I have encountered people who just shrug off tiny face discoloration as freckles, but after it gets a bit worse, you can tell that it is more than that.
Human skin contains melanocyte cells that produce melanin, a pigment found in the skin, hair and eyes, through a process called melanogenesis. Too much melanin leads to hyperpigmented skin, common examples of which include freckles and age spots
Hyperpigmentation, or darkening, can be a result of any type of skin trauma—a breakout, a bug bite, or even an area you scratched or picked a few times. That, and exposure to the sun. Skin often releases color in response to injury, and it can take months for the color to fade. Thankfully, there are tools to expedite the fading.
While hyperpigmentation is not a serious medical condition, you may want to seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. There are also home remedies like applying any of the following topically to help to lighten dark areas of the skin:
- Rose hip oil
- Sliced, pureed or the juice of cucumber
- Lemon juice
- Aloe Vera
For persistent challenges it will be good to seek medical treatment that will first be determined by identifying the different types of hyperpigmentation and give you ideas for lifestyle changes you can make to prevent further discoloration from occurring.
After identifying the course prescription for a topical application can be administered, which is a set of applications containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids, which exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin, are helpful in treating hyperpigmentation of all types.
If topical treatments don’t work, a dermatologist might recommend getting a procedure done to target your hyperpigmentation. Available procedures include the following:
- Skin peels, including salicylic acid peels, to treat darkened skin areas. Skin peels are used when topical therapy fails.
- IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy. These target selective dark spots only. IPL devices are used under strict supervision under a trained physician.
- Laser skin resurfacing.
Written by: Dr Pranav Pancholi
Dr Pancholi is a qualified Skin dermatologist practicing as a cosmetic dermato-surgeon at Avane Dermatology Clinic, located at Yaya Center Nairobi.