While we might like animal spots on an expensive fur coat, we will most certainly not like any spots on our face or any part of the body for that matter. However, the human body is extremely complex and it is often hard to gauge when something might go wrong with it. For instance, if you start seeing spots on your skin, it could be hyperpigmentation, which is an indication that not all is well within your body. Hyperpigmentation is a condition, wherein there is too much melanin production in the body and this leads to the appearance of spots on the body.

Even though hyperpigmentation is not a completely uncommon condition, the appearance of the same does worry the person suffering from it. In addition, hyperpigmentation is generally not a life threatening condition, but the fact that it mars your physical appearance and hence your confidence is what causes the main problem.

What is great about hyperpigmentation is that treating it is actually quite simple and there are several natural and medical methods of treating the same. Let’s look at some of the natural methods first:

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits such as lemon, lime and orange are known to work really well to reduce pigmentation. Because citrus is a bleaching agent, it will be able to reduce the pigmentation naturally and it can also hydrate your skin from within, making it healthier. Fruits such as lemon also have antioxidant properties, which can protect your skin from UV damage and lighten skin tone. Combine lemon juice with organic honey and apply to washed and dried skin, washing it off again after about 15-20 minutes. Similarly, lemon or lime juice can be used to create a paste with pure turmeric powder. This paste should be applied to clean skin, kept for about 20 minutes and then washed off. The procedure should be repeated every night, before you go to bed. Dry orange peels and keep them stored, because the powder of the peel, when mixed with lemon juice, milk and honey, makes for a wonderful solution for hyperpigmentation.

Vegetables

There are also certain vegetables which can help with pigmentation related issues. For instance, the humble potato can work wonders for your spots and blemishes – there is an enzyme called catecholase, which inhibits the melanocytes present in the body and reduce excessive melanin production. All you need to do is wash and cut a potato in half and add a few drops of water to it. Then rub the potato in circular motions onto the affected areas and then rinse off after about 10 minutes. You can do the same direct rubbing on the affected areas with a halved red onion too and this too needs to be washed off with warm water after 10 minutes or so. A combination of equal parts of cucumber juice, honey and lemon juice can be applied to make your skin look clearer and remove blemishes and dark spots. All these procedures need to be done a minimum of twice a day, for the results to start becoming visible.

Other natural cures

There are also other natural agents that can help with the reduction of pigmentation and apple cider vinegar happens to be one of them. All you need to do is dilute a little apple cider vinegar with some water and apply it to the affected areas, leaving it to work its magic for a few minutes. ACV not only has astringent properties, but the beta carotene in it can also fight the effect of the free radicals. Similarly, aloevera too can work really well for hyperpigmentation – combine fresh aloe gel with raw honey and apply to the affected areas. The mix needs to be washed off after 20 minutes and the procedure needs to be done daily for a about 15 days.

Now, depending on the method of diagnosis of pigmentation, there is a chance that your doctor might suggest medical methods. Some of the popular medical methods include:

Acids and peels

Face acids and chemical peels both work on a similar concept – a corrosive material is applied to the skin and this leads to abrasion on the superficial layer of the skin. When the top layer of the skin gets corroded away, the body automatically signals repair and healing and this leads to clearer and smoother skin emerging. Acids such as alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid are commonly used for facial peels. Chemical peels are often of a stronger concentration and they can help reduce deeper hyperpigmentation.

Retinoids

Derived from vitamin A, retinoids have been used for skin care since long, and this is because the molecular structure allows for the deeper penetration into the skin. This means that the retinoids are able to treat from deep within the skin, as opposed to simply treating the superficial layers. While retinoids are considered safe for all skin types, it would be wise to talk to a doctor before using, even the over the counter versions.

Laser and light

Both laser and light based therapies can be used to treat hyperpigmentation, but both can be done only under the guidance and expertise of a professional. Ablative and non-ablative lasers are used for removing skin layers and the former often prove to be stronger. Non-ablative lasers improve collagen production, leading to firmer and smoother skin. Intense pulse light therapy or IPL is a non-ablative method and as mentioned before is meant more for collagen production improvement. Although this procedure is used to treat hyperpigmentation, it works better for flat spots.

Dermabrasion

There are two versions of this procedure – dermabrasion and microdermabrasion, but both have the same foundation. Both procedures will use some form of abrasion, which will remove the top layer of the skin, revealing better looking skin underneath. Both these procedures will use handheld tools, which will remove the superficial layer of the skin, instigating the body to kick into natural action and heal the skin from within. Both the procedures need to be done under proper supervision, which is why they should be done at a clinic.

The first step towards treating hyperpigmentation is diagnosing it properly and then charting out a proper course of treatment.

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