Do & Don'ts of Hyper-pigmentation
Hyper-pigmentation is a common skin condition where patches of skin become darker due to the over production of melanin. Although hyper-pigmentation occurs in all races it is most prominent and visible in people of color due to the presence of more melanin. These patches are usually found on the face, hands and other due to exposure to the sun.
The DOs and DONTs of Hyper-pigmentation
Ever since I started focusing more on my skincare regime, my hyper-pigmentation has gotten exponentially better. However, the battle continues. As someone who has tried it all, here’s what has worked for me, and what has generated wasted money and/or time.
DO: use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. What? Black people and sunscreen? YES! Don’t let anyone convince you that your melanin excludes you from the population of people who need UV protection. Darker skin needs protection against sun damage, and by not using sunblock darker spot are vulnerable to further discoloration. Many types of skincare products for hyper-pigmentation make the skin even more sensitive to sun damage. Slather it on, friends.
DON’T: throw random kitchen ingredients on your face. Now, I am all for natural remedies and a holistic approach to my skincare woes but please be aware that when you are frantically trying to solve a problem, especially one you have been stressing over for a long time like hyper-pigmentation, rational thinking isn’t exactly easy. I once had a cousin tell me to put lime all over my face to even my skin tone. Another friend told me baking soda and lemon juice dabbed on the spots would take care of everything. Those solutions may be viable, but please fact check, fact check, then triple fact check.
DO: try to see a dermatologist (who has a similar skin tone to you if you can find one). Its tough to treat hyper-pigmentation so if you are still dealing with the acne breakouts that cause them. Acne has different causes so having someone with a medical license figure out where yours is stemming from could be helpful. With that said, do take their advice/prescriptions with a grain of salt. Medical professionals are not perfect, and neither are their solutions. Some prescriptions come with risks or sacrifices. One dermatologist (who did have dark skin) prescribed me hydroquinone cream. It did work, technically, but it bleached little halos around all my dark spots which only made them more noticeable. It also left my skin very fragile, so I had to wear a hat any time, and I mean ANY time the sun could touch my skin. It made for an amusing summer.
DON’T: pay a MedSpa to treat you, the money they charge for their services is obscene and their services could be hazardous, don’t let the “med” in the name fool you! Often, med spas offer solutions to dark-skinned individuals that are not necessarily effective on dark skin. Same goes for estheticians (people who perform facials), they don’t have the proper medical licenses or training, and their establishments are often less regulated than nail salons.
DO: we know its cliche but make sure to exfoliate regularly, drink more water, eat foods that nourish your skin, and remember to be patient. The most challenging part of my battle with hyper-pigmentation was the unrealistic expectations I had set for how my skin should behave. It takes patience and diligent care to get your skin where you want it to be.
Disclaimer: It is always important to do you own research and consult with a doctor. What works for some might not work for all, these are some basic tips that helped Elle combat her battle with hyper-pigmentation.