Some people just have great skin, while the rest of us who lack that lucky predisposition, have to work hard for it. Hyperpigmentation can happen very easily and very quickly and can take months to get rid of. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend tons of money to get an even complexion, you just need to know a few tricks.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Essentially, hyperpigmentation is leftover inflammation that forms after acne has started healing or if acne has been aggravated from picking. Eating a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory foods like fresh fruits and vegetables (can we say green juice?) and wild caught salmon, as well as leading a low stress healthy lifestyle will greatly improve hyperpigmentation.
Before we get into my 10 tricks for getting rid of hyperpigmentation naturally, there are a few tips to use that will help them work even better.
Tip #1- Drink plenty of spring water, green juices, and or fresh coconut water.
These will nourish and keep you hydrated, because without hydration, skin cells tend to get “sticky” and won’t turn over in a timely manner. New cell turnover is a must when trying to lighten up dark spots, scars, and uneven skin tone caused by acne and other skin ailments.
Tip #2- Frequent but Gentle Exfoliation.
Staying hydrated is key, but sometimes our skin needs a little help slewing off dead skin cells especially if you live in polluted areas like I do. Whoo hoo Los Angeles! I know that I have to exfoliate at least 3 times a week to keep my skin happy and hyperpigmentation at a healthy distance. To do this, all you have to do is use a cloth like this one, or, you can make the sugar scrub described below.
Tip #3- Patience, patience, patience!
Once you’ve got it, hyperpigmentation can be difficult to lighten and smooth out, so patience and a little TLC is important to implement. Hyperpigmentation can happen just by squeezing a blemish or staying in the sun too long, especially when you have acne scars, so don’t pick and be sure to shade your face from the sun during treatment. Also, treat your skin nicely and lovingly care for it, it will make a difference! Thinking negatively won’t help heal your skin.
Tip # 4- Don’t pick!
Picking acne will increase inflammation and make existing hyperpigmentation worse, so it’s best to just leave your skin alone. Simple as that!
Natural Remedies for Hyperpigmentation
Turmeric Face Mask-
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It reduces the occurrence of blemishes and lightens pigmentation, which might sound counterintuitive considering turmeric stains pretty much everything. However, using a mask with a dash of turmeric powder 2-3 times per week will literally lift hyperpigmentation “stains” right off. This stuff is amazing!
To use, simply add 1 tsp of turmeric powder (preferably fresh) and mix it into 1/4 cup raw honey, full fat yogurt, aloe vera gel, lemon juice or even fresh cucumber juice to make a mask that is easily spreadable and not too runny. The mask should be a pretty vibrant orange color. Let the mask dry then rinse with warm water. If you use full fat plain yogurt or honey, you can leave this mask on for as long as you like. I love using turmeric powder by this brand.
Lemon is one of the best natural skin brighteners out there. Its high citric acid content effectively exfoliates the skin and lightens and brightens hyperpigmentation after just a few uses.
Simply slice a lemon and gently rub it on dark spots to lighten them. Let to juice sit for 10 minutes and then rinse off thoroughly to reveal soft lighter skin. If your skin is sensitive like mine, try mixing fresh lemon juice with aloe vera gel or honey to lessen the sting. Never apply lemon juice to open or irritated skin.
You can also try this some of the awesome enzyme treatments in this post.
Fresh Aloe Vera Gel-
Ahhhh, aloe! How I love thee! This stuff is awesome for hyperpigmentation and one of the most gentle. Its natural salicylic acid content is perfect for lightening, evening out skin tone, and getting rid of dry skin, plus it’s jam packed with nutrients that will do more than just get rid of hyperpigmentation. Aloe vera is also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, making it perfect for treating acne prone skin as well.
Aloe is one of the most convenient ways to treat hyperpigmentation as it can be used anytime you need it and can be left on the skin without having to wash it off. All you have to do is apply it on problem areas after cleansing as many times throughout the day as you want. It can also be worn under moisturizers and make-up so that you can treat uneven skin tone without any hassle. If you don’t have fresh aloe on hand, this brand of aloe vera gel is one of my favorites.
