Skin that is darker than surrounding areas is usually caused by a problem called hyperpigmentation, where an excess of melanin which is the pigment that gives our skin color is produced. This can create problems such as dark patches on skin anywhere in the body, though it is also possible on the face (where they are usually called “age spots”) particularly after acne dries up and heals. This issue can happen to anyone of any race and is not exclusive to any one kind of person.
Causes of Dark Skin
Hyperpigmentation can occur after frequent friction or pressure to a certain body part. For example, if a person likes to lean against their elbow frequently, it may be normal to find that their elbow is darker than the other parts of their bodies. This is also the case if one frequently rubs or scratches an area, though scratching can bring skin lesions.
Sun exposure is a frequent cause of dark skin. Extended exposure to the sun without any form of sun protection or shade can cause not only sun burn, but also the after effect of hyperpigmentation. Melanin absorbs the UV rays of the sun as a method to protect the skin, but too much sun can mean something far worse than a beautiful tan. Sometimes, sun exposure and allergic reaction can combine, creating a bigger problem in the end.
Hormonal changes can also be the cause of darkened skin. Pregnant or menopausal women for example usually run into this problem. In most cases where hormonal changes cause darkened skin, the condition of hyperpigmentation is temporary.
Remedies for Dark Skin
*If you are experiencing hyperpigmentation due to allergies, medications such as antihistamines may actually already be enough to help you with your problem. If your problem is caused by hormonal changes, a change in lifestyle to better accommodate or adjust to these changes may be helpful. However, if you are suffering from Addison’s disease, seek advice from a doctor who can better advise you on the issue.
*Always wear protection from the sun and stay in the shade when you can. This can help prevent sun damage from happening on your skin.
*Some like to go to dermatologists to get their skin bleached if the darkness appears to be permanent. However, bleaching the skin is temporary and can actually also be damaging to the skin due to the chemical content of the “bleach”. If you would like to bleach your skin naturally, it may take longer, but rubbing a slice of lemon or fresh lemon juice onto an area, letting it sit for five minutes and rinsing afterwards may be a good way to help lighten the area. Do it daily, but do not do it on broken, wounded or irritated skin. There are also some whitening body products available on the market.
*Mix 1 tsp. milk powder, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. lemon juice and ½ tsp. almond oil and rub on the face.
*Mix oatmeal, curd and tomato juice. Rub on the face and let dry for half an hour then rinse with cold water.
*Routinely placing a slice of potato over the face can help cure darkened skin.
*Mix turmeric powder and just a few drops of limejuice. Rub this on the darkened area of the skin.
*Mix orange peels with a bowl of curd. Leave this on your face for about 10 or 15 minutes and rinse with cold water
Another option to lighten darkened skin is through the use of laser technology. Visit your dermatologist or skin center to learn more about this method, its risks and its results.