A baby’s skin is perfect, clear, and glowing. As babies we are born with a flawless skin, however, with age the skin loses its brightness. Everyone yearns for a radiant complexion and the demand for skin care products like moisturizers, scrubs, cleansers and toners is huge. No wonder, the market for skin care products is growing rapidly and the global skin care market is estimated to be 180 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
Skin health depends on multiple factors, like health, age, gender, lifestyle and geographical location. Common skin problems include pimples and acne, blemishes, freckles and dark spots. Many times, the colour becomes dull and uneven and some parts of the skin become darker compared to the surrounding skin. This is known as hyperpigmentation.
Melanin, a skin pigments is responsible for the colour of our skin, eyes and hair. A group of special cells called melanocytes present in the bottom layer of epidermis are responsible for producing melanin. Dark skinned people have more melanin than people with light-coloured skin. Hyperpigmentation happens when melanin production increases due to factors like stress, erratic schedules, unbalanced diet, sleep deprivation, climate, pollution, hormonal changes, pregnancy and mre.
Causes and Symptoms
Pigmentation, either localized or diffused, can manifest as brown, dark brown or black discolouration. Sometimes, there could be pink or purple patches.
The most common cause of hyperpigmentation is sunlight. Exposure to the sun's UV rays triggers hyperpigmentation, a mechanism to protect skin cells from getting damaged from radiation. Freckles, age spots, acne vulgaris, pregnancy, contraceptive medicines, hormone replacement therapy, exposure to certain chemicals, mercury poisoning, fungal infections are some triggers. The deficiency of B 12 and folic acid can also be responsible.
Hyperpigmentation is mostly harmless; however, it could be an indication of some underlying disease.
Hyperpigmentation is a challenging condition that can result in mental stress and depression. Today, with many treatment options available you can easily find relief.
It’s always wise to consult a dermatologist to rule out any underlying disease. As conventional treatment doctors suggest reducing sun exposure, using sunscreen, topical management, chemical peels, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and laser therapy. Ayurvedic approach is natural and non-invasive.
According to Ayurveda, the skin is governed by Vyana Vata and Bhrajaka Pitta. The latter, a sub dosha of Pitta is responsible for the colour of our skin. When Bhrajaka Pitta is imbalanced it manifests as redness in skin, rashes and pigmentation.
Ayurvedic approach to every problem involves pacification and balancing of three doshas by the administration of herbal formulations for topical and oral consumption to deal with the imbalance and elimination of toxins.
Amla, Giloy, Khadira and Anantmool are effective for treating hyperpigmentation.
A research paper by Vandana Meena and Anand K Chaudhary cites Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia Linn as an effective treatment for freckles and discolouration. The root can be used both externally and internally to improve skin
Anantmool ( Indian Sarsaparilla) with antioxidant, antiacne, antibacterial, and antifungal, antimicrobial properties, an effective remedy for hyperpigmentation is mentioned in a research paper by Sneha Dandekar
Eat fresh and lightly cooked food
Include seasonal juicy fruits in your diet
Drink plain water and coconut water to remove the toxins.
Avoid sun exposure
Follow a meditation practice to de-stress.
Take regular breaks from work to avoid stress
Explore Panchakarma therapy
- Cleanse your skin regularly with natural products. Avoid overuse of cosmetics.
- Mix ½ tsp of orange peel powder, sandal wood powder and Manjishta powder, each, and a pinch of turmeric powder in 1 tsp of honey and apply as a face pack.
- Mix 1 tbsp of gram flour (besan) with a pinch of turmeric and 2 tbsp of yogurt. Apply before bath for 15 minutes. This helps in removing and lightening freckles and clears tanning.
- Apply a few drops of Kumkumadi oil (a blend of saffron and six other herbs) on the affected area every day before bath for 30 minutes. This clears complexion and is effective for pimples, scars, blemishes and wrinkles.
- Make a paste of sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp of honey and 2 tsp of fresh rose petal paste and few drops of milk. Apply for 5 -10 minutes and wash with warm water.
- Exfoliate with a 1tsp of dried orange peel powder or walnut powder with Jajoba oil.
Skin is a reflection of health. To enjoy optimum health, Ayurveda insists on balancing and harmonising the three doshas. Work with an Ayurvedic doctor to create a holistic lifestyle.
It may take some time for any change to be visible, but the holistic approach will definitely give good results.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel.)
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