In this post today, I’m going to be sharing my personal experience, with skin pigmentation as an African.
Skin pigmentation is a very common issue with African skin, because of the fact that our skin has a lot more active melanin, it tends to get pigmented a lot more easily than the Caucasian or the Asian skin types.
Skin pigmentation in African skin can be caused by a number of factors.
So you can have skin pigmentation as a result of hormones, like you’d have during pregnancy in case of the pregnancy mask.
2.Excessive sun exposure
You can also have skin pigmentation as a result of excessive exposure to the sun, which can cause skin darkening in certain affected parts of the face.
You can also have skin pigmentation as a result of inflammation, which is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and this usually occurs after the skin has suffered some sort of trauma, like an injury, burn or acne. The most common cause of Post Inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is acne.
So when we have acne or any other sort of skin inflammation, the skin responds by sending melanin nto the affected area to try to protect the skin, the increase of melanin cells to these affected skin parts eventually lead to pigmentation issues even after the the acne is gone.
So post inflammatory pigmentation is mostly common with people who have acne skin, as a result of the marks left behind after the acne.
In some ways, PIH is really more difficult to deal with than the acne itself.
My experience with PIH has taught me a lot and I would like to share what I am doing to manage it.
How I manage my PIH
- Managing the acne- The first step to managing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is to manage the acne, because acne is a precursor to the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
You want to ensure that you have your acne under control. Acne is caused by excessive oil production, dead skin cells and clogged pores and the proliferation of acne causing bacteria on the skin.
So trying to put your skin in a state where you don’t have these three conditions present at the same time would go a long way in helping to prevent acne in the first instance.
Here are the steps that I take to manage this kind of condition:
- Creating a conducive environment for good bacteria to thrive in the skin. This starts with proper cleansing with gentle cleansing products which will ensure that your skin is free from dirt, but not dehydrated.
The ideal skin cleanser is one that will effectively remove dirt and grime from the skin without drying it out, because once you dehydrate your skin, you actually create a situation where your skin tries to overcompensate for the dryness by producing more oil.
You also wants use a cleanser that is PH balanced, this is because you don’t want to disrupt the “Acid Mantle “of the skin which can lead to skin alkalinity, which can actually increase the rate at which bad bacteria grow and multiply on your skin, especially because bad bacteria in the skin actually trives in alkaline conditions whereas keeping your skin in an acidic condition gives it a better chance to be healthy .
So choosing the right cleanser is really an important first step and I will definitely recommend our Deep cleansing Face Wash which is excellent and ticks all the boxes in these areas.
- The next thing that you want to do if you’re someone who’s prone to acne, and you want to try and prevent this as much as you can, is by making sure that you’re exfoliating regularly. Proper and regular exfoliation will rid your skin of dead skin cells which otherwise can clog your pores and lead to acne.
So by exfoliating your skin regularly, you’re removing excess dead skin cells that will otherwise clog the pores and lead to acne.
Exfoliating regularly is definitely one sure way to ensure that your skin is in a good condition to avoid acne.
- Also, you want to use certain ingredients that are really beneficial for acne skin like salicylic acid which is a great ingredient for acne skin, because salicylic acid is able to penetrate into the pores of the skin and unclog blocked pores, which is one of the causes of acne.
So if you have blocked pores, and you’re already predisposed to having acne using products that contain salicylic acid will go a great way to help to ensure that your skin doe not get clogged, and reduces your chances of having acne.
- Some other factors that can also predispose one to acne include hormonal imbalance. There are certain factors that can affect ones hormonal balance such as the use of birth control pills or contraceptives in women. So if this is a problem for you, you might want to discuss with your gynaecologist to know what other options are available to you that may not be too disruptive for your hormones.
Diet -Sugar for instance, is a very big culprit when it comes to acne. And then there are so many other types of food that people have claimed can trigger acne, like eggs, milk, etc. While there is not enough scientific evidence to support some of these other food groups, in relation to acne, sugar is definitely one food group that has been scientifically verified to cause acne.
So cutting down on your sugar intake can go a long way to improving your skin condition. If you’re someone who has acne, you definitely want to reduce your sugar consumption because that might be one of the triggers for your breakouts.
- Stress- De-stress because stress is definitely another trigger for acne.
