Saturday, August 23, 2008

How To Successfully Avoid Hyperpigmentation

By Louise Forrest

None of us look forward to that time in our lives when we may be struck by hyperpigmentation, and yet it is often thought of as an inevitability. There is no reason we need to succumb to this idea! With a few simple guidelines you should never have to fall victim to this condition.

Hyperpigmentation is commonly referred to as liver spots and is associated with the elderly. It is a discoloration of melanin (skin pigment) that turns a darker shade than the rest of the skin. Melanin is programmed to absorb ultraviolet rays from the sun in order to protect the rest of the skin and body. This pigment is in everyone, and is commonly concentrated into freckles and moles. Such areas are known to expand and grow darker with exposure to the sun; this is because the UV light is being absorbed. With hyperpigmentation, the condition occurs without the presence of a mole or freckle, and large, unattractive patches can occur on any part of the body.

Although many people still do not understand hyperpigmentation, the truth is quite simple. The condition is caused by sun damage, and therefore if necessary precautions are taken, there is no reason that you or anyone else should contract the condition. Now there you go, some good news! It is certainly a relief to realise that you will not necessarily have to endure the age spots that your grandmother did. Of course your grandmother was terrific, but that is no reason you should copy her looks exactly! Age spots do tend to show up on elderly people more than anyone else, but if you look more closely at those around you, you might notice that younger people who have outdoor jobs have developed the same pattern prematurely. It is purely a sun related issue!

So the first step towards protecting yourself is to resist any unnecessary exposure to the sun and those harmful UV rays. How can you do this? It is actually very simple, assuming that you work indoors! The sun is most harmful between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm, depending on the season and where you live, so keep that in mind if you are venturing outdoors for any reason. It is important that you keep your skin covered up; wear long sleeves, long pants, a hat and anything else you have lying around! Clothing is the best protection against the sun, so use it. When it comes to your face, this is the most common site of hyperpigmentation. Why? Simply because most of us do not wear a covering over our faces. Desert cultures like the Muslims have adapted to their climate by wearing veils and protective scarfs, however it is not a part of Western culture to do this and so most of us are still at risk.

If you want to protect your face, you must buy a strong sunscreen. Doctors recommend SPF 15 as a foundation base, but if you plan to be outside under a blazing sun for a few hours, go for a higher number of protection. There are many makeup products that include sunscreen protection, so if you are concerned about your foundation and eyeliner then look for a brand that has worked sun protection into the product.

It is simple: keep your skin covered and protected from the sun, and you will not suffer from age spots at any age. Get out the sunscreen and keep that youthful glow for as long as you can!

Get more beauty and facts at Natural Elements. Spend time learning about skin care from Hawaii and as well as this take the time to learn about dry skin also.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How To Remove Hyperpigmentation And Get Glowing - Even Toned Skin

By Sheila Ray

Although a lot of us dream of flawless skin, the truth is that most people, regardless of ethnicity and skin color, have pigment blemishes on their skin. The discolored small or large patches might be considered aesthetically unappealing and most people would like to get rid of these spots. To understand how to lighten your blemishes you need to understand that these spots or patches are nothing more than accumulation of melanin.

What is melanin?

Melanin is the substance that gives color to your skin. Ideally, melanin concentration should be even across the entire expanse of your skin but this is seldom the case. Various environmental, dietary, hereditary and age factors contribute towards the formation of these spots and blemishes. These lesions or spots have different names depending on the cause. Melasma, hyperpigmentation, freckles are some of the various names that refer to these blemishes.

How do I rid myself of these spots?

Any dermatologist will tell you that pigment problems are extremely difficult to get rid of. But there is hope. There have been various advances in the field of pigment research and there are a number of remedies that can effectively remove the excess pigment and prevent the re-accumulation of melanin on the skin.

Are all pigment problems basically the same? Can I use the same treatment for various pigment problems?

