your skin (face and body) once to twice a week but never more than that.
Mechanical exfoliation, as you do with exfoliating beads and loofahs, can leave the skin quite raw if done too often. Technically, that counts as skin trauma and abrasion which could lead to even more hyperpigmentation.
Use Soap with Gentle Fruit Acids
Another way to combat skin darkness and uneven skin tone is to use soaps with gentle fruit acids. These acids are gentle enough to use every day and will only cause microdermabrasion (so you aren’t peeling huge chunks of skin like a shedding snake). This is still a kind of exfoliation but it’s one you can do every day without having to worry about further skin discoloration.
Use Glycolic Acid Creams to Combat Dark Spots
This is a god-send for dark underarms and inguinal areas. Chaffing in these areas can cause skin darkening and a great way to treat that is by using glycolic acid creams. Glycolic acid hastens skin renewal by accelerating cell turn-over. StriVectin has a glycolic acid product. You can read more StriVectin reviews if you’re interested.
UV light works as a catalyst for the productive of melanin by melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). So the more exposed you are to UV rays, the more melanin is being produced. If you suffer from skin discoloration, especially in often exposed areas like the face, neck, arms and legs, you should apply sunscreen diligently before heading out.