Suffering from patchy skin or uneven skin tone?
Well, you are not alone! Skin pigmentation is a problem affecting people regardless of race or age. Skin pigmentation disorders affect the color of your skin. Skin cells make a substance called melanin that gives color to the skin, hair, and iris. Levels of melanin depend on race and amount of exposure to sunlight that your skin gets. Sun exposure increases melanin production to protect the skin against harmful ultraviolet rays. Tanning, which occurs due to overexposure to the sun, is the body’s defense mechanism to prevent any skin burn or cancerous changes in the skin. Genetics can affect melanin production as can stress, fluctuating hormones caused by pregnancy and or by birth control pills, menopause, insulin resistance, damage to the skin due to injury or overly aggressive skin care treatment or frequent use of hair dyes.
While pigmentation is common, it can often be embarrassing. Youngsters are especially easily affected in a negative way when they suffer from flawed skin. Affecting more women than men, overexposure to sun rays and a daily assault of air pollution and the toxins in our food, all damage our skin, cell walls and connective tissue, making skin appear dull and lackluster.
Types of Skin Pigmentation include:
Vitiligo: Smooth, white patches in the skin, caused by the loss of pigment-producing cells in the skin.
Pigment loss after skin damage: Sometimes after an ulcer, blister, burn, or infection, the skin does not substitute some of the pigment in that area. No treatment is usually necessary. Cosmetics can easily do the trick.
Albinism: AN inherited disorder characterized by little to no melanin production in the skin. Albinos have white hair, pale skin, and pink eyes. There is unfortunately no cure for albinism. Albinos should avoid sunlight because they lack melanin, a natural protection from sunlight.
Melasma: uneven production of pigmentation on the face, usually dark brown skin patches. Sun exposure is the main cause while additional factors may include reaction to certain medications, hormonal imbalances or use of oral contraceptives.
Peri-orbital melanosis: aka dark circles, this may be hereditary or caused due to stress or eye pressure.
Freckles: Freckles are most visible on people who have a light complexion. While mostly genetic, sun damage also can cause excessive and uneven freckles.
Photo-melanosis: Increased pigmentation due to sun exposure on exposed skin, frequently on the face, neck and limbs. The pigmentation may be blotchy or subtle.
Sun burn: An instance commonly encountered in light skinned people due to high sun exposure.
Now that we know the terms, the causes and the types, let’s now move onto what we can do about this very persistent skin enemy. One of the best ways to avoid pigmentation is to religiously apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30+, which blocks both UVA and UVB light. The sunscreen needs to be re-applied every three to four hours if you’re outdoors for long.
While prevention is better than cure, what about those who are already suffering? Worry not. Some cures that are straight out your kitchen can help!
1. Mash up a peeled avocado and apply the juice on pigmented skin.
2. Massage cocoa butter on affected skin twice a day for about two to three weeks.
3. Mix a few drops of lime juice with honey and leave it on for 10 minutes.
4. Apply raw potato juice to treat pigmentation.