Hyperpigmentation of the Skin

Hyperpigmentation of the SkinWhat is Hyperpigmentation of the Skin?

Hyperpigmentation of the skin is also referred to as chloasma or melasma.


This usually appears after being exposed to the sun. In other cases, it appears after inflammatory changes that happen to the skin.


This is usually more evident in people who have heavily pigmented skins.


Olive and brown skinned people are more prone to hyperpigmentation.



What Causes Hyperpigmentation of the Skin?

  • Low levels of folic acid. A decrease in the folic acid levels in the body brought about by pregnancy and contraceptive pills could cause the development of skin pigmentation.
  • Topical agents applied on the skin. Perfumes and antimicrobial agents that contain bergaptine, citrus and halogenated salicylanilides, could create a sun-sensitive reaction on the skin that could lead to pigmentation.
  • Diseases. Certain diseases could also cause skin hyperpigmentation. Some of these are hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and metals. People who are often exposed to mercury and those whose work entails the processing of silver, are more likely to have hyperpigmentation of the skin.
  • Drugs. Certain drugs like chlorpromazine and chloroquine can lead to pigmentation.
  • Free radicals. When the body is overloaded with free radicals, it accelerates skin aging causing the development of hyperpigmentation.


Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation

Some of the signs of hyperpigmentation are:

  • Excessive freckles
  • Splotchy skin or having age spots
  • Excessive wrinkles


Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be lessened or treated by following certain lifestyle hints and undergoing the right diet.

Helpful Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Avoid sun exposure. If you need to be out in the sun, wear a sun block with SPF 30 or more. Make sure that you wear a hat and some good clothing that could cover your skin.
  • Rinse your skin from soaps and other cleansers, thoroughly. Avoid perfumes too. Bergamot, which is an essential oil, could lead to hyperpigmentation when it is exposed to the sun.
  • Get adequate rest. Fatigue is usually reflected by the face.
  • Exercise. This helps improve circulation.
  • Quit smoking and taking in alcoholic drinks, since these harm the skin.
  • Consult a doctor or naturopath if you are suffering from a fungal infection.
  • Avoid being exposed to free radicals. Avoid radiation, as well as smoking. These age the skin rapidly, causing skin pigmentation. Other silent sources of radiation are sun and tanning beds, overexposure to the sun, TV, computer screens, X-rays, microwave radiation and even mobile phones.
  • Some other sources of free radicals are smog, air pollutants, acid rain and also industry pollutants. Pesticides, hydrocarbons and aerosol sprays are sources of free radicals too, so avoid these things.
  • Avoid using heavy metals. Try not to use aluminium pots, utensils and foils, or any other product that has aluminium with them. Most deodorants contain this too, so check the labels.
  • Try to switch mercury fillings to better replacements.

Diet for Hyperpigmentation of the Skin

What not to eat

  • Avoid foods that tend to increase free radicals. These foods include barbecued foods, fried and smoked foods.
  • Steer clear of preservatives, food colourings, antibiotics, emulsifiers, enhancers, sweeteners, additives and other like substances in foods and in drinks could increase free radical levels in the body.
  • Try to avoid beverages that contain artificial flavours. Coffee and alcohol have to be avoided too.
  • Saturated fats are not good for the skin too. Avoid processed foods and also margarines and shortenings. Try to minimise intake of cheese and butter, along with coconut cream and animal fats.
  • Minimise cakes, biscuits and other sugary foods in the diet.

What to eat

  • Go for whole foods, prepared from scratch. These foods contain a lot of nutrients that the body could benefit from.
  • Eat foods that have high Vitamin-C content. Some of these foods are kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries, papaya, blackcurrants, cranberries and green leafy vegetables.
  • Foods that are rich in carotenoids are helpful too. These include red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash and apricots are good sources of carotenoids.
  • Cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are good for the body too.
  • Eat more onion, shallots, garlic and leeks.
  • Selenium-rich foods could greatly benefit those suffering from hyperpigmentation. Some of these foods are whole grains, wheat germ, seafood and sesame seeds.
  • Zinc-rich foods like pumpkin, oysters and sunflower are beneficial too.
  • Manganese-rich foods like nuts, egg yolks and pineapple are very beneficial.
  • Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, cherries and other dark berries. These could help in enhancing the collagen structure of the skin. Liberal consumption is highly encouraged.
  • Enzymes found in aloe vera juice, papayas, pineapples, avocados, mangoes and bananas help the skin to regenerate.

Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs for Hyperpigmentation

  • Folic acid (300mcg two times daily). Take this if the cause of pigmentation is due to pregnancy or use of contraceptive pills. Take this along with Vitamin B complex.
  • Evening primrose oil (3000mg daily). This helps the cells of the skin to heal.
  • Dandelion (3g-5g dried root daily). This is considered as a liver-cleansing herb and helps in enhancing the bile flow. It also detoxifies the liver. 9g to 10g of milk thistle is also good for the liver.


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