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Pigmentation refers to the colouring of the skin. It is a result of the production and distribution of melanin. Skin pigmentation depends on the number, size, texture, and shape of melanocytes. Two types of pigmentations can come into being – hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation refers to darkening an area of skin or nails due to the excessive concentration of melanin in those areas. It often occurs due to specific triggers such as inflammation, acne, injury, sun exposure, etc. Depigmentation refers to loss or decrease in skin colour usually caused by destruction or absence of melanocyte cells present beneath the top layer (epidermis), which produces melanin resulting in lighter patches on skin surfaces. Hypopigmentation may be due to the destruction of melanocytes or due to a decrease in their activity.
What are types of skin pigmentation disorders?
Many skin pigmentation disorders are due to over or under or production of melanin; these are:
Melasma is also known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy” and is a common disorder characterized by symmetrical, hyperpigmented macules on sun-exposed areas, particularly the face. This condition generally affects middle-aged women but can affect men as well.
Albinism is a rare inherited disorder caused by the genetically determined absence of melanin pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. A white forelock may also characterize it. The incidence varies from 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 70,000 worldwide.
It is a condition that causes depigmentation of patches of the skin resulting from loss or lack of melanocytes responsible for producing melanin pigment leading to pale white patches on different parts of the body such as the face, neck, hands, etc. This can occur due to the autoimmune destruction of melanocytes. Still, it does not have any adverse effects on general health or other organ systems through people with dark complexion undergo psychological stress with depigmented patches of skin.
- Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation:
Inflammation of skin following injury or inflammation may result in a temporary increase in pigmentation, which generally fades over time. This type of pigmentation is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is more common among dark-skinned persons due to their increased risk for sun exposure. The darker your skin, the more pigment will be retained by your body after an injury, resulting in discoloration that takes much longer to fade away.
- Addison’s disease:
It is a condition characterized by loss of pigmentation, especially under the arms and between thighs, due to autoimmune dysfunction of adrenal glands.
It is a condition characterized by the accumulation of yellow pigments called carotenoids in the tissues, especially under the skin surface, which may sometimes be accompanied by jaundice.
Melanoma is a severe form of skin cancer, often life-threatening, and it is associated with loss of pigmentation due to the destruction of melanocytes present beneath the epidermis. Usually, there are no early symptoms, but changes in existing moles or the development of new ones can indicate melanoma.
Some birthmarks (nevus) are permanent, while others will fade over time. Some of the common birthmarks include café au lait spots, Mongolian spots, and congenital nevi. A Mongolian spot looks like a bluish-grey or purplish raised bruise under the skin on buttocks, back, etc., and these usually fade after one year though they may persist lifelong. While some may lose colour with age, other marks such as congenital nevi will remain unchanged throughout life.
What is the cause of skin pigmentation disorders?
Skin pigmentation disorders can be caused due to:
- Genetic factors such as albinism and melasma are also called the ‘mask of pregnancy or chloasma.
- Changes in hormones levels such as Addison’s disease are found in females.
- Intake of certain drugs such as anti-tuberculosis agents and contraceptives.
- Exposure to the sun for prolonged periods.
- Injury to skin and inflammation following it, which leads to pigmented patches on the face, neck, arms, etc
- Hereditary conditions like melanoma.
How do dermatologists or skin doctors treat different types of skin pigments?
1) Treatment for melasma includes topical bleaching creams containing hydroquinone along with tretinoin and corticosteroids. Other treatments include chemical peeling, microdermabrasion, etc.
2) Treatment for chloasma includes avoiding exposure to the sun, bleaching creams containing hydroquinone along with tretinoin and corticosteroids; other treatments include chemical peeling (glycolic acid), laser therapy (PDT or Nd YAG), etc. While creams are preferred during pregnancy, laser treatment is avoided as it has side effects on both foetus and mother.
3) For some spots, topical tretinoin 0.1% cream can be used twice daily for several months or chemical peels done but only after five years.
4) Treatment for Addison’s disease includes topical steroids (hydrocortisone cream), oral corticosteroids, ultraviolet light exposure (UVA or PUVA), and other drug treatments.
5) For skin pigmentation due to birthmarks like café-au lait spots, laser therapy using Nd YAG laser is preferred twice monthly until the desired results are achieved.
6) Treatment for carotenemia includes avoiding the intake of carrots, tomatoes, etc., which are rich in beta-carotene. Other measures include exposure to the sun to produce more melanin by your body to mask the yellowish pigments.
7) Treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation includes vitamin C supplements, chemical peels, fading creams, etc.
What are the ways to prevent skin pigmentation suggested by skin doctors?
1) Avoid exposure to direct sunlight by wearing hats, sunglasses and covering yourself with a scarf.
2) Wear sunscreen lotion of SPF minimum 15 or higher.
3) Intake of vitamin C supplements though not proved effective in preventing this condition, so doctors usually advise against it.
4) While some birthmarks cannot be prevented, avoidance of exposure to direct sunlight can prevent pigmentation.
5) While some birthmarks cannot be prevented, prevention of injury to the skin using sunscreen lotion can help reduce hyperpigmentation issues.
What are some home remedies for the prevention of skin pigmentation?
