What’s the right way to address the pigmentation on your skin?

Using lemon and tomatoes raw won’t make the cut

Do you observe brown spots on your skin? Has the under-eye area on your skin turned darker than the rest of your complexion? Or, are you noticing uneven patches of pigmentation across your countenance? You’re not alone. All of these phenomena fall under the bucket of what is called ‘hyperpigmentation’, an umbrella term for any and every type of discolouration and pigmentation. And, hyperpigmentation is a very common occurrence in Indian (or brown) skin, owing to the high quantum of melanin naturally present in the skin. 

Today, from a slew of chemical active ingredients to a myriad of in-office skin treatments, there’s a lot to pick and choose from, should you intend to tackle the hyperpigmentation on your skin. However, the variety can seem to be perplexing for many, plus, you might not even need to use every ingredient or opt for every treatment that is available at your disposal since most of your treatment plan is influenced by the root cause/trigger of hyperpigmentation. To make navigating this space easier, we’ve put together a guide on how you can address pigmentation in a facile yet effective manner.

Common causes of hyperpigmentation

From Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation to scars, wounds, or, perhaps, even a hormonal fluctuation in the body, a bunch of factors can trigger the advent of hyperpigmentation on the skin. Anita Sturnham, a general practitioner and the founder of Nuriss Skincare & Wellness Clinics, told Byrdie, “Anything that causes inflammation in the skin can potentially send a signal to our melanocytes, the cells that produce brown melanin pigment, as part of an immune response. This inflammation can be caused by UV damage, acne spots and breakouts, harsh chemicals on the skin, and even hormonal fluctuations, such as those in pregnancy or when taking the contraceptive pill.”  

And, some people have skin that’s more susceptible to hyperpigmentation than usual, owing to the disorientation or instability of their melanin function. “These pigment-producing cells that live at the dermo-epidermal junction and basal layers of our skin can become hyperactive if triggered and start over-producing melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation and sunspots,” Sturnham adds. Simple mistakes like skipping sunscreen, picking your pimples, not reapplying sunscreen, excessive (and unguarded) exposure to blue light and the sun, reaction to a potent chemical exfoliant and skin burns are common causes.

The best way to reduce pigmentation 

Go big on sun protection: As sun exposure is one of the most common reasons behind the sudden occurrence of hyperpigmentation, it is key to shield your skin from the harmful UV rays, not once in your AM skincare routine, but throughout the day from time to time. Opt for a sunscreen of choice — we prefer moisturising mineral-based ones — and make sure you apply an adequate amount. Additionally, you can opt for sunscreen sticks to make reapplication easy. In summary, you have to wear sunscreen as much as possible — remember, sunscreen is not only a preventive but also a corrective measure.

Use deeply nourishing products: When you think of hyperpigmentation, dryness and dehydration aren’t the top two triggers that will pop in your head. However, they do share a deep-rooted relationship. “When the skin barrier is compromised, it lacks the ability to hold onto oil and water. The skin starts to become itchy, and that scratching leads to a rash,” Dr. Corey Hartman, an Alabama-based dermatologist cites in a piece of Healthline. Not only does a rash or irritation transpire into inflammation but a compromised skin barrier equals a weakened immune system of your skin almost — it can become vulnerable to many common concerns. 

Look for a lightweight and skin-friendly formulation that is loaded with nourishing ingredients to fortify the barrier and maintain the skin’s hydration without overwhelming the skin. Our Balance Face Cream has a light and skin-conditioning formula with ingredients like neem, squalane, shea butter, cocoa butter and the likes that not only cares for your barrier but also enriches the skin microbiome. In fact, the potent formulation also features a patented ingredient complex called Po3, which lightens pigmentation and evens out skin tone at the cellular level. If you’re wondering what Po3 comprises, it is basically a scientifically discovered combination of exclusively selected molecules, found in processes such as the malting process of barley and the extracts of cocoa beans, special teas, and the kola nut. These molecules are small enough to effectively penetrate the epidermis, inhibiting excess melanin production.

Look for products with depigmenting ingredients: The simplest way to start tackling discolouration is by including ingredients that act on pigmentation — while kojic acid, tranexamic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C are some of the active ingredients, turmeric and bakuchiol are some natural ingredients worth considering that reduce inflammation, dark spots and unevenness. Our Multi-Correctional Face Oil combines the soothing and nourishing properties of ingredients like rosehip, grapeseed, Sacha Inchi and Camellia Seed which are rich in fatty acids with skin-bettering ingredients like turmeric, bakuchiol and rosemary to heal the skin and promote a healthier, even-looking appearance. 

Indulge in chemical exfoliation: “Gentle chemical exfoliants can also enhance and increase the rate of skin cell renewal—basically inducing the hyperpigmented skin to be replaced by new skin cells,” Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist told Byrdie. “This can also be done through topical creams, washes, and solutions that have ingredients like vitamin C or glycolic acid.” Therefore, opting for skincare products infused with chemical active ingredients is essential. Having said that, it is also key to choose a product that is gentle and barrier-friendly, given that potent actives can be disruptive at times. Our Daily Liquid Exfoliant, for instance, marries the hydrating benefits of hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, rosewater, niacinamide and chamomile with exfoliative properties of salicylic acid and AHAs derived from fruit extracts, making it a failproof choice for all the skin types under the sun.