Essential Oils for Hyperpigmentation

At one point or another, most of us will experience hyperpigmentation—a common occurrence in which parts of your skin darken, usually in dots and spots. Hyperpigmentation in the form of age spots is virtually inevitable for anybody who has ever spent time in the sun. Even if you’ve never actively sunbathed or tanned, you will still have acquired cumulative sun damage over the course of your life. Hyperpigmentation can also occur from acne – post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is often a side effect of a healed acne lesion that can make your complexion uneven. 
If you want to minimize the appearance of dark spots on your skin, there are ways to help them gradually fade away so that they’re less noticeable. One popular natural solution is topically by applying certain essential oils. Here, we’ll look at some popular essential oils for hyperpigmentation.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is most often the result of excess sun exposure, but acne and hormonal changes are also causes. Hyperpigmentation is usually harmless, but it can sometimes cause confidence issues in those who experience it. It can also be difficult to cover up with makeup if it is especially prominent. From a physiological standpoint, this darkening of the skin is a result of an excess of melanin, which is a brown pigment that gives hair, eyes and skin their color. Some people naturally have more melanin than others, yet regardless of skin tone, hyperpigmentation can affect anyone. It usually results in an uneven skin tone that can skin look patchy. 
 
A condition like melasma often results from hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, which result in an excess of melanin in the skin. People who take birth control pills may also experience hyperpigmentation due to similar hormonal changes. 

Essential Oils for Hyperpigmentation

The best way to avoid hyperpigmentation is to always wear SPF, stay in the shade and cover up with hats and long-sleeved clothes. Other than that, one of the most effective ways to fight hyperpigmentation is by using ingredients that can inhibit tyrosinase – the enzyme responsible for producing melanin – in the skin. This can, in turn, result in a reduction of melanin, helping to fade away dark spots to match the surrounding skin colour. 
Any essential oil that contains vitamin C can potentially be effective against hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can treat hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase to prevent melanin production [1]. 

Here's a video by the Luxe Aethtician Erin Tinsley highlighting the wonders of Vitamin C. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is often touted as a skin lightener. The truth is that while tea tree oil has been proven to be effective in treating acne lesions [2], there’s no clear evidence that it can treat acne scars. However, acne scars are the after-effects of an inflamed pimple and not an actual pimple. Though tea tree may not necessarily be able to treat hyperpigmentation, it can help prevent it by fighting the acne lesions that ultimately become scars. It’s important to remember to never pick at or pop a pimple, which can make hyperpigmentation more likely.

Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil can be applied to the skin after dilution. It has a high vitamin C content, so it can be helpful in reducing hyperpigmentation. Lemon essential oil has also been shown to be effective in fighting acne [3]. In this way, it can also help prevent acne and the accompanying scarring.
Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is another natural source of vitamin C, making it a powerful agent against hyperpigmentation. There is also vitamin A (retinoids), another ingredient found in rosehip oil, which can help boost cell turnover to remove dead skin cells and allow new skin cells to emerge [4]. This can ultimately help fade away dark spots as old skin cells are shed and removed, taking the hyperpigmentation with them. 

Argan Oil

Often used as a carrier oil, argan oil is also rich in vitamin A. As mentioned above, vitamin A can help reduce hyperpigmentation by helping to slough away dead skin cells to reveal new, fresh skin underneath.

Bonus: Camu Camu

Camu camu is a berry fruit that has one of the highest naturally occurring concentrations of vitamin C in nature. As vitamin C is excellent and highly effective at reducing melanin in the skin and fading away dark spots. Camu camu also contains niacin, another brightening ingredient that can combat hyperpigmentation. LUXE Botanics’ Camu Brightening Line is an option to try for a glowing, radiant and brighter complexion.
Note: Before applying any essential oil topically, do a patch test first to see if you may possibly have an allergic reaction. It is also best to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba or olive.

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