NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HYPERPIGMENTATION
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition among women. It is also known as melasma, liver spots, age spots or sun spots. Pigment, or melanin, is a brown substance that is created by specialized pigment cells. Under the influence of UV radiation the production of melanin increases, which results in a darker skin tone. When this process is disrupted, hyperpigmentation may arise.
The main cause of hyperpigmentation is the sun. Therefore, it often appears on parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face and the hands. Hormonal changes (pregnancy, birth control, menopause), heredity, skin injuries (acne, abrasions, insect bites), aging, stress, diabetes and medications can also cause or deteriorate hyperpigmentation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Hyperpigmentation can be treated with laser therapy, bleaching creams, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. However, these treatments carry the risk of causing thin or damaged skin.
There are several natural remedies available to fade hyperpigmentation. Below we discuss four effective natural remedies.
1. ROSEHIP OIL
Dr. B. Pareja and Dr. Horst Kehl found that the application of rosehip oil causes sun spots to disappear almost completely. They selected for their research 20 women between the age of 25 and 35, who spend the summer in resorts by the sea or who go to the beach every day. The selected subjects suffered from sun damage in the form of surface wrinkles and brown spots. After 3 weeks of applying rosehip oil the wrinkles began to disappear and the spots started to fade. At the end of the fourth month the brown spots had almost disappeared.
2. VITAMIN C AND E
Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that play an important role in the healing process, growth and the repair of the skin. Various studies have shown that topical use of these vitamins can help fade hyperpigmentation. In a study of the Hospital of China Medical University twenty Chinese women were treated on one side of the face with a serum containing 23.8% L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Sixteen of twenty women showed an improvement of 2-3 degrees of pigmentation, roughness and fine lines after two weeks. A study of the University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico demonstrated that a cream containing 5% ascorbic acid improves melasma with 62.5%. According to research published in Acta Vitaminol Enzymol, a combination treatment of vitamin C and E shows better results with melasma than vitamin C alone.
3. CASTOR OIL
Castor oil, also known as ricinus oil, is an anti-inflammatory agent and has been used for centuries for therapeutic purposes. It ensures a quick recovery of the skin, because it is able to penetrate deep into the skin layers. Apply the castor oil in the morning and evening to the dark spots and leave it on for one hour. Then, rinse off with lukewarm water.
Coriander is a herb that helps wounds heal faster and detoxify the body from heavy metals. In India, coriander tea is recommended for hyperpigmentation. This tea helps to remove toxins from the body and is great for balancing hormones. Soak two teaspoons of coriander seeds in a glass for eight hours. After soaking, boil the water with the seeds.until it is reduced to half its original volume. Then throw away the seeds and drink the remaining liquid.
It is recommended to combine coriander with chlorella. Coriander mobilizes toxins in the body. Chlorella binds the toxins and then removes them from the body via the stool. Do not use this remedy for more than six weeks and avoid use in pregnancy and while nursing.
WATER AND A BALANCED DIET
Besides the already mentioned natural remedies, it is important to drink plenty of water and follow a balanced diet. Studies published in the Archives of Dermatology and the British Medical Journal suggest that a folic acid deficiency may lead to hyperpigmentation. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills often have a folic acid deficiency. Foods that contain a lot of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, citrus fruits and nuts.
Unfortunately, hyperpigmentation does not fade in a week. You need to have a lot of patience and persistence, but the above mentioned remedies will finally pay off.
- Klimis-Zacas D. Wolinsky I., (2003) Nutritional Concerns of Women, Second Edition, CRC Press; Boca Raton, FL, USA