Skin is the body’s largest organ, and the way it looks greatly affects your appearance. While common skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles can take a toll on your complexion, hyperpigmentation takes things to an extreme by creating dark patches and uneven skin tones.
Although this condition is harmless in terms of your physical health, it can be a hard one to deal with and can damage your self-confidence. And, unfortunately, it’s a somewhat common condition that many people live with. Read on to learn more about hyperpigmentation and how Vitamin E can help fight back against its visible effects.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation isn’t any one single condition. Instead, it’s a blanket term that refers to skin that appears darker across different areas of the body—often the face, hands, chest or other sensitive skin areas. That said, darkened areas can vary in size and develop anywhere.
Hyperpigmentation isn’t harmful but can be a symptom of other medical conditions. The most common types of hyperpigmentation include:
- Melasma. Scientists believe this form of hyperpigmentation is caused by hormonal changes, particularly during pregnancy. Melasma can appear on any area of the body, but dark spots on the stomach and face are the most common.
- Sunspots. Many people have sunspots due to excess sun exposure over time. This form of hyperpigmentation is also called liver spots or solar lentigines, and they most commonly appear on areas that receive significant sun exposure, including the arms, hands and face.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This form of skin darkening is caused by injury or inflammation to the skin. Acne is the most common cause of this type of hyperpigmentation.
Risk factors for hyperpigmentation include sun exposure and inflammation, since they increase melanin production. Certain disorders can cause other risk factors for hyperpigmented patches, including:
- Oral contraceptive use or pregnancy
- Prescription drugs that cause greater sensitivity to sunlight
- Trauma to the skin, including wounds or burns
- Darker skin types which are more prone to pigmentation changes
Vitamin E as a natural skincare ingredient
Vitamin E is one of the 13 essential nutrients your body needs for survival. It’s a powerful antioxidant that fights harmful free radicals that naturally occur due to diet and exercise habits, as well as exposure to air pollution and UV light. An abundance of free radicals causes oxidative stress, which damages cells throughout the body.
In terms of skin health, oxidative stress causes several premature signs of aging—with hyperpigmentation being just one of them. Vitamin E fights against these free radicals and prevents the harmful effects of oxidative stress from affecting your skin health.
More and more, people are using topical Vitamin E products to combat free radical-skin damage and preserve a youthful complexion.
Vitamins E and C form a powerful pigmentation duo
Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant. Combined with Vitamin E, the two form a powerhouse duo that protects your skin health—the combination is more effective in preventing skin damage than either vitamin alone. Since each vitamin combats a different type of UV damage, the combination of the two can be highly effective against hyperpigmentation. Use both Vitamin E and vitamin C products, or a product that contains both, to give your skin double the antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
Try an overnight Vitamin E treatment
If you’re looking to reduce troublesome areas of hyperpigmentation, Vitamin E oils or serums can help. Since the oil has a thick consistency, it’s best to let it absorb overnight so your skin can soak in the most benefits. Here’s how to apply a Vitamin E overnight treatment:
- Wash your face thoroughly, removing all makeup or other skin products. Rinse the skin then pat dry.
- Using pure Vitamin E oil, mix one or two drops with a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil.
- Apply the mixture to your skin with your fingers, rubbing in a circular motion to stimulate circulation and get an even coat on your skin.
- Wait at least 20 minutes before laying down or resting your face on any surface. Repeat the process once or twice each week to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and other skin concerns.
Talk to your dermatologist about hyperpigmentation remedies
While you can’t completely erase all signs of damage to your skin, you can minimize them with the help of antioxidants like Vitamin E. If you’re concerned about hyperpigmentation or any other skin blemishes, make an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss effective solutions to reduce them.