Check out the articles below for more aloe goodness:
Deeply nourishing and moisturizing for the skin, raw honey gently dissolves dead skin cells, revealing fresh new skin beneath. The more cell turnover (gentle and natural of course!), the quicker your hyperpigmentation disappears.
To reap the benefits of raw honey, simply use it in place of your facial cleanser. I find it easiest to use in the morning since I don’t have to worry about removing make-up. Bump it up a notch by using store bought Manuka Honey or make your own and use it as a facial mask 3 times a week. (I get my favorite raw honey here)
Rhassoul (Red) Clay-
One way to take care of hyperpigmentation is to avoid it all together and using rhassoul clay can help with that. I like using rhassoul clay to remove impurities (especially blackheads) and to control excess oil. Using facial clays will help prevent acne and inflammation, and by extension, picking!
I like to use rhassoul clay twice a week to keep my skin smooth and impurity free. You can also use other clays like French green clay, white kaolin clay, or bentonite clay, but I find rhassoul clay to be the most effective. (I get my favorite rhassoul clay here)
Read more about my favorite clay here.
Full Fat Yogurt-
In many cultures around the world, women have used full fat milk and yogurt to whiten and smooth their skin and guess what? It works! Yogurt contains lactic acid, a gentle but effective natural form of hydroxyl acid that exfoliates, softens skin, and lightens dark spots.
Apply full fat plain yogurt to problem areas and let sit for 20 minutes twice a week until noticeable hyperpigmentation has faded. I like to use greek yogurt for this and will usually apply it with the leftovers from my yogurt cup.
Argan, Tamanu, and Rosehip Oils-
These oils are so restorative, hydrating, and refining. They speed up the recovery of the skin whether it’s from acne or even just when your skin needs a little boost. Argan, tamanu, and rosehip oils will replenish the skin and quicken healing, decreasing the chances of getting hyperpigmentation. If you’ve already got it, applying these oils will help lighten them faster.
I use at least one of these oils daily as my regular moisturizer morning and night with a spritz of hydrosol (my favorite is rose) to balance my skin’s PH levels. I have found that doing this has greatly improved my existing hyperpigmentation and seems to prevent it too (or at least it doesn’t seem to be as dark initially like before). You can use these oils like I do, usually a few drops massaged into the skin, or just apply them to dark spots. If you’re not sure about what oil to begin with, you can read about over 80 carrier oils and their comedogenic ratings here.
You can read about the benefits of using rosewater here.
Wheat Germ Oil-
Wheat germ oil is full of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. One of its most prominent nutrients though, is Vitamin E. Wheat germ’s high vitamin E content make is perfect to use for skin regeneration and healing. It locks in and maintains moisture like no one’s business, very important for even cell turnover. If you use this stuff at least once a day on problem areas for a few weeks, your hyperpigmentation should become a few shades lighter.
***This oil should be used carefully as it has a very high comedogenic rating. You can buy wheat germ oil here.
Granulated Sugar Scrub-
Using granulated sugar as an easy DIY exfoliator is a cheap and effective way to gently remove layers of pigmented skin. Since exfoliation is one of the key methods for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, I highly recommend making your own to save some mula.
This scrub is easy to implement and fun to make, so please give it a go!
Sugar Scrub Recipe-
(Where to Buy Essential Oils for 24% off)
Mix the ingredients together until well incorporated and keep in a nice shallow jar. If the mixture is too oily for your taste, just add more sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Use the scrub ever few days on the face and body, massaging into skin for 2-5 minutes, then rinsing with warm water.
The raw honey and essential oils will keep this scrub good for at least 1 month (although mine has lasted for several).
What methods have worked for you at getting rid of hyperpigmentation?
For more acne fighting articles look below:
12 Ways to Treat Acne Inside and Out
Are Papaya Enzymes the Answer to Banishing Red, Splotchy, Uneven Skin Tone?
3 Steps to Improve your Female Hormonal Acne – Anyone Can do It!
Healing Acne- The Herbalist’s Way Part 1
The Best Essential Oils for Your Skin Type
The 7 Step Routine You Need to Get Clear Skin
The Oil Cleansing Method