Every week I get at least one email asking me what to do about hyperpigmentation.
I’ve been there myself (my story below).
With hyperpigmentation, you need to work at getting rid of it while preventing it at the same time.
Skin care and lifestyle tips to fade hyperpigmentation naturally
Protect your skin from the sun
If you’re prone to hyperpigmentation, you need to protect your skin from the sun (it will only make hyperpigmentation worse).
- Avoiding strong sun between 10am – 3pm (in hot tropical environments, I would avoid the sun from 8am – 4pm)
- Wear hats and protective clothing
- Walk on the shady side of the street
- Wear a mineral sunscreen (I really like Suntegrity sun protection products, I recommend their 5 in 1 Tinted Sunscreen for the face. You can check out my review here.).
Only exfoliate your face at night, never in the morning
If you are doing any type of facial exfoliation, only exfoliate at night, never in the morning or during the day (and that includes using facial scrubs, peels, acid toners, and facial masks). If you go for facials, always schedule them for the end of the day or evening, never in the morning).
The reason why you don’t want to do any deep cleansing or exfoliation during the day is because the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin could very well be an extra protective barrier, protecting your skin from sun damaged and hyperpigmentation. The last thing you want to do is expose newly exfoliated skin to the sun, that’s just inviting inflammation, dark patches, and discolouration.
And the same with waxing facial hair – always do it at night, or book your appointment for the very end of the day. Waxing too exfoliates skin, and you don’t want to expose that fresh new skin to harmful sun rays.
Stay away from medications & skin care products that cause photosensitivity
Ingredients in your skin care products and medications can make your skin extremely sensitive to the sun (photosensitive), which can make you prone to hyperpigmentation.
Make sure to check with your pharmacist/chemist to make sure any medications you’re taking (including birth control pills and antibiotics) aren’t causing photosensitivity.
Ingredients in skin care products can cause photosensitivity, leading to hyperpigmentation:
- Retinoic Acid, Retinol, Retinoids
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids / AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, etc.)
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Perfume and fragrance
- Vitamin C (products containing high amounts of L-Absorbic Acid, 20% or higher)
As you can see, many of these ingredients in skin care products are used to exfoliate your skin and fade hyperpigmentation, but unfortunately they can make you prone to hyperpigmentation as well!
If you want to get rid of hyperpigmentation, and prevent it from coming back – I recommend staying away from these ingredients completely, or, use them at time of year when the sun isn’t strong.
If you must use skin care products with these ingredients, and you have hyperpigmentation; only use them at night (never during the day). And, make sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin during the day. Re-applying sunscreen is also important because sun protection wears off after a few hours.
Alternatively, you can also cycle these products and only use them in the cold fall and winter months when the sun isn’t strong, and take a break from them during the summer. Using skincare products with strong active ingredients in hot climates or when the sun is strong, can damage your skin. Not only can these ingredients cause hyperpigmentation, but sun damage, wrinkles, and premature aging too.
Decreasing fructose in your diet
Hyperpigmentation is caused by a combination of hormones, inflammation, and sun damage.
When it comes down to your diet, I find fructose to be most detrimental for hyperpigmentation.
The reason why is because it not only affects your hormones and spikes your blood sugar, but fructose is particularly damaging to your liver, which is also connected to your skin’s health.
It’s one of those things worth trying to decrease to see if it can help your skin.
To get started:
- Start by eliminating all foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup (colas, sodas, energy drinks, packaged juices, chocolate bars, candy, chips/crisps, bottled salad dressings, pre-made pasta sauces, fast food, ketchup, condiments, etc).
- Along with cutting high fructose corn syrup out of your diet, I also recommend you take agave nectar and honey out of your diet too.
- If you’re already eating a super healthy diet without high fructose corn syrup or added sweeteners and you have hyperpigmentation, I recommend cutting down on fruit. Yes, fruit is healthy, but for those of you with hyperpigmentation, the fruit in your diet could be making it worse. Do an experiment – cut down on the amount of fruit you’re eating for a month and see if that helps your skin (you might be pleasantly surprised!). You can continue eating berries and pomegranate, but the rest I recommend taking a break from.
For more information on diet and hyperpigmentation, check out this blog post Diet For Melasma.
My story of hyperpigmentation
I had hyperpigmentation a few years ago when I was on a raw food diet. At the time I was doing a high fruit raw vegan diet for a few months, and once the summer rolled around, patches of my skin on my upper lip and forehead started darkening.
As the days and weeks went by it was only getting worse and worse – the dark patches were getting bigger and bigger, darker and darker, and seemed to even be slightly raised.
Intuitively I knew it was the combination of eating A LOT of fruit and the sun.