The leaves of Indian gooseberry or amla treat melasma as it contains vitamin C that acts as a bleach to reduce pigmentation. It also contains antioxidants that help maintain a healthy skin tone. Crush 5-6 dried amla pieces and mix in 1 of honey before use twice daily.
It is said that turmeric contains curcumin which helps clear the cancer-causing free radicals on the skin. It also helps reduce pigmentation, maintain a healthy skin tone and promote new cell growth by reducing inflammation on the skin. Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with two tablespoons of raw milk or rose water to form a paste that can be used on your face for 20 minutes daily before taking a bath.
Rubbing fresh tomato juice on the affected area of your skin is said to reduce pigmentation. The ingredient that helps remove dark spots present in tomatoes, lycopene, also acts as a sunscreen and absorbs UV rays, thus preventing melanin from reaching the deeper layers of our skin where it causes pigmentation.
Salicylic acid promotes the shedding of dead cells from your, makes room for new cell growth underneath. It also prevents clogging of pores and reduces acne breakouts. Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and honey with two teaspoons each of salicylic acid and water. Apply the paste on your face regularly for 20 minutes; this will help brighten up your skin tone.
Aloe Vera Gel:
The anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe Vera help treat dark spots caused due to hormonal imbalances. Its antioxidants reduce inflammation, thus preventing pigmentation, while its astringents close open pores, allowing new cell growth for smooth, blemish-free skin.
Green Tea Extract:
Green tea contains antioxidants that help fade pigmentation. Use the extract of green tea on your face and leave it overnight. Rinse with cold water in the morning and pat dry. Green tea can also be consumed orally for better results. Green tea is also rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect the skin from pigmentation problems.
Raw milk is said to contain lactic acid that helps reduce dark pigmentation. Apply raw milk to the affected area and leave it on for 20 minutes before taking a bath.
It is an effective treatment to remove dead skin cells and treat hyperpigmentation as it contains citric acid, which has bleaching properties. Mix rose water with lemon juice and paste the two ingredients; apply this on your face for 15-20 minutes daily until your pigmentation fades away.
Almond oil can help treat hyperpigmentation as it contains Vitamin A, E, and fatty acids, which replenish hydration levels of dry skin while removing old cell debris from the surface. Almond oil also promotes new cell growth and protects skin from external influences that can lead to hyperpigmentation.
It is said that lemon contains citric acid, which helps remove dark pigmentation. Use the juice of half a lemon, mix it in 1 teaspoon of honey, and apply it on your face for 15 minutes daily until you notice an improvement in your skin tone.
Rosehip oil contains Vitamin C, which acts as a natural bleach by removing dead cells from the skin’s surface while increasing collagen production to improve elasticity and maintain healthy, smooth facial skin. It also contains Vitamin A, which improves blood circulation to reduce acne breakouts and prevent further blemishes on the skin.
These are some home remedies that can help reduce pigmentation on the skin. Avoid using chemical-based creams and lotions, as these may lead to further darkening of your skin! Whereas you can also consider using the homeopathic treatment for skin pigmentation.
How is homeopathic treatment effective for skin pigmentation?
Homeopathy is the treatment of various skin problems with natural medicines rather than synthetic chemicals. These medicines are prepared from plants, minerals, venomous substances, or even animal sources. The philosophy behind this unique form of medication involves treating the patient with diluted substances that stimulate the body’s defence mechanism to heal itself naturally.
Homeopathic remedies for pigmentation:
There are several types of homeopathic remedies available in the market, like the Rubrum corneum, Selengiaustilago, Sulphur, mercury, etc., which act against hyperpigmentation effectively when applied regularly. They work by repairing damaged collagen fibres around pores, thus resulting in smooth, elastic, and blemish-free skin texture.
What are the benefits of using the homeopathic treatment for skin pigmentation?
The homeopathic treatment for pigmentation is generally free from side effects. The ingredients used in these medicines are natural, making them safe to use without the fear of any harmful effects. Homeopathy helps treat various skin problems naturally rather than using synthetic chemicals that can damage your skin on a long-term basis.
- Homeopathy is effective against skin pigmentation conditions of all types, and it ranges from mild to severe cases. If you have a problem related to pigmentation or spots on your skin, then there is no harm in trying out this highly effective form of medication!
- A homeopath specialist will suggest some best remedy treatments for hyperpigmentation according to your health and body conditions.
- The first thing that a homeopath will do is to take the detailed case history of the patient for better understanding and then prepare a study or analysis of the hyperpigmented skin areas. The homeopathic doctor will prescribe some medicines according to your mental, emotional and physical condition.
- Homeopathy medicines can be taken orally or topically after consultation with your homeopathy doctor. The oral medication may be tablets, syrup, granules, or pellets, whereas topical application includes ointments and creams spread over to the affected areas.
- Homeopathy has no side effects as it’s a pure herbal treatment. If you are serious about treating the acne mark on your face, try this natural treatment to remove it forever! Need help with skin Pigmentation? Book an appointment with a registered homeopathy doctor through OHO homeopathy doctor now!
After homeopathy treatment, the pigmentation will gradually fade away, and in most cases, the affected individual has reported a significant improvement. Thus, Homeopathic treatments for Hyperpigmentation are best than other skin treatments. We can also be stated that there is no side effect of this medication and it’s safe to use without any harmful effects.