Here’s a simple task for you: on your next trip to a beauty store or drug store, check out the most common cosmetic products you can see on the shelves. You will notice there are various products dedicated to skin discoloration treatment.
It’s no coincidence. Skin discolorations are among the most common skin issues experienced by both men and women these days; hence, the influx of products and procedures that treat skin discoloration. The challenge now is finding the right treatment for your discolored skin.
Before you pay for anything, here are 16 things you should know about the dark patches on your skin and what goes behind skin discoloration treatments.
1. You Are Not Alone: Understanding Why Skin Discoloration Happens
Before you learn about the many ways to treat brown spots on your skin, it is important to understand what the concept of discoloration is all about.
Skin pigmentation disorders are types of condition affecting your skin. They are characterized by irregular areas where there are changes in your skin color. The root cause of black or white patches on your skin is melanin.
Melanin is the substance responsible for providing your skin color. When skin discoloration happens, this means a certain area had either overproduction or underproduction of melanin; hence, the discoloration.
There are two types of discoloration:
- Hypopigmentation – Your body does not produce enough melanin, hence the lightening of your skin color. Examples of this are albinism and vitiligo.
- Hyperpigmentation – There is too much melanin in your body, which causes your skin to become darker than usual.
2. Pinpointing the True Culprit: The Many Causes of Dark Patches on Skin
You were acquainted with melanin, the substance that defines your skin color and how its uneven distribution leads to discoloration. Apparently, melanin doesn’t act alone. In fact, there are certain circumstances that led to uneven distribution.
Some of the potential causes of skin discoloration are:
- Autoimmune diseases and allergies
- Skin aging
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or birth control
- Skin cancer
The good news is, there are various options available to treat skin pigmentation, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections. Before that, proceed to the next pointer to find out if your discolored skin deserves a trip to the doctor.
3. Initial Steps: Making the Trip to the Dermatologist for Skin Evaluation
Just because you noticed white or black spots on your skin, it doesn’t automatically follow that you are experiencing skin discoloration. Sometimes, you have to give your skin some time to recover before you classify at as alarming.
When it comes to skin discoloration, here are things to consider before you schedule a trip to the doctor:
- Lasting changes in your skin color.
- An existing mole or a new mole changes its appearance and size.
- New mole or growth on your skin.
- Skin discoloration is changing or getting worse.
- You experienced symptoms along with the discolored skin.
During your trip to the doctor, make sure you inform him of any of the following, since these factors could play a role in skin changes:
- Skin injuries
- Hormone treatments
- Illnesses or Health Conditions
It is important to schedule that trip to the dermatologist for proper evaluation and if possible, rule out skin cancer. Once you identified the reason for those brown or white bumps on your skin, treatment will follow.
Don’t worry. There are various ways in treating skin discoloration, which you will learn more about below.
4. Controlling Melanin: Your Key to Minimize Skin Discoloration
You know what melanin could do to your skin color. The higher the melanin in a particular area, the darker the spot will be. This is what skin discoloration treatments aim to address.
The name of the product, procedure and ingredients in the skin discoloration treatment cream like Illuminatural 6i may vary. However, one thing is for sure: whatever skin discoloration treatment you choose, the primary purpose is to suppress or control melanin production and even out the skin tone.
This is why it is important that when you use lightening or any discoloration products, you will only concentrate of the discolored skin and not on the entirety.
So, are you ready to learn the different ways on how to treat skin discoloration? Keep on reading.
5. Exfoliation: The Simplest Yet Most Effective Tool Against Skin Discolorations
There are times when you don’t have to look further and simply settle on what you have at home to make sure that your skin color remains the same. The simplest way to ensure that your skin won’t be compromised is through regular exfoliation.
Exfoliation is the process wherein you get rid of the surface layer of your skin cells. These skin cells might be discolored, thereby making your skin look dull.
There are many exfoliating products available in the market. You may also opt for salicylic acid peel, which usually costs $125 or, you can try this homemade exfoliating sugar scrub:
- Mix one teaspoon raw sugar, one half teaspoon raw honey, and the juice of half of a fresh lemon.
- Add a bit more sugar if the mixture is too watery.
- Apply it on your skin at least two to three times a week to get rid of dead skin cells that might cause discoloration.
6. You Are What You Eat: Food and Drinks that Treat Skin Pigmentation
How many times have you heard this phrase? It might sound like a broken record, but the phrase, “You are what you eat” also applies in the world of skin discoloration. Believe it or not, what you eat and drink could help you a lot in getting rid of skin discoloration, whether you have white or dark spots.
After all, if these natural foods and ingredients work wonders on your skin by application, what more if you take them directly.
Here are eating tips and food ideas to consider to treat discolored skin:
- Stay away from too much junk food, since it tends to dehydrate your skin.