So, I cut back on the amount of fruit I was eating . I didn’t completely cut the fruit out, I just decreased the amounts, and stuck with eating lower glycemic fruits like berries, and a little apple in my green juices. And within a few weeks the dark patches started to fade.
It took me a good 6 months to completely get rid of it (and for it to never to return).
Since that experience, I still eat fruit every day, but I’m mindful of how much I am eating. Once in a while I can do a raw food cleanse with a lot of fruit for a week or two and have no hyperpigmentation issues, but I’m sure if I went back to eating a high fruit diet for a few months straight those dark patches would definitely come right back.
I have to say, that experience scared me (a lot!). I use to love spending time in the sun, but since that one experience of hyperpigmentation and how long it took to get rid of it – I am now especially diligent with protecting my skin from the sun, and watching what I eat.
More blog posts and videos on hyperpigmentation and melasma
- Diet For Melasma & Hyperpigmentation
- Living Libations Products That Got Rid Of My Melasma
- Products For Hyperpigmentation & Melasma (What Worked, What Didn’t)
- Selecting The Right Sunscreen For Hyperpigmentation & Melasma
- Can Exercising Make Melasma Worse? (What You Need To Know)
I have terrible hyperpigmentation on my upper lip, chin, forehead, and now even my cheeks. I stopped birth control 12 months ago because I believed that to be the cause. I since have cut out gluten, dairy, processed foods, and threw away any products that contain chemicals. I eat almost 100% organic and for fruit I have at the most two servings a day. Mostly apples and dates. I also have acne around my mouth that I have never had my entire life and I’m 27. I do live at the beach and work outside a lot but have natural zinc sunscreen and hats on at all times. I’m not sure which is worse the acne or the dark patched on my face : (
I do have hormone issues from PCOS so I’m guessing that’s why nothing has worked yet.
Sorry to hear about the hyperpigmentation, I know how frustrating it can be. I think it could be the combination of PCOS and living by the beach (plus your body is still balancing out after being on birth control pills – I’ve been told by doctors it can take a year or two before your body gets back to balance after using birth control pills). Have you checked the ingredients in any skin care products you’re using if they could be reacting adversely to the sun? Based on my own personal experience, using skin care products with MSM has helped me a lot with reducing sun damage (it won’t take it completely away, but it can help). The thing with PCOS is it takes time for your body to balance out, heal, and get rid of the symptoms that comes with it – you just got to keep doing what your doing, you’re definitely on the right track.
I will certainly look to make sure nothing I use has any of the ingredients you mentioned. Any suggestions on a good Organic MSM product? I have not heard this before, but worth a try!
I’m not sure where you are located, but I recommend Oskia Skincare. All their products have MSM. I would say this is the only product line I’ve used that has significantly made a difference healing/resurfacing my sun damaged skin (especially under my eyes, I have discolouration and bumpy texture). These are good products for “resurfacing” or skin brightening (without nasty ingredients). I recommend Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel. You can also do an internet search for natural skin care products made with MSM, there’s definitely a few companies using it, and even check a health food store to see if anything is available in your area. MSM in skin care products is also great for healing scars, reducing inflammation, and some people swear by it to reduce stretch marks and sagging skin.
Thank you for all that helpful and useful info. I will check into it.
My pleasure 🙂
I am 36 years old, I recently stopped using products with hydroquinone in them and now my pigment is AWFUL. I know and have learned about how unhealthy hydroquinone is for your body. I to have hormonal issuing going on. I ordered your sunscreen recommendation but what else should I use on my skin to help with all the hyperpigmention? I saw you mentioned MSM or products containing MSM. Could you give more detail on that? It’s very embarrassing and I really don’t like people to have to look at me.
HI Brooke, I seem to have peaked everyone’s interest in the MSM! The product line I like is Oskia Skincare, based out of London. I don’t think these products are available in North America, but companies like Cult Beauty ship it free worldwide (I’ll definitely do a review in the near future). You can also do an internet search to see what other products are available containing MSM. I recommend Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel, I’ve been using it for over a year now (I alternate between Living Libations Best Skin Ever and Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel; Living Libations is great at keeping pimples away, keeping my skin smooth and calm, and Oskia is great at resurfacing my skin and repairing sun damage – the combination of the two has made my skin very happy!). But ya, look into MSM products, as I just mentioned to Amy (in the comment above), a lot of people have gotten great results using skincare products with MSM, not only for pigmentation and resurfacing, but also for scarring, tightening saggy skin and stretch marks.
Thanks for addressing this issue. It is very embarrassing, and no amount of makeup can cover this. Regarding Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, I was using it but I stopped because it was drying my skin too much.
