Hyperpigmentation - Every Other Brown Girl's Problem

I've struggled with hyperpigmentation my entire life, sharing a new perspective on how I've dealt with it and what's worked. 

Far Momin founder of She Plants Love

If you told me ten years ago that I would make it publicly known to the universe about how I struggle with hyperpigmentation, I would literally think you're nuts and dismiss it. However, the evolved version of who I am today chooses to talk about this topic so that I can be the voice for many people who suffer silently from this skin condition day in and day out (even though it triggers sensitivities and discomfort for me.) I feel like hyperpigmentation is every other brown girl's problem. Today, I'm sharing more about my biggest skin struggle, what's worked for me and what hasn't.

I tried it all: the $250 cream, the so-called "miracle product," skin-brightening agents, and DIY remedies. Nothing helped the hyperpigmentation that I had on my face long term. I was always left feeling defeated. Either I had to continue using the product indefinitely (which had side effects) or I didn't see a difference. So I went from product after product. This went on for over a decade. There were years where it felt like I was in serious skin agony, between my hyperpigmentation getting worse, and skin irritations from trying anything and everything under the sun to reduce it.

Melasma, a form of hyperpigmentation, occurs in 90% females and 10% in males.

On many occasions, I'd run to the dermatologist looking for solutions, but nothing seemed promising. Hyperpigmentation made me feel less beautiful, which subconsciously made me feel that I was less deserving throughout pockets of my life. I never left the house without concealer on. It became a burden and daily chore - until I freed myself from surface level beauty and started loving myself for who I was inside. The self-love work is a recurring theme if you haven't noticed yet.

"Melasma, an acquired pigmentary disorder, is characterized by hyperpigmented brown to grayish brown macules on the face."

Indian J Dermatol

Some known causes of Melasma, a form of hyperpigmentation, are:

  • UV exposure
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Phototoxic drugs 
  • Ovarian dysfunction 
  • Thyroid and/or liver diseases

Learn from me and don't do these two things.

  1. Pile on concealer all day, every day. Your skin needs to breathe. Allowing your skin to breathe with minimal to no coverage will help keep skin inflammation and irritation down. Focus on healthier skincare routines rather than heavy makeup to conceal the issue. Deal with what's going on inside. 
  2. Abrasively remove facial hair by waxing or threading. Every time you pull on the skin, it irritates the top layer of your skin and beyond. This can cause the skin to get darker as it over produces melanin to protect itself, therefore facilitating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Inflammation can cause melanin to go on overdrive and produce more, which can make that area of your skin irritated and darker. 
less is more in skincare

Do this to help minimize pigmentation, and no, I'm not recommending you start using a particular product, instead practice an elevated lifestyle. 

  • Wear sunscreen all year round, to protect it from further damage
  • Use plant-based skincare and makeup without artificial synthetics. Toxic chemicals can add to skin issues
  • Attempt to eat clean 80% of the time, gut health has an affect on skin health
  • Reduce stress, inner wellness plays a significant role in your outer appearance, not to mention your overall vibe

study done in India showed that 80% of the four cities' population had one form of hyperpigmentation. Safe to say, it's common in darker complexions.

Hyperpigmentation can be an emotional roller coaster, not being dramatic. You get me if you've ever dealt with it. It hinders positive self-perception and can cause trauma from being teased by others. It's a lingering issue because there's no definitive solution out there to reduce hyperpigmentation permanently. Still, you can attempt a few things to keep the condition to a minimum as I've shared from my experience.

Be selective with your beauty products to prevent irritation and breakouts, which we know can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. My approach to exclusively using plant-based beauty products, managing stress, and diet has helped me significantly with my hyperpigmentation problems.

Love The Skin Your In

To be super honest, I almost didn't publish this post because it's a sensitive subject for me, but I felt an urge to tell whoever needs to hear this, that you're not alone and you can regain skin confidence as I have. I know and understand how skin issues can make you feel self-conscious, especially if it's on the face because that's how we make our first impression.

Hope I've given you some clarity and direction to stay positive on your hyperpigmentation journey. Remember the real work starts from the inside out.

Let me know if you suffer from it and if anything has helped in the comments below.

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