What to do about pigmentation

Skin pigmentation can be unsightly for some individuals with it, or psychologically troubling for others who it affects. For anyone looking to reduce the appearance of different colored patches of skin, there are several home remedies for pigmentation that may help. Pigmentation is the coloring of the skin. Melanin is a type of pigment in the skin. The skin cells create melanin to protect from damage that UV light causes. People have different levels of melanin in their skin, which accounts for their skin’s overall color. However, the skin may create too much melanin in a specific area, causing the skin to darken. This is hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation tends only to affect patches of skin, though in some cases it may affect the whole body.

Home remedies may not work in every case, and there are also times when an individual should see a doctor for a full diagnosis and medical treatment.

Home remedies for pigmentation

In many cases, hyperpigmentation may respond well to simple home remedies.

Home remedies aim to either replenish and protect the cells or replace hyperpigmented cells with fresh, new cells.

Most home remedies involve acids and antioxidants  in certain household products, which may protect and balance the skin.

Dermatologists use many acids as chemical peels to help with skin issues, such as acne and pigmentation. These chemicals include:

  • lactic acid
  • citric acid
  • glycolic acid
  • salicylic acid

Household products do not expose the skin to as much of these acids as a chemical peel in the dermatologist’s office. However, they may still have mild effects and help improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Camel’s milk unique composition makes perfect sense

The unique composition of camel milk makes perfect sense to be a leading skincare ingredient and now is gaining momentum for its use in natural skincare along with its ability to heal and balance the skin, leaving it noticeably radiant, softer and supple.

Camel milk has a unique fatty acid and alpha hydroxyl acid composition. Fatty acids are essentially what keeps you skin radiant and supple and usually have superior moisturizing and antioxidant qualities.

Oleic Acid, one of the fatty acids found in camel’s milk in higher concentrations is an Omega 9 non-essential fatty acid, which has known moisturizing qualities and potent antioxidant properties that help slow down aging and prevent premature wrinkles and fine lines. Oleic Acid contains compounds that strengthen the integrity of cell membranes and fosters the repair of damaged cells, which could play a role in treating skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. It is also anti-inflammatory and boosts the local skin immune system and promotes the production of white blood cells. The antioxidant properties of Oleic Acid help neutralize the action of harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative damage to the skin.

Another unique fatty acid found in camel milk is palmitic acid, which is also one of the most prevalent fatty acids in the human body. As skin ages, palmitic acid levels can drop. Palmitic acid is readily absorbed into the skin cell membranes and in this way, is a potent anti-aging fatty acid. Research has suggested that palmitic acid can assist in cell rejuvenation that helps heal skin.

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) have been used in skincare since the early nineties with new discoveries around what they do and how they behave on skin. We now know so much more about AHAs which happen to be naturally forming in camel’s milk. AHAs improve the skin's texture and assist in normalizing skin function through gentle exfoliation. AHAs dissolve the tiny ionic bonds that hold the stratum carenum skin cells together, helping to remove the dead skin that are on the surface. If your skin is looking a little dull or is looking more lined or dryer than normal, this is a good indicator that you have a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. After some gentle exfoliation the skin reflects light and radiance, making it look smoother and more vital.

AHAs are also anti-aging and help to stimulate the production of collagen in the deeper layers of the skin, which is one of the foundations of the skin’s structure that gives skin its youthful and firm appearance. This production of collagen helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and has a firming action on the skin. AHAs also are used in professional skin treatments and homecare products to reduce hyper-pigmentation, dark patches or spots on the skin and treat acne. AHA’s are very effective when treating most skin conditions as they assist with the skin functioning in a way that is healthy and balanced.

Your skin is a thriving ecosystem reflecting your health and vitality and is home to billions of living organisms. Camel milk is bursting with wonderful constituents that your skin biome loves. It is the perfect superfood for your skin which helps to restore the skin biome and therefore improve the overall texture and appearance of your skin.

Apple cider vinegar

Many people use apple cider vinegar  on the skin to try and lighten unwanted pigmentation. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which may act as a mild chemical peel in some cases. Apple cider vinegar also contains polyphenols. These act as antioxidants and may protect skin cells. However, there is little direct evidence about the use of apple cider vinegar for hyperpigmentation. Some people may find it helpful, but they must be sure to use the product correctly. To use this remedy, apply 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part water to the pigmented area for a few minutes, twice daily. Rinse the area thoroughly afterward. Keep an eye out for any signs of irritation, and stop using the vinegar if irritation appears in the area.

Yogurt or milk

Yogurt and milk both contain lactic acid, which is a common ingredient in chemical peels for the skin. The small quantities in these foods may help with mild hyperpigmentation as well.

Applying yogurt or milk directly to the pigmented area or soaking a cotton ball in milk and applying it to the area may both be helpful home remedies.

People should let the yogurt or milk sit for a few minutes, and then rinse the area thoroughly and apply moisturizer. Repeating this process two times a day may help some people improve their skin spots.

Green tea

Green tea and its main active ingredient, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), may help alter pigmentation of the skin in some cases.

EGCG is an antioxidant compound that could help block the processes in cells that lead to over pigmentation. The green tea leaves themselves also contain gallic acid and ellagic acid, which may help improve skin.

However, the authors note that more research in people is necessary to support these theories.

For people who want to use this remedy, taking an oral EGCG supplement or applying a wet green tea bag to the pigmented area for a few minutes each day may help.

Vitamin C

Potential home remedies for hyperpigmentation, including vitamin C. In forms such as ascorbic acid or citric acid, vitamin C may help alter the appearance of the skin.

However, the review also notes that the varying levels of vitamin C in foods make it very difficult to quantify its effects. However, the researchers also observed that vitamin C has virtually no side effects and that combining it with other options may increase its effectiveness.

Applying accessible sources of vitamin C, such as grapefruit, lemon, or papaya , to the skin may help increase the antioxidants on the surface and lighten the cells over time.

People can use these sources along with other home remedies for pigmentation to achieve better results. It is worth noting that vitamin C does not penetrate the skin very well, however.

Red onion

Red onion, or Allium cepa, may also be a helpful skin whitening agent for some people.

Isolates from red onion blocked the cell actions that lead to excess pigmentation.

Importantly, researchers were looking at isolated compounds, rather than the onion itself. More research in humans is necessary to see if onion itself is effective, but many people still use the onion as a home remedy for pigmentation.

A simple way to use red onion is by grinding the onion up and adding it to an empty tea bag. Apply the bag to the area of hyperpigmentation, using medical tape to hold it on the skin if necessary.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera gel directly to the pigmented skin may also be a good way to reduce pigmentation over time.

Aloe vera’s active ingredient, called aloesin or aloin, could help reduce pigmentation of the skin.

While more studies on human skin might help give better support to these results, the initial evidence in animal models looks promising.