Let’s discuss one of life’s greatest annoyances: hyperpigmentation.
First, what is it? Hyperpigmentation is a fancy name for spots or areas of the skin that are darker than the rest. Think freckles, sunspots, and post-acne marks. Sunspots and freckles are the result of, you guessed it, sun exposure. UV damage causes melanin to pool in the upper layers of the skin.
Post-acne marks, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, occur when excess melanin is produced and deposited into the cells of the skin in response to acne inflammation. And the worst part? These spots tend to stick around and may not even resolve on their own without a little help.
So what can you do?
For starters, you have to think in terms of lifting the excess melanin up and out. By sloughing off dead skin cells through exfoliation, you are kick-starting your skin’s renewal process and moving pretty, healthy, perfectly pigmented skin cells to the surface! Reduction or elimination of dark spots can be effectively achieved through many means, so don’t feel limited to a certain method.
The important thing is to find an ingredient or ritual that you like and stick with it! Remember that fading hyperpigmentation is a gradual process.
Now let’s dig in:
1. Manual Exfoliation
I covered the basics of exfoliation above, but to recap: Physical exfoliation essentially triggers your skin to start repairing itself. Over time, fresh, new cells make their way to the surface while old, pigmented, dulling cells are exfoliated away. Many individuals advocate a once- or twice-a-week exfoliating ritual, but as you know, I’m not much for hard and fast rules. I’m a fan of exfoliating every day, especially if you have acne-prone skin. But your skin is your own and you will discover what works for you!
Try these all-natural DIY ways to exfoliate.
2. Fruit Enzymes
Think of fruit enzymes as a form of gentle, non-abrasive exfoliation. Fruit enzymes soften and effectively exfoliate delicate skin helping to fade dark spots and dissolve dulling dead skin cells. A few to look for include papaya seed oil, pineapple enzyme, apple fruit extract, and pumpkin extract.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C (used topically in a serum) is a bit of an overachiever when it comes to hyperpigmentation. Its antioxidant properties help to prevent dark spots from forming in the first place, and it also lightens surface pigmentation caused by UV damage and acne inflammation. I consider it an indispensable part of my routine, and you should too!
4. Essential Oils
Often overlooked and entirely undervalued, certain essential oils harness crazy healing power. Frankincense, geranium, rose, helichrysum, and lavender are exceptionally adept at fading marks, diminishing scars, and generally reducing inflammation. In fact, helichrysum contains the highest known amount of beta diketones, which are reputed to promote the formation of new tissue. Consider me impressed.
This is by no means an exhaustive list! The above are just a few of my favorite natural hyperpigmentation-fading solutions in a sea crowded with retinol, hydroxy acids, and the dreaded hydroquinone. Now go forth and fade those annoying spots!
This post was adapted from the author's site, seedtoserum.com.