There are several ways to get rid of spots or patches of hyperpigmentation. Pigmentation could be hormonal in nature like melasma, dark underarms, dark skin patches on the neck or inner thigh area and age spots. Once these spots or patches of dark skin have lightened, you will need to continue some sort of maintenance regimen due to the hormonal nature of the problem. Stopping treatment as soon as these spots have disappeared will cause them to reoccur in a few months. There are certain other kinds of spots or patchy skin caused by trauma to the skin by insect bites, shaving, acne or repeated pressure to certain areas of skin. These patches or spots once lightened usually don’t return.

What are the various ways I can use to get rid of these blemishes?

There are three ways to get rid of these blemishes.

Mechanical: Mechanical methods work best when the pigmentation is recent and superficial. Those who don’t exfoliate their skin on a regular basis will also see good results. There are various derma-abrasion kits available in your local pharmacy that could help gently exfoliate the area. Micro-derma abrasion cloths are also a good option as they remove dead skin cells very gently. Exfoliating encourages skin cell turnover ensuring that fresher and more even toned skin surfaces. However, one needs to be careful when exfoliating because over exfoliation or over zealous use of mechanical methods can actually increase the darkness of blemishes.

Skin peels: Peels work to invisibly remove the “glue” that holds the surface skin together and encourages exfoliation without any need for mechanical interference. Peels used to be administered at a doctor’s office and some strong peels are still only available to medical or aesthetic specialists. Nowadays there are various kinds of peels available online and even at low concentrations over the counter. The right choice of peel depend on the nature of the problem, the depth of pigmentation and the general health of the skin. Certain peels can go as deep as the dermis (deepest layer of the skin) to lighten skin from the inside out. Certain peels along with their exfoliating capabilities also target abnormal pigment cells and work to uniform skin tone.

Skin Lightening Agents: Skin lightening agents penetrate the skin to destroy extra melanin and give skin an appearance of being even toned. There are various skin lightening agents identified by scientists and herbalists and many of them work very well on skin blemishes. Different skin whitening agents have different modes of action. Some work to destroy melanin, some work to prevent the transfer of melanin from the deepest layer of the skin to the surface, still others interfere with the actual production of melanin. There are a few chemical agents actually destroy the melanin creating cells called melanocytes. These should never be used for skin blemishes unless one has depigmentation problems. The best methods entail the use of herbal or natural skin lighteners that are used in a combination so as to affect the whole production cycle of melanin.

A combination of the right peel or exfoliation combined with the right combination of skin lightening agents can effectively lighten even the toughest pigment spots.

Sheila Ray writes on various health, beauty and holistic healing topics. If you found this article interesting you can find more information on everything mentioned here in a great how-to ebook available at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hyperpigmentation - Those Ugly Brown Spots On Skin!

By Julie Roberts

More specifically Melasma or Lentigos

The brown spots we get on our skin happen from an irregular distribution of melanin. Either this can result in melasma, which is an uneven production of melanocytes causing light brown spots; or in lentigos (age spots) which are an uneven accumulation of melanocytes in the epidermis resulting in brown spots.

The melanocyte cells are located in the basal cell skin layer. These cells control the making of melanin, which gives each person their coloring. The rate of melanin production differs between each person being greater in dark skinned individuals.

Outside factors also affect the production of melanin, which may cause brown spots:

  • Sun exposure
  • Certain medications & chemicals
  • Hormones - pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills
  • Underlying health problems - nervous disorders
  • Acne

Melasma produces irregular, pale brown blotches that usually appear on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and upper chest. On darker skin, the blotches show up lighter than the surrounding skin. Melasma is common during pregnancy, menopause and in woman taking oral contraceptives. Sun exposure will make the brown spots worse.

Lentigos, also known as age or liver spots, are flat, light reddish-brown spots that appear on the face, throat, chest, back of hands, upper back and shoulders. Lentigos typically show up on skin, which is repeatedly exposed to sunlight. The ultraviolet sunlight causes overstimulation of the melanocyte cells in the skin. The cells clump together and show up as age spots.

