By: Dr. Nivedita Dadu
Skin pigmentation refers to the color of the skin. Skin pigmentation or dark patches are a common issue amongst both males & females wherein the skin becomes darker often in patches. Hence, one gets uneven skin tone. The main cause for skin pigmentation is overproduction of the brown pigment called melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the color of the skin and is made by melanocyte cells in the skin.
Skin Rashes like rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, contact dermatitis; Skin Infections such as acne, ringworm, tinea versicolor, candidiasis, Medical Conditions, and Hormonal Changes due to pregnancy can cause the formation of skin pigmentation and dark patches.
Certain external factors and medication can also cause dark patches or skin pigmentation. UV rays are the biggest cause that trigger the overproduction of melanin. However, the damage caused by UV rays is not visible immediately, it will be visible over a period of time.
Hyperpigmentation is generally harmless but can sometimes be caused by an underlying medical condition. Therefore, it is advised to consult a qualified dermatologist if someone is facing skin pigmentation problems.
There are several types of skin pigmentation such as Age Spots Or Solar Lentiginosis (Liver Spots), Melasma Or Chloasma, Freckles (Ephelides) and Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
The following are some tips and home remedies one can follow to get rid of skin pigmentation and dark patches:
- Apply sunscreen every day at least 15-20 minutes before heading out in the sun as it need some time to get absorbed in the skin. Reapply sunscreen after every 4 hours or use physical sunscreen as it provides protection for long duration. This is the most important step towards preventing and treating skin pigmentation.
- Apple cider vinegar contains polyphenolic compounds that are beneficial in managing pigmentation. One can apply it daily.
- Take oral supplements like Vitamin C or glutathione. These can boost the skin’s resilience to the UV rays of sun.
- Potatoes are known for their anti-pigmentation properties. It can work quite well on pigmented areas and blemishes. For this, cut a potato into half and dip the sliced part into water. Rub the potato slice on the affected areas in a circular motion for about 10 minutes. Wash off the face with lukewarm water. Repeat this procedure twice or thrice in a week to get rid of dark patches of the skin.
- Choose products containing alpha hydroxy acid as it is good for reducing pigmentation.
- Apply black tea water on the skin. For this soak a cotton ball in black tea water and apply it on the pigmented skin at least twice a day.
- Dried skin of red onions is very good for reducing skin pigmentation and dark patches. So, look for products that contain extract of red onion and apply them on the skin.
- Coconut oil helps to remove the dead skin cells and also protects it from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Take a few drops of coconut oil and massage it well so that it penetrates deep down the skin’s layers. Leave the oil on the skin for about 20-25 minutes so that it gets absorbed. Wash the face and repeat this method thrice in a week.
- Sandalwoodis great for the skin as it helps to lighten pigmentation spots. Mix sandalwood and rose water to make a paste. Apply this paste on the face and leave for about 15-20 minutes. When it dries rinse it with lukewarm water.
If the pigmentation and dark patches are not going away despite the home remedies, then one should consult a dermatologist to get it clinically checked and treated.
The writer is a renowned Dermatologist, Founder & Chairman of Dr. Nivedita Dadu’s Dermatology Clinic (https://www.drniveditadadu.com/)