- Eat plenty of vitamin C-enriched foods, like citrus fruits and broccoli. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient that fights free radicals responsible for skin discoloration.
- Consider drinking tea made of milk thistle, red clover and burdock. These herbs help cleanse your blood stream of the materials and substances that cause skin discoloration.
- Add more vitamin A in your diet, such as carrots because of its ability to treat blotchy skin.
- Vitamin B12-rich foods like poultry, eggs, milk and fish helps regulate your skin’s pigment production and location.
Make sure you have these foods on your list the next time you go to the grocery store.
7. Say Hello to Melanin Suppressants to Get Back Your Skin Color
One of your first lines of defense against skin discoloration is by using melanin suppressants. The purpose of this skin discoloration treatment is to inhibit and prevent the disruptive effects of melanin from taking over your skin color.
The question now is what type of melanin suppressant you should get.
Here are your options:
- Hydroquinone – This is the most common melanin suppressant and hyperpigmentation’s worst enemy. For over-the-counter products, make sure your skin discoloration treatment cream has up to two percent hydroquinone only. Four percent concentration is fine, although this requires doctor’s prescription.
- Kojic Acid – This is another common ingredient in many lightening products. Obtained from mushrooms, kojic acid is a safer alternative to hydroquinone.
- Salicylic Acid – It is also known to lighten skin blemishes. Watch out for any skin irritations and discontinue use immediately.
- Azelaic Acid – This is another alternative to hydroquinone, whose purpose is to correct any hyperpigmentation of skin.
These ingredients are considered tyrosinase inhibitors, which is why lightening products should contain one or more of any of these ingredients. Tyrosinase is a type of enzyme responsible for melanin production in your skin. If you are able to limit tyrosinase in your body, then you are able to reduce the production of melanin as well.
Aside from these ingredients, there is another type of melanin suppressant you should know, which you will learn more about in the next section.
8. Entering the World of AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids
You might be familiar with AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, and what they can do for your skin. In fact, it is another crowd favorite, because AHAs have molecular size and allow for a more effective penetration into the top layers of your skin.
Here is something you should know about AHAs: inhibiting melanin production is not its strongest asset, although they could help. However, AHAs’ strength lie on its ability to remove unhealthy and abnormal layers of superficial skin cells, thereby helping in cell turnover.
Nonetheless, alpha hydroxy acids could work well with tyrosinase inhibitors to promote the overall appearance of your skin.
Let’s say you still prefer going natural. The next section is all for you.
9. Go Natural: Homemade Treatments Against Skin Discoloration
- Lemon – This is the most common natural treatment against skin discoloration because of its natural bleaching properties and vitamin C property. Simply apply lemon juice on pigmented skin and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – The astringent properties of ACV helps restore your skin’s natural color. Dab apple cider vinegar and water mixture on pigmented areas and wash it off with lukewarm water after five minutes.
- Cucumber – This natural food is effective in rejuvenating your skin and improving your complexion. Mix a tablespoon each of cucumber juice, lemon juice, and honey and apply the mixture on affected areas. Let it stay for 10 minutes before rinsing it with water.
- Papaya – The papain found in this tropical fruit has amazing exfoliating properties, breaks down dead skin cells, and encourage growth of new cells. Combine two tablespoons of papaya pulp and a tablespoon each of honey and milk until it forms into a paste. Apply on the affected areas in your skin and let it stay for 30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Aloe Vera – This herb has the ability to cleanse your skin without disturbing the natural balance. Mix two tablespoons of aloe vera gel with half tablespoon of raw honey and apply the mixture on your skin. Wash it off with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.
Aside from being cost-effective, the most recognizable benefit of going natural is that it is safer on your skin with minimal side effects. On the other hand, the results may take some time before they kick in. The key here is consistency. If you chose the natural path, then make sure you will do it regularly, even twice a day, if instructed, to ensure positive results.
10. Personal Hygiene: A Surprising Deal Breaker in Skin Discoloration
You think that what you eat only matters in the world of discolored skin. It turns out that even your personal hygiene will define whether you are prone to skin discoloration. In fact, even if you use the best remedies against skin discoloration, without proper hygiene, your skin will never be healthy.
You might ask why.
Unhealthy skin encourages the buildup of dead skin cells, bacteria, and other unwanted substances in the surface of your skin. When this happens, it will be extra challenging for new skin cells to go on the surface, thereby making your skin duller, dryer, and darker.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Take a bath twice every day.
- Use cold or cool water instead of extremely hot water.
- Wipe your body with a dry, clean and soft towel.
- Moisturize your skin to keep it healthy and hydrated.
- Exfoliate at least twice a week to get rid of dead skin cell buildup.
- Wash your face every morning and at night.
