Pigmentation refers to the coloring of the skin. Disorders of skin pigmentation lead to changes in the color of your skin. Melanin is produced by skin cells and is the pigment responsible for the color of your skin.
Hyperpigmentation is a condition that darkens your skin. It can affect areas of your skin or your entire body. Age spots, also called liver spots, are a common type of hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is usually harmless, but sometimes it can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Certain medications can also darken your skin. It’s more of a cosmetic issue for most people.
Treatment of pigmentation at home
There are several ways you can treat hyperpigmentation at home. Although many of the remedies we share here are anecdotal, some research suggests that their main ingredients act on skin pigmentation.
apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which SourceTrusted research shows may lighten pigmentation.
To use this remedy:
Combine apple cider vinegar and water in a container.
Apply to your dark spots and leave on for two to three minutes.
Rinse off with lukewarm water.
Repeat twice a day to get the desired results.
According to a 2012 study, Aloe vera contains aloin, a natural depigmenting compound that brightens the skin and works effectively as a non-toxic hyperpigmentation treatment.
Apply pure aloe vera gel to the pigmented areas before bed.
Rinse off with lukewarm water the next morning.
Repeat daily until your skin color improves.
Red onion (Allium cepa) extract is an ingredient in some commercially available skin and scar lightening creams. Research has shown that dried red onion peel can effectively lighten the skin. Look for hyperpigmentation creams that contain Allium cepa and use them as directed.
Green tea extract
ResearchTrusted Source shows that green tea extract can have a depigmenting effect when applied to the skin. You can buy green tea extract and apply it as directed. Some websites suggest applying green tea bags to dark spots for a lightening effect, although there is no evidence to support this claim.
If you want to give it a try, follow these steps:
Soak a green tea bag in boiled water for three to five minutes.
Remove the tea bag from the water and let it cool – you don’t want to burn your skin.
Rub the tea bag over your dark spots.
Repeat twice a day until you get results.
Black tea water
An animal study Trusted Source published in 2011 found that black tea water lightened dark spots on guinea pigs. The black tea water was applied twice a day, six days a week for four weeks.
To try your own version of this hyperpigmentation treatment at home:
Add a tablespoon of fresh black tea leaves to a cup of boiling distilled water.
Soak for two hours and strain to remove the leaves.
Dip a cotton ball in the tea water and apply it twice a day to areas of hyperpigmentation.
Repeat each day for six days a week, for four weeks.
Licorice extract contains active ingredients that reduce hyperpigmentation caused by melasma and sun exposure. Topical creams containing licorice extract are available over the counter. Use as directed on the package.
Milk, buttermilk, and even fermented milk have been proven to effectively reduce skin discoloration. Lactic acid is the ingredient responsible for this effect.
To use any of these to treat pigmentation:
Dip a cotton ball in the milk.
Rub it twice a day on dark patches of skin.
Repeat daily until you see results.
A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2011 found that lycopene-rich tomato paste protects the skin against short-term and long-term photo damage. Study participants consumed 55 grams of tomato paste in olive oil per day for 12 weeks.
Orchid extracts are as effective as vitamin C hyperpigmentation remedies, according to researchTrusted Source. Applying orchid-rich extracts to the skin for eight weeks improved the size and appearance of dark areas.
You can purchase skin products that contain orchid extract, including masks, creams, and scrubs. Use as directed for best results.
Masoor dal (red lentils)
Masoor dal face masks, made from red lenses, are popular as a treatment for hyperpigmentation. Although there is nothing to prove these claims, red lentils are high in antioxidants known to be good for the skin.
To make your own masoor dal mask:
Soak 50 grams of red lentils overnight in a bowl of water.
Use a blender or food processor to create a fine paste.
Apply the paste evenly on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes.
Rinse off with cold water and dry your skin with a towel.