Hyperpigmentation refers to areas of skin with an excess melanin production, causing skin patches which appear darker than the surrounding area. It is a common occurrence and most of us have experienced hyperpigmentation at some point of life or the other. Though this condition is usually harmless, but it creates unpleasant appearance.
WHAT IS HYPERPIGMENTATION
Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin issues and is caused by the excess production of melanin which causes dark spots on the skin. Hyperpigmentation in the form of age spots is inevitable for anyone who has spent time in sun. Even if you don’t like sunbathing or tanning, skin gets sun damaged over the years.
Hormonal changes, scars from acne or other injury like cuts or burns and exposure to external factors like pollution, sun damage, heat, chemical treatments, blue light from computer screens and TV cause it to increase.
WHAT CAUSES HYPERPIGMENTATION
Melanin is a natural substance found in our body which gives the iris of the eye, hair and skin its colour. Therefore, melanin is essentially colour and is a pigment produced by almost all animals on Earth. Melanin also acts as a natural sunscreen and protects against harmful UV rays, however it cannot prevent sunburn on its own.
Hyperpigmentation is caused due to increase in melanin production which can be attributed to Sun exposure, Acne marks, Hormonal changes and sometimes it can be hereditary as well. There are several treatments available to reduce or remove dark spots naturally.
WHY ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years but in beauty industry they have recently become a buzz. Essential oils and Carrier oils can have a multitude of benefits for skin apart from fading dark spots. When essential oils are applied in conjunction with right carrier oil, these oils offer a natural approach to decrease the appearance of stubborn pigmentation and offer cellular regeneration without causing dryness, itching and sun sensitivity caused by harsh chemicals.
What makes essential oils good for hyperpigmentation is their skin lightening, cell regenerating and anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oils also help to nourish the skin, promote cell renewal and regeneration, boost collagen production, all of which contributes to healthy and supple skin.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HYPERPIGMENTATION
The best way to avoid pigmentation is to always wear SPF, stay in shade and cover with hats and long sleeve clothes. One of the most effective ways of reducing hyperpigmentation is by using ingredients which helps to reduce melanin in the skin. Any essential oils which has Vitamin C can be potentially effective against hyperpigmentation as it helps to prevent melanin production.
Tea Tree oils fading superpower comes from its ability to prevent and quickly heal blemish or wound. It kills the bacteria which is associated skin tear, leading to faster healing. Tea Tree Oil can also help reduce inflammation caused by pimples. Less inflammation means less chances of development of dark spots and acne scars.
Lemon oil comprises of limonene which not only helps to lighten skin but also evens skin. Lemon oil is packed with Vitamin C which slows down melanin production, thereby helping in lightening skin colour. One should be careful while using lemon oil as it can sensitivity to sun and therefore should be used at night only.
Carrot seed oil contains umbelliferon and beta carotene, both of which are known to protect from sun damage by absorbing UV rays. It is not as powerful as sunscreen but does provide little bit of protection. Beta carotene, an antioxidant is also known to reduce production of melanin and thus helps in lightening skin tone. It is also known to repair sun spots, tightens and rejuvenates the skin, evens out skin tone and balances the moisture in the skin. Carrot Seed Oil also helps to remove toxic build-up in the skin and improves skin complexion.
Geranium oil has a sweet floral aroma which is calming and grounding. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties which helps to reduce dark spots and skin discoloration caused especially due to acne scars. It is also known to improve complexion by smoothing wrinkles.
CARRIER OILS FOR HYPERPIGMENTATION
You can even out skin tone naturally by combining essential oils with carrier oils. Essential oils must always be diluted in carrier oils before applying on the skin. Essential oils and carrier oils provide hydration, moisturization to skin, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and proteins to nourish the skin.
Evening Primrose oil has been found to prevent melanin production by inhibiting tyrosinase and also helps to lighten pigmentation caused due to UV exposure. This is one of the best oils for hyperpigmentation and can help fade freckles and age spots. It can also help with melasma. Evening Primrose oil is very effective in reducing hyperpigmentation caused due to hormonal imbalance.
Rosehip oil is a natural source of Vitamin C making it powerful agent against hyperpigmentation. It also contains Vitamin A which can help boost cell turnover, removes dead cells and allows new skin cells to generate. This ultimately helps fade dark spots as old skin cells are shed and removed taking hyperpigmentation with them. Rosehip seed oil is extremely good for scarring and therefore if your hyperpigmentation is caused due to acne scars, rosehip is a must have oil for you. It is also one of those oils which helps to regulate production of sebum in the skin, which is the natural oil produced by the skin.
Tamanu Oil is rich in antioxidants which helps soothe inflammation and promotes healthy skin renewal. The nourishing properties of this oil helps to seal in the moisture in the skin. It is a potent anti-aging oil and helps combat signs of aging. Tamanu oil is great to treat acne scars, dry skin and stretch marks. It softens skin, prevents wrinkles and helps even out skin tone.
Vitamin E is an essential part of daily skin routine as it helps to repair damaged skin cells and helps revitalize skin. Vitamin E oil is known to inhibit melanin production which helps in skin lighting. It is also known to protect against damage from the sun. Thus it is a must have oil to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
RECIPES FOR REDUCING HYPERPIGMENTATION
#1 Sensitive / Acne Prone
#2 Dry and Inflamed skin
#3 Mature Skin
- Frankincense Oil – 3 drops
- Geranium Essential Oil – 4 drops
- Sandalwood Essential Oil – 4 drops
- Carrot Seed Essential Oil – 4 drops
- Evening Primrose Oil – 2 tsp
- Rosehip seed Oil – 2 tsp
How to use: Apply Few drops of the blend on affected areas with your finger or cotton pad on a clean face. Apply it at night before sleeping and wash your face with a mild cleanser next morning.
RISK & SIDE EFFECTS
- Essential oils are only for external use and should never be ingested
- Store essential oils out of reach of children and store them apart from other products. Some essential oils can be fatal to pets and therefore always research before using them
- Essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted before applying on skin as they are highly concentrated as can cause irritation. You can dilute them in carrier oil of your choice and the max concentration of essential oils should be 3-4%
- Always do a patch test before applying on larger areas of skin
- Do not apply Lemon Oil during the day if you are going out in the skin as it can cause skin sensitivity and irritation.
- It is unclear what effects essential oils have on pregnant and breastfeeding women. While some consider them safe, many doctors advice pregnant women to avoid use of essential oils
- Always buy pure essential oils and stay away from fake counterparts as they wont contain same therapeutic benefits
Essential oils are encouraged as natural treatment for hyperpigmentation. While many oils recommended for it have not yet been proven, several other oils have been. Best essential oils are Lemon oil and Carrot seed oil which have been proven for their efficacy. Other oils may lighten dark spots . Among carrier oils, Rosehip seed oil is the best and works miraculously.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any medical condition.