11. When Medicine Meets Your Skin: Chemical Peel Treat Skin Pigmentation
Natural treatments will work; however, it will take some time before you see noticeable results. If you want quicker improvement in your discolored skin, then consider medical treatments.
This is where chemical peel comes in.
Chemical peel is a type of cosmetic procedure that involves the use of certain acids to get rid the dead skin and other unwanted buildup in the surface of your skin. The higher concentration of acids such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid suppress melanin that could cause hyperpigmentation.
This leads to a brighter skin complexion, and also smoother skin. Unfortunately, a chemical peel is considered a cosmetic procedure; hence, it is not covered by insurance.
If you want a stronger procedure to treat skin pigmentation, then consider the next option.
12. Laser Treatment: A Fast and Effective Way to Treat Skin Discoloration
When it comes to skin discoloration, laser treatment is the best way to go. This procedure uses light beams to target pigmented spots and even your skin tone. It also destroys the harmful bacteria in your skin and promote collagen formation while lessening melanin production.
Depending on the pigmented area and the color of spots in your skin, your doctor will require any of the following types of laser treatment:
- Q-switched laser or tattoo laser.
- Intense pulsed light devices or IPL.
- Fractional laser if it involves small area of pigmented skin.
- Erbium laser, which is ideal since it doesn’t employ heat and target pigmented spots sans the inflammation after.
Among the skin discoloration treatments, this one is more costly at $1,062 for non-ablative and $2,146 for ablative laser treatment. Here’s the surprising part: there is a possibility that laser treatment may not totally suppress overproduction of melanin and enables discolored skin to make a comeback.
13. A Word of Caution: Neither Overdose, Nor Overuse Your Chosen Skin Discoloration Treatment
Let’s say after a few weeks, you notice an improvement in your skin color. Congratulations. This means you chose the right skin discoloration treatment to get rid of those small white spots on your skin.
Still, don’t be too complacent or excited. Just because it worked, it doesn’t automatically mean that the effects on Day 21 will be the same on Day 100. Believe it or not, it could get worse if you are not too careful.
Therefore, take it easy on your usage. Remember that too much of a good thing could lead to adverse effects, such as a stinging sensation and permanent discoloration to your skin. The best way to do this is follow your doctor’s orders as to how long should you undergo the discolor procedure – and stick to it.
14. The Ugly Truth: Why “One Size Fits All” Does Not Apply to Treating Skin Discoloration
Here’s the truth: what works for your friends or family may not work for you. Consequently, what works for you may not work for your friends or family, either. This only means despite the good intentions of these skin discoloration treatments, there will always be techniques that may not work for you.
In fact, there is no such thing as “one size fits all” or an exact formula to ensure that your skin gets back to its original color. It will always be a case of trial and error until you find the right treatment that will work for your skin issue.
This is because every discolored skin has its own story that requires a specific kind of treatment.
This leads you to the next tip.
15. A Gentle Reminder: Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Surely, any of the skin discoloration treatment enumerated above will work. The challenge now is finding the right and appropriate for your discoloration issues.
Nonetheless, it is important that you keep your expectations realistic. Do not think that the effects of your chosen method to treat skin discoloration will show up instantly or after one day of application. While these will work, remember that it takes some time before you see an improvement in your skin. This is why it is crucial that you chose a method that is best recommended for the type of skin discoloration issue you had.
What can you do, then?
Continue with your chosen method and do it regularly and consistently. You will surely see a noticeable improvement in no time. Be patient.
16. Surefire Tips to Prevent Discolored Skin Now and Save You Money Later
Why go through these skin discoloration treatments when you can save yourself from discolored skin in the first place? The truth is, there are various ways you can prevent your skin from developing brown, black or white spots.
Check out these preventive tips and keep them in mind at all times:
- Limit, if not avoid too much sun exposure. This is the simplest and most effective way to prevent skin discoloration.
- If going out is unavoidable, make sure to wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher. Re-apply every two hours if going outdoors for an extended period of time.
- Stay indoors between 10 in the morning and four in the afternoon, where the sun’s UV rays are most harmful.
- Keep your skin covered by wearing wide-brimmed hats and UV-protected clothing.
- Use gentle products on your skin to reduce irritation and buildup of unwanted substances that cause discoloration.
- Say goodbye to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as drinking alcohol and smoking. Aside from avoiding pigmentation, it also makes your skin younger and healthier.
Your Emotional Health: Keeping a Positive Outlook Despite Discolored Skin
Skin discoloration may not pose a serious threat, but it could affect your emotional well-being and self-confidence. Don’t worry. Thankfully, there are various treatments available to even your skin tone, such as what were enumerated above.
The bottom line is that there is a glimmer of hope to bring your skin color back to its original setting. Before you put everything in your own hands, consult a dermatologist, determine the cause for skin discoloration, and discuss the most appropriate skin discoloration treatment for you – and stick to it.