What Causes Hyperpigmentation on African American Skin?

What causes hyperpigmentation also known as dark spots on African American Skin?  Hyperpigmentation or skin discoloration can be caused by many factors.

  • Exposure to UV rays- With melanin being your greatest asset, it will not always protect you from the rays of the sun.
  • Heredity- 30% of African Americans, Asians and Latino Americans are prone to dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
  • Skin Lesion-  Focal (what you can see) hyperpigmentation is usually after you get an injury like a cut, a burn or you get affected by conditions like acne or pimples.
  • Hormonal Changes-Changes in estrogen levels during pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills can cause dark spots on your face and body.
  • Medications- Sometimes hyperpigmentation may be caused due to side effects of certain medicines such as Antibiotics, Anti-Cancer drugs, Antipsychotic drugs and Arsenic. Yes Arsenic is found in some topical medications.  Scary!
  • Diet- According to recent studies certain diets with foods like parsley and lime can cause hyperpigmentation.  These foods contain Psolarens that make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.

How Do You Treat Hyperpigmentation?

There are several ways that hyperpigmentation can be treated.  Laser skin refurfacing, Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, chemical skin lightening products, oral supplements and natural topical gels and creams.  You definitely want to make sure that the person giving you any of these treatments are well versed and experienced in caring for African American Skin.

The list of natural skin lighteners are long.  Some natural lighteners include cucumber, derivatives of Vitamin B3 and B5, Kojic acid, Lemon extract, Vitamin C, Arbutin, Bearberry  extract, bilberry, sugar maple etc.

However, apart from the natural skin treatments, there are a myriad of chemical ingredients that offer quick enhancements when applied to your skin.  Hydroquinone, the most powerful of skin whitening ingredients, inhibits the growth of melanin and tyrosinase, the two principal agents responsible for skin pigmentation.  It does not come without its negatives.

Hydroquinone, which has been banned in Europe, is not all it’s cracked up to be.  What we’re not often told is that hydroquinone can not be used everyday for a prolonged period of time.  If you continue to use it, you will get the reverse out come of what you wanted.  Prolonged use will actually begin to turn your skin darker  and in some cases give it an appearance as though its been burned.  Prolonged use can also trigger internal organ damage in some cases especially to your liver.

Hydroquinone, cortisone and mercury iodine make your skin thinner and will damage your collagen.  Hydroquinone and benzene also have high percentages of cancer causing cells.

The choice is yours, please consider all of your options.  Beauty’s not only skin deep, it goes to your cellular level.

Dedicated To Your Beauty,

Juliette Samuel,


NYRAJU Skin Care


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