Lentigos spots can vary in size from small to a couple of inches in width. They happen more often on light-skinned people and can start to be noticeable as early as the age of 30.

Even though both of these melanin-produced spots are harmless, they are unattractive to most people. So what gets rid of them?

Over the counter products that can be used to erase brown spots on skin are:

  • Bleaching (depigmenting) products which include-
  • Hydroquinone (use only on fair to light skin tones - possibly irritating)
  • Kojic Acid (an alternative for darker skin tones)
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Arbutin
  • Ellagic Acid
  • Retinoids (Retinoic Acid)
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Bleaching products work by inhibiting the production of the enzyme tyrosinase, which in turn reduces melanin. Over time, the brown spots will fade. Bleaching products will not lighten skin beyond its' own natural color, so do not worry about going to light.

Retinoids, Vitamin C, and Alpha Hydroxy Acids can slowly fade brown spots on their own. However, they are best used in conjunction with bleaching products since they will boost the overall effectiveness of the treatment.

Always use adequate sun protection when using any of these ingredients. Your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun. In addition, hydroquinone will be rendered useless if you do not use sunscreen.

Options that are available through a skin care professional are:

  • Laser Treatments (less damaging to skin)
  • Chemical Face Peels
  • Freezing the area with liquid nitrogen (may cause white spots)

For more information on treating brown spots or other types of skin care, go to

Julie Roberts is the publisher of

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How to Prevent Hyper-Pigmentation When Treating Acne

By Naweko N San-Joyz

Acne is a privately painful condition with several social repercussions. Acne can make its sufferer feel overly self-conscious, ashamed and less than attractive. It's no wonder that people will bombard their skin with any promising acne treatment in hopes of getting this confidence stealer under control.

Yet sometimes, as a recent study in the International Journal of Dermatology revealed, the steps acne sufferers take to remedy this skin condition can actually worsen the ailment and in some cases provoke other unwanted cosmetic flaws like hyper-pigmentation (darkened spots on the skin).

In this study, researchers interviewed 93 acne patients from Dakar, Senegal. Contrary to typical acne cases, the average age of acne onset among the group was 25 years old, not the teenage years as normally associated with acne. Additionally, over 67% of these acne patients experienced skin pigment disorders like melanoderma, or increased amounts of pigment in the skin.

These pigment disorders resulted from several skin care factors. For example, some of the patients used benzoyl peroxide or retinoids to treat their acne. Ironically, both of these ingredients are know causes of melanoderma in dark skinned people.

Moreover, these acne sufferers sometimes combined their acne treatments with skin lightening treatments and sun exposure. Both of these actions predisposed the skin to sun sensitivity and skin blotching.

Preventing hyper-pigmentation while treating acne

Nearly 75% of the people in this Senegal study experienced inflammatory acne. This form of acne may include lesions such as pustules, papules or cysts. Several alternatives to benzoyl peroxide and retinoids are available to treat this type of acne.

Use clay masks

If your skin is sensitive to benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, you can use clays masks to treat inflammatory acne. Just apply the clay masks according to product directions to help calm acne-inflamed skin.

Start the treatment at night

Alternately, at night you can smooth tea treat oil onto inflamed acne lesions to help reduce the swelling. Applying the oil at night reduces the chances of experiencing skin sensitivities once you expose your skin to daylight.

Use proper sun protection

Another important step you can take to prevent dark marks from arising on your skin is to use a sunscreen whenever you go outside. Moreover, remember to re-apply the sunscreen as needed. Normally, you need to re-apply a sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection.

In short, when it comes to skin care make yourself aware of the potential side effects of any treatment you use. This way, you can save yourself from unwelcome cosmetics surprises.


Kane, Assane et al. Epidemiologic, clinical, and therapeutic features of acne in Dakar, Senegal. International Journal of Dermatology. October 2007; vol 46, no 1, pp 36-38.

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