Pigmentation is a common skin problem in Singapore. It can be caused by various factors, including sun exposure, hormonal changes, and genetics. At 1Aesthetics, we recommend laser treatments for our clients as they are proven to be effective in pigmentation removal. Laser treatments work by penetrating your skin and targeting the melanin that is responsible for discolouration.
Nevertheless, we understand that people would like to try some natural remedies to treat their pigmentation. While these remedies might have some benefits, they are usually not suitable for severe pigmentation issues. They can also lead to complications like allergic reactions and chemical burns.
To help you make an informed decision about pigmentation treatment, we cover in this article common home remedies, how they work and what their safety profiles are like.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which has skin lightening skin effects. Apple cider vinegar also contains polyphenols that can act as antioxidants and protect your skin from darkening.
However, apple cider vinegar can also cause skin irritation when not used correctly. The acetic acid concentration can be too harsh for some people's skin.
When applied directly to the skin, apple cider vinegar can upset the skin's natural pH balance, leading to dryness, itching, and redness. Additionally, the acidity of the vinegar can damage the skin's natural protective barrier, making it more vulnerable to environmental damage and infection.
Undiluted apple cider vinegar has a pH of around 2-3, which is highly acidic and can cause a chemical burn or skin injury if applied directly to the skin. This is why home remedy recipes often instruct users to dilute apple cider vinegar with water before applying it to the skin.
If you have sensitive skin, perhaps it is better to avoid potential irritants like apple cider vinegar and instead seek medical-grade skincare for your pigmentation.
Yoghurt is rich in probiotics, which can ease inflammation and redness associated with pigmentation. It also contains lactic acid, a natural exfoliant that can remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.
The presence of lactic acid has led many to believe that applying yoghurt to the skin can reduce the appearance of pigmentation and even out skin tone.
While lactic acid can help with pigmentation by exfoliating dead skin cells, its concentration in yoghurt is too low to have much of an impact. Furthermore, deeper pigmentation may require more potent treatments, and the concentration of lactic acid in yoghurt may not be high enough to produce significant results.
Instead, for more efficient exfoliation, we recommend an alpha hydroxy acid serum with higher concentrations of lactic acid.
Green tea has been recommended as a natural remedy to lighten pigmentation. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a powerful antioxidant found in green tea that has many potential health benefits, including its ability to reduce the appearance of pigmentation.
EGCG works by inhibiting the production of melanin, which is responsible for the colour of our skin. By blocking the action of the enzyme tyrosinase, EGCG can help to reduce the production of melanin, leading to a lighter, more even skin tone.
However, the effectiveness of EGCG in removing pigmentation can vary depending on the type and severity of the pigmentation. For instance, pigmentation that is deeper in the skin may require a more potent treatment to be effective. Moreover, the concentration of EGCG in green tea may not be high enough to produce obvious results.
The efficacy of EGCG can also depend on how it is delivered to the skin. The common home remedy recommendation is to place soaked green tea bags on pigmentation spots. However, with this method, the EGCG may not be able to penetrate the skin deep enough to have a major effect on pigmentation.
Lemon juice is a popular home remedy for treating pigmentation, thanks to its natural bleaching properties. The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and reducing the production of melanin, which can lead to a lightening effect on the skin.
However, lemon juice is not the safest choice when it comes to skin lightening treatments. Citric acid can brighten skin and improve pigmentation. However, in some cases, it can worsen pigmentation.
This is because citric acid is harsh and can cause skin irritation, redness, and chemical burns if used incorrectly. The irritation can cause inflammation, which can trigger the production of melanin, leading to more pigmentation.
Furthermore, lemon juice can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can increase the risk of sun damage and darken existing pigmentation.
Baking soda is a common household ingredient that has been used as a natural remedy for a variety of skin conditions, including pigmentation. Baking soda is alkaline in nature, which means it can help to neutralise acids in the skin and remove dead skin cells. This can lead to a brighter, smoother complexion and may help to even out skin tone. However, its effectiveness at reducing pigmentation is limited as it cannot penetrate the skin enough to address deep pigmentation.
Moreover, baking soda can have adverse side effects on the skin if not used properly. Its alkaline nature can disrupt the natural pH balance of the skin, leading to irritation, dryness, and even chemical burns. The large and abrasive particles of baking soda can also cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to further irritation and inflammation. This can exacerbate existing pigmentation and lead to more skin damage.
If you are struggling with pigmentation and want a solution that can still be used at home, you can consider medical-grade skincare products. Unlike home remedies, which can be hit or miss, medical-grade skincare products are backed by scientific research and have been clinically tested to ensure their efficacy and safety.
These skincare products contain a higher concentration of active ingredients, such as retinoids, hydroquinone, and alpha hydroxy acids, which have been shown to be effective in treating pigmentation.
These ingredients work by increasing cell turnover, promoting collagen production, and inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
In contrast, home remedies, such as lemon juice, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar, may have some mild bleaching or exfoliating properties, but they lack the concentration and potency of medical-grade skincare products.
Most importantly, medical-grade skincare products are formulated to penetrate deeper into the skin, where they can target the root cause of pigmentation issues. Home remedies, on the other hand, can only work on the surface of the skin, making them less effective in treating pigmentation.
While we encourage the use of good skincare products to support your daily skin wellness at home, we would also advise you to consider laser treatment to significantly improve your pigmentation. Laser treatment is non-invasive and highly effective at removing pigmentation.
Lasers for pigmentation removal, unlike medical products and home remedies, are very precise and quick in producing results. They work by emitting a high-intensity light beam that penetrates the skin and targets the melanin pigment in the affected areas. This causes the pigment to break down and be absorbed by the body, resulting in a more even skin tone.
If you are thinking of home remedies to tackle your pigmentation, we hope we have given you pause to consider the dangers together with the purported benefits. It is always best to speak with a professional to evaluate which treatment option is best for your specific needs and skin type.
At 1Aesthetics, our pigmentation removal treatment plans are not limited to just using machines. Besides offering laser therapy, we place great importance on your aftercare, which may include sun protection and topical and oral medication. We want to help you get results that last.