In conclusion, one sure and effective way to manage PIH is by managing or preventing acne . We can effectively manage our acne by doing the following:
- Effective cleansing
- Exfoliating using Alpha Hydroxy acid like lactic and glycolic acid, Retionol
- Using Topical products with good acne active like salicylic acid,
- Ensuring hormonal balance
- Reducing sugar intake and eating lots of fruits and vegetables
- Reducing Stress level.
If you already have acne? And now the acne has gone and you’re left with the scars? How can you manage the scars that are left behind after after the acne?
I have personally,experienced this myself and I’m currently dealing with some post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in certain areas of my face.
So this is what I do with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. And to be honest with you, I think the reason most people end up using skin lightening products is because they have post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and in trying to even out their skin tone, they’ve gone overboard and used either the wrong product or perhaps even the right products but in the wrong concentrations and this has definitely taken their skin over to the other side.
Here are the steps I would take to deal with PIH
- Natural brightening ingredients,- You need to know that the most effective products that you’re going to use are going to be gentle, natural, brightening ingredients like vitamin C, licorice extracts, Kojic Acid, bearberry extract, Arbutin etc.
These are natural skin lighteners that you can incorporate in your daily routine to help you deal with your hyperpigmentation issues. You can also incorporate actives like Glycolic colic acid and lactic acid to help with exfoliating the skin.
Chances are, if your post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is just on the top of your skin( that is on the epidermis),regular exfoliation would help to clear or reduce the pigmentation.
Sometimes, however, the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is deeper into your skin. So it’s way below the epidermis, maybe down into the Dermis as such, exfoliating agents might not really work very well, so it’s important to manage your expectations.
If the Pigmentation is on top of the skin surface, then regular exfoliation would improve the pigmentation issues. However, if the pigmentation is deep below the epidermis, then it’s going to take a longer time and the results will not be as quick as someone who has just a superficial pigmentation issues.
- Sun Protection-Another very important factor when you’re dealing with pigmentation issues is sun protection. Sun protection is something that I find that is very critical when you’re trying to correct post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
With PIH, there is already an activation and high influx of melanocytes to the skin, so excessive sun exposure will cause the spots to become even darker
So if you’re dealing with hyper pigmentation issues and you’re not covering up properly with some protection, then hyperpigmentation issues are not going to go away, in fact, they are going to get darker.
Therefore, it doesn’t make any sense trying to correct pigmentation issues and not wearing sunscreen.
Consistent wearing of sunscreen is very important and makes a whole world of difference when dealing with pigmentation issues on the skin. When you apply a sunscreen, you’re actually giving your skin an opportunity to heal naturally, so the skin lightening skin brightening products that you’re using can actually be more effective
I have personally noticed a lot of improvements just by wearing my sunscreen daily on a regular basis. So this is definitely something that I’m going to recommend to anyone who’s trying to deal with hyperpigmentation issues.
- Finally, the last thing that I need to talk about when dealing with pigmentation issues using natural skincare products, or topical products is patience.
Remember that the scars have been forming deep within your skin long before they came to the surface. So it’s not going to be an overnight miracle. It’s going to take a little time for you to get over your pigmentation issues. I’ve had my pigmentation issues now for over one year. And I’m seeing a lot of results. But I understand that it’s not going to be an overnight miracle and I am patient about it. So you really need to have a lot of patience when you’re working or trying to deal with hyperpigmentation issues.
But again, if you think that you don’t have the patience for it, and you think that you want quicker results, then you can go to you can go and see a board certified dermatologist.
Dermatologists have certain procedures available for people who want to deal with pigmentation issues. So they have things like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser treatments that deliver quicker results for people who are dealing with pigmentation issues.
So this is also another option for people who don’t have the patience to wait for topical products to work.
The length of time it takes to deal with pigmentation issues depends on:
How long you’ve had the pigmentation issues,
How deep it is within your skin, etc etc.
But with some procedures carried out by a board certified dermatologist, you can see results a lot more quicker. So these are the options that are available. I am currently and still dealing with my pigmentation issues using topical products, and I know that it does take a bit of time but I am willing to wait it out .
This is my personal experience on pigmentation issues.
I hope it helps someone out there