Oh that’s too bad Jelena, it’s one of my favourite cleansers. I never had a problem with it being too drying (but of course I’ve got terribly oily skin). I also alternate it with Living Libations Best Skin Ever, which is an oil cleanser, so maybe that prevents dryness (I usually use Oskia in the morning, and Living Libations at night). Thanks for your feedback 🙂
P.S. Thanks for the advice, I will try to apply them.
Maybe it’s just the way my skin is. I have an acne prone skin, but dry and very sensitive. 🙁
Hi mama I Am simran 22 years old I have severe hyperpigmentation on forehead upperlips and worst on neck the one neck is most disheartening.
I havr used every whitening cream like hydroquinone kojic acid glyocolic acid and not only tjis I am on a diet eating fresh fruits vegetables.
But its like notjing working
Iam more concerned about my neck.
I recommend taking a break from eating fruits and breads and see if this helps. Many times it’s the carbohydrates and sugars (even natural sugars) in your diet that can be throwing your hormones off balance and causing you to be prone to hyperpigmentation. It’s also very important to wear sunscreen every day (this will protect the hyperpigmentation from getting darker, and allow it to fade).
Hi!I’ve hyperpigmentation on my face n I haven’t used any products that could b the cause for it neither does my diet conatin foods that could b the cause..pls recommend wat should u Use n eat
I recommend decreasing the carbohydrates in your diet which includes eating less fruit, less grains, no bread, no noodles or no pasta, no sugar, etc. Also, make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen, this will help to make sure the hyperpigmentation doesn’t get darker and allow it to fade.
i have hyperpigmentation on my whole neck and also on my cheeks i am taking high amount of lemon in my diet but i am not getting any result. and my hyperpigmentation is even spreading on my face. pls suggest me some natural ways to prevent it.
I would actually recommend reducing or cutting out all that lemon in your diet. Sometimes too much vitamin C and citric acid in the diet can make your skin photosensitive and cause the hyperpigmentation! Also, it’s really important to reduce all sugar in your diet because that could be causing it as well.
Thanks for the post. I am 38 and have been struggling with acne for 20 years and melasma for 10 years now. I struggle to find a skin care routine to treat both acne and melasma. For the past 9 months, I tried essential oils and organic, chemical free skin care products but my skin didn’t react to well – plenty of blackheads (which leave a dark brown circle scar around them without even trying to remove them) and melanoma got worse. Any suggestions for a complete skin care routine would be appreciated. Thanks.
I started having melasma on my cheeks.wondering if using Eucerin derma purifier cover stick Will aggreviate it. Been to dermatologist but for treatments only makes it seems worst.Am prepared to self do to prevent more fm coming out So hv been using sunblock n cover up for the protection on the patch.
Pulse advise what type of cover concealer best for melasma.
I would just use a regular makeup or concealer to coverup the pigmentation. The Eucerin one you are referring to has salicylic acid which can treat pimples, but it will just dry out the area with melasma, which will only make it worse. Best to follow my guidelines in this blog article, especially reducing carbohydrates in your diet and avoiding sun and heat.
mam please can u tell that these fruits are harmful for hyperpigmentation as u have it on my whole body
I would avoid the high sugar fruits like papaya, banana, mango, oranges, pineapple (or just have very small amounts). The pomegranate and goose berries are fine, as well as apples, pears, dragon fruit, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. Any fruit that isn’t super sweet is fine to eat.
After micronidling rf lazer treatment i got pigmentation .nw how i can get rid of it
It sounds to me you got burned from the laser treatment, and that’s what is causing the discolouration. Unfortunately it’s going to take time for it to fade. Best to completely stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen, and don’t exfoliate your skin during the day (you don’t want to do anything that will make your newer skin susceptible to sun damage). Your skin needs to heal, and the best thing you can do is protect it while it’s healing.
I have a hyper pigmentation on my mount and lips area i eat lost of fruit and veg but nothing dint work our pls suggest what to do
I would recommend eating less fruit and more vegetables. Fruit sugars like other carbohydrates can make hyperpigmentation worse (or even cause it if you’re eating too much of it).
Thank you for this post!! I’ve been trying to find something natural to help with my pigmentation for a while now…It really frustrated me whenever I went for a skin consult all they would offer were just essentially chemicals to lather on my face! No one ever quite understood that I wanted a natural approach… I eat quite well but I suppose I do eat quite a bit of fruit. How much fruit exactly would you recommend per day? The majority of my fruit that I eat is first thing in my morning smoothie. The fruit I add is normally a large banana, mango, and some form of berry (strawberry or blue berries). I’m just a little uncertain on the serving size of fruit and how much is too much… thank you again for this post!
I would recommend sticking with low glycemic fruits which are low sugar fruits like berries or green apples. For me, too much tropical fruits like mango and papaya really make pigmentation worse. I don’t completely avoid it, but I don’t eat too much of it either. With your smoothie, try just using a banana or mango, not both. And maybe experiment only having it once or twice a week instead of every day. It’s definitely worth trying.
