Hyperpigmentation, as per the Dermatologists is an enhancement in the normal pigmentation of the skin in one particular area. The anti-aging experts hold the opinion that the real reason behind the uneven skin-tone is hyperpigmentation. The age spots, patches on lips, chin, around eyes and scars from breakouts are different types of pigmentation. The beauty market is flooded with products that claim to even out the skin-tone and professionals can witness a sudden rise in demand for the skin brightening treatments. In a study by Procter and Gamble, it was revealed that though wrinkles are responsible for an aging process, what really makes people look older is the uneven blotchy skin.
Does Skin Tone Get Darker With Age?
Yes, the skin tone gets darker as one age. As a person grows older, the ability of the skin to repair itself gets reduced and therefore the damage from many years suddenly gets visible.
What are the Causes for the Skin to Become Darker with Age?
The most common cause of darkening of the skin tone with age is the UV damage. Most of the skin damage occurs below 15 years of age and as the person starts aging, one is left with blotchy, uneven skin that cannot repair itself the way it could before. However, the damage caused by the sun is not the only cause. The hormones that are produced by our bodies during pregnancy can cause over-stimulation of pigment cells, resulting in more melanin in some areas. Taking a contraceptive pill can have a similar reaction but both of these fade away as the hormones regulate themselves repeatedly.
The external environmental factors like exposure to sun, smoking and habitual muscle movements can cause uneven skin tone. With age, the skin starts weakening and the physical effects become more prominent. Then, there are certain external factors that cause inflammatory pigmentation such as breakouts if they are picked up. Harsh skin treatments such as dermabrasion or exfoliation can cause hyperpigmentation too.
Treatment for Skin Tone that has Become Dark with Age
One of the main keys to getting a bright and even skin tone from the blotchy pigmented skin is by making the skin function properly. Skin does not age quickly; rather, looks young when it is hydrated. As one gets older, the blood circulation becomes poor and the oxidative stress and free radicals accumulate in the body, which gets reflected in the skin. The ways to get a light and even skin tone are:
- The first step to get an even skin tone is through exfoliation as it reduces the melanin build-up on the skin. Use an exfoliating product that has enzymes or AHAs as it will not only remove the dead cells but will help in turnover of cells.
- Use sunscreen on a priority basis. Ensure that the sunscreen gives full protection from ultra-violet rays. If the sunscreen is not used throughout the year, the ultra-violet light rays shall cause more melanin production.
- Another way to battle out pigmentation is by using antioxidants. This helps to break down the existing pigmentation and prevents the formation of new patches. Look for antioxidant products that contain Vitamin C, Soybean and Grape Seed Extract as they are very potent in prohibiting pigmentation and melanin reactions.
- Diet plays an important role and research shows that non-organic dairy products aggravate the pigmentation problems. Take a diet that is high in antioxidants and eat the detoxifying foods such as leafy greens, garlic, lemon, and ginger. If the intake of vitamin B12 is low then it can lead to hyperpigmentation, therefore include fish and eggs in your diet.
- Large and stubborn pigmentation areas can be treated in salons. The skin-care experts suggest starting the treating process slowly. A sequence of light AHA peels work better in this case.
Preventing the Skin Tone From Getting Darker with Age
If the skin is not given proper protection, the sun rays make the skin dark by oxidation of the melanin present at the surface of the skin. To prevent skin darkening, all individuals should use a sunscreen that gives protection against the UVA and UVB rays. Otherwise, the skin could become dark, burn and develop wrinkles and age spots prematurely. The following methods can prevent the skin tone getting darker:
- Use a sunscreen product that has SPF 30 or more. Apply a sufficient quantity of sunscreen on face and other exposed skin area at least 15-20 minutes before going outside in the sun. If it is not applied early, the skin may darken and the sunscreen cannot take full effect.
- Re-apply the sunscreen after every two hours or after sweating or after swimming. Apply sunscreen to the ears and the neck. Use lip balm to give protection to the lips. It is best to avoid sun rays between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stay covered and apply sunblock before going out. Apply sunscreen even if it is cloudy because 40 percent of the sun rays reach during cloudy days.
- Put a few slices of lemon directly on the age spots for few minutes once daily. The acid of the lemon juice lightens the age spots. It does not happen overnight. A difference can be noticed if applied continuously for 6-12 weeks.
- Take a break on sunny days under a shade. Staying out of the sun is a good way to keep away the formation of new age spots. Wear a light-colored cloth in the sun. It does not allow the penetration of the UV rays.
It was quite common for people till a few years back to spend hours under the hot sun. However, excessive exposure to UV rays can cause skin problems like age spots and darken skin tone. If the darkening of skin tone does not get cured with the help of home remedies, it is the time to consult a doctor.
- Skin Cancer Foundation. “How to Apply Sunscreen.” https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Hyperpigmentation and Melasma.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921758/