HOW TO TREAT HYPERPIGMENTATION IN AFRICAN SKIN

By Wande.O

 

Get Even-Toned Skin

Get Even-Toned Skin

Hyperpigmentation is the most common condition to affect African skin, or any skin of colour. This is because they contain higher levels of melanin, which are very reactive. The slightest irritation, for instance, from rashes, acne, excessive sun exposure, amongst others; can cause the melanin to overreact. It regenerates and causes the skin to get darker… This is Hyperpigmentation.

When treating Hyperpigmentation, the key is not to get the fastest way to lighten your skin, but the gentlest way to get your natural skin tone back. You guys, this does not happen overnight and it shouldn’t. It’s a gradual process that requires consistency and discipline… essentially a small change in your lifestyle (in other words, developing new habits). The last thing you want is to cause more harm or damage to your skin with harsh, ‘get-overnight-results’ creams and products.

1.     Find the Cause-

Before you can treat, you need to find the cause.

The truth is that a lot of people in Africa seem to get darker, especially as they get older, not because that’s their natural skin tone, but because of the build-up effect of over exposure to the sun.

Acne is also a big factor for some people. Acne and pimples in black skin tend to occur under the surface of the skin, and lead to post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, which can be difficult to get rid of. Untreated, it can take a few years to naturally clear off.

Other possible causes include illnesses, some medication, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, inappropriate chemical or laser exposure, burns, injury, amongst others.

It is advisable to go to your Dermatologist/Doctor for a more accurate diagnosis, especially when unclear.

2.     Treat the Cause-

Instead of scouting for the latest concoctions and bleaching creams, start by treating the cause of your hyperpigmentation first!

Limit exposure to the sun- Avoid being under direct sunlight, especially during periods when the sun is high… from about 11am – 5pm. Wear hats and umbrellas if you have to.

Wear a Sunscreen! –

This is NOT optional, even for the darkest skinned people. Sun exposure, while not usually causing sun burn in African skin, does cause hyperpigmentation. The need to wear sunscreen cannot be overstressed, especially if you are serious about combating hyperpigmentation and getting even-toned skin. Wear Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 and above, applied liberally every day.

Treat Acne –

Nip acne in the bud and get acne free. Recurring acne and pimples will cause a never-ending hyperpigmentation battle, so get it under control. Learn how to treat acne in our earlier post – How to Treat Acne Prone Skin

Consult your Dermatologist/Doctor

for help with treatment where necessary.

3.     Skin Treatment

You can treat hyperpigmentation naturally, using natural options and/or using naturally occurring ingredients in products. Whatever products or methods you try are a waste of time if you do not protect your skin from the sun daily with a sunscreen! Use a Sunscreen!

Although hydroquinone, a skin bleaching ingredient, is found in some products you can buy over-the-counter, in concentrations of 1.5%-2%; I would not personally advice it, unless it has been prescribed to you by a doctor.

Natural Options-

Lemon slices or Juice of Lemon, Raw Potato slices, Honey, Turmeric, Vitamin E oil, and Apple Cider Vinegar, are some of the best foods you can find locally, that can help gradually lighten hyperpigmentation on your skin, when applied topically. Methods and tutorials on how to use each of these will come up on TheBOAH website soon.

Naturally Occurring Ingredients to look out for-

There are Ingredients to look out for in your serums, creams, lotions and other products, that can help with reducing hyperpigmentation. These include Alpha Arbutin, Kojic Acid, Gigawhite, Licorice Extract, Niacinamide, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mulberry Extract, Bearberry Extract (Arbutin), Vitamin C, amongst others. More information on these ingredients and products that contain them will be available on the website soon.

4.     Prevention and Maintenance

A good skin regimen that includes exfoliation, daily use of sunscreen, drinking plenty water, good skincare, limiting exposure to the sun and eating healthy; will go a long way in maintaining great skin and preventing further or future recurrence of hyperpigmentation.

 

Please note that there is a huge difference between skin bleaching and good skin care resulting in even-toned skin. Do not be afraid of taking care and toning your skin to enhance its beauty… you won’t get lighter than your natural skin tone, but you WILL get beautiful skin… and in my opinion, that is true African Beauty!

 

Enjoy!