Thank you for the wonderful post. I am 28 years old but look 10year older because of hyper pigmentation on my cheeks. I have pcos since last 3years. I hv tried all the natural remedies ranging from lemon to honey. The condition is terrible these days as Everyone asks me what happened to you?. I am highly worried. Pl help me to get rid of this.
I had PCOS, so I can definitely relate! I was able to reverse it, but you have to focus on being on a healthy diet and lifestyle, skincare products won’t do all that much. Please check out my blog post about my experience having PCOS —> https://www.inspirebeautyshop.com/the-pill-acne-pcos/
An Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement helps lower glucose levels and improves hyperpigmentation. An Evening Primrose supplement can help hyperpimentation caused by hormonal imbalances.
Here’s a toner that helped me 🙂
-alkaline mineral water (2oz spritz bottle)
-5 drops of Frankincense essential oil
-5 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Relieved inflammation and reduced my pigmentation
Thanks for sharing Leisa!
I am suffering from hyperpigmentation on My nose like an thick horizontal line running around my nose,
I have gone through several medications since I was suffering from almost six year and i am 21 years old male,
Following are the medications I have gone through:
Salicylic acid ,
But Either the cream worked,
What should I do now?
What is the reason behind it?
I am taking care of my skin like sunscreen and all that stuff,
But I can’t get rid of these pigmentation?
Please help me:-(
Two thing I recommend: eliminating sugar in your diet (even decreasing fruit), and make sure to be using a sunscreen with 15-20% zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide is the only sunscreen filter that sits on the surface of your skin and blocks UVA rays (UVA rays make hyperpigmentation worse). To make sure you are using the right sunscreen, and not a sunscreen that is just formulated to protect you just from UVB rays (sun burn), check the ingredient list of the product you are using. I can’t emphasize this enough, not all sunscreens offer the same protection and if you have hyperpigmentation, you need to be extra diligent. Also, wear a hat and avoid being outdoors during strong sun hours. When possible avoid getting hot, because internal heat does exasperate hyperpigmentation (that’s why it’s more of an issue in hot climates and summer months).
Does drinking apple cider vinegar twice daily contributing to my hyperpigmentation?
I don’t think so, but be careful drinking apple cider vinegar so regularly, make sure it doesn’t weaken your tooth enamel.
I am aged 30.I have pigmentation on my forehead and round my chin.I tried drinking carrot,beetroot for one month without any result.Now I switched over to tomato,Indian gooseberry juice.can this help clear my hyperpigmentation.can you suggest any natural remedy,juice.and also any sunscreen for oily,acne prone skin
I would be careful having juices made with a lot of carrots and beets – it’s very nutritious, but also high in sugar and sometimes too much sugar in the diet can make melasma worse (too much sugar can adversely affect out hormones and the liver, which can be connected to melasma).
Here is a blog post and video I did about diet for hyperpigmentation/melasma: https://www.inspirebeautyshop.com/diet-for-melasma/
I am still looking for a spf moisturizer to help with redness and hyperpigmentation but with no tint?
Any good suggestions?
Suntegrity has a sunscreen without a tint, click here.
I have melasma since 4 years ago, i do many things to fade it away, but it getting worse. My melasma get more bigger around my cheek and nose, and appear the new one on my forehead. I use honey, aloevera, turmerick, rosehip oil, tamanu oil, on my face but i don’t think it give me a good result. I avoid facial foam, so i just use oatmeal powder as a cleanser, but my melasma still there, not become more dark but it get bigger. I really confuse about it. I use sunscreen with zinc oxide to (i use sunplay and sensatia botanical naked sunscreen lotion).
But maybe i must try to eat more vegetables, avoid fruit with to much sugar and carbo.
Can you give me some suggestion?
Thanks so much..
Sorry to hear about your melasma struggles. Try decreasing fruit and carbs in your diet, try for at least 1-2 months to see if there’s any improvement. And also make sure nothing you are using on your skin is too strong or irritating. This could help.
I got melasma when I was pregnant it became worse when I was breastfeeding, it’s been a month now that I have stopped breast feeding but it looks like my melasma is getting darker. I really feel hopeless Abt my situation. My skin was never good 😭. Now melasma pores dark spots. When will it fade away
I’m sorry to hear about your melasma challenges. It takes about a year for your hormones and body to balance out after stopping breastfeeding, so don’t loose hope! I suggest keeping an eye on the sugars in your diet which can make melasma worse, make sure to use mineral sunscreen every day (zinc must be the active ingredient). If you haven’t already, you can try using a vitamin C serum to lighten the dark patches.