I woke up the other day and my twitter feed was full of the worst comments about Ashanti. I was so confused because sis has always been undeniably beautiful and here come the ignorant brigade not understanding that her body is probably the most adequate reflection of a natural woman. For those of you who don't know how common hyperpigmentation issues are, understand that about 80% of pregnant women in Mexico & 50-75% of pregnant women in the United States are affected by melasma which is a darkening of the skin possibly triggered by sun exposure or hormonal changes. Basically, women with natural melanin production sometimes can have darker skin in certain areas. Let's get into how this happens.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is just dark patches or dark spots on the skin. This happens when the skin begins to produce more melanin in one spot. This can happen for a number of reasons, some more common ones are melasma and sun spots or age spots. It can also occur with a lot of friction, so thick people may have hyperpigmentation on their inner thighs and in places where the skin creases like the groin area or underarms. It can also be the sign of more serious medical conditions and can occur anywhere on the body. Other times it's harmless unless society begins to attack you for being in your natural state.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation Naturally
The natural production of melanin when the body is injured or experiencing a hormonal change is a force to be reckoned with. It is easier to correct and will require constant treatment to maintain results. While many people who want to go the natural route may pick up a lemon to lighten their dark spots, lemons alone don't always have enough power to balance melanin on darker skin on its own. Here is a list of oils that help reduce hyperpigmentation when applied topically:
Remember when using essential oils, you should always dilute them with a carrier oil or a butter base to avoid burning. If you aren't ready to start making your own brews, you can always look at the skin brightening options that I make and list here at Bella's Apothecary. These creams and oils have a carefully selected batch of essential oils mixed to ensure comfortable usage on the most sensitive body parts. To see a before & after with review of the Harmony Bleaching Cream, check out this YouTube video. Try out one of the products above to aid in healing sun damage or hyperpigmentation issues like melasma. If you discover that you require something stronger after 10 weeks of consistent application, email me and I will personally work on a custom blend to suit your needs. Until then, take care of yourself & love the skin you're in. Remember, the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice and you look great.
We have all had it happen, a mysterious breakout of tiny bumps with no head that are the same color as our skin. Congrats! You just noticed your skin texture changing. Now, this could be happening for a number of reasons; most commonly because dead skin cells have built up on the skin's surface. However, uneven skin texture can also be cause by excessive exposure to the sun or dehydrated skin. If you fail to successfully deal with texture, it can escalate and turn into acne when bacteria, dirt and oils are trapped in pores and clogging them. While everyone's skin is different, the basics apply here: keep your skin clean and moisturized. Aside from that, no one skin care regimen is a fix all for everyone. You will need to analyze your skin and what works for you. I just want to help you understand what is happening to your skin and some tips on what can be done to treat it naturally.
When we talk about clogged pores, it's kind of ambiguous. Quite a few of you are reading this and wondering what you're doing wrong because you're an avid face washer. Pores clog because of a combination of things like dirt from the day or your pillowcase, oils that your skin could naturally be producing or a moisturizer that doesn't complement your skin type, and also bacteria, dead skin cells and sweat. Check to make sure your products aren't rating high on the comedogenic score, meaning they don't clog pores. As a rule of thumb I don't use anything rated a 3 or higher on my face as it's almost a guaranteed breakout, that means no coconut oil on my face and for sure no wheat germ oil. To learn more about various oils and their comedogenic score, click here.
Excessive sun exposure can damage the skin in many ways, from mild to severe structural changes. The sun may feel warm and inviting but it can also dry out unprotected areas of skin and deplete the body of the oils it naturally produces to lubricate the skin. These changes can be seen happening and are can be stopped and reversed if caught early enough. Let's talk about the most common types of sun damage to the skin :
Prevention & Treatment
As I said earlier, cleaning your skin and keeping it moisturized and hydrated is imperative. Without these basic functions your skin is really just going haywire and it may not react well to other treatments that are only targeting certain issues. A good starting place is your cleanser and making sure that it's not overly drying. You don't have to strip your face of moisture for it to be clean. In fact, one of the deepest cleanings you will get is with an oil cleanser like the one we make to unclog pores, gently exfoliate skin and kill bacteria. You can find that cleanser by clicking here. If, by chance, you're one of those people who haven't quite been convinced by the arguments for oil cleansing, you can check out the Fleur Savon made with rose petals. This soap is gentle on the skin and helps maintain your skin's natural PH balance and you can learn more about that soap by clicking here.
Using natural forms of alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, complete with various enzymes and protection from sun exposure is the best start to fighting against uneven skin texture. Albeit, natural remedies may take longer than synthetically derived acids. Patience is key because the chemical alternatives often have some harsh side effects that nobody is interested in experiencing on their journey to healthier, smoother skin. Even if you don't try on of the products made by Bella's Apothecary, you can still try your own mixes at home. Here are some helpful hints when using natural alternatives for synthetically derived chemicals to clean the face:
Combining these oils with carrier oils that have a low comedogenic score and using them to cleanse the face at least once a week will provide a deep clean that is also gentle on the skin and is not drying. Committing to keeping the surface area of the skin healthy, you are strengthening the barrier layer of the skin. Also, the gentle exfoliation allows the texture to smooth out, solving for keratinization abnormalities that may have resulted from overly dry skin. You can also use carrier oils that have a low spf like shea butter, coconut oil or almond oil which all have an SPF of about 4-6. You can add a bit of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which can have an SPF of anywhere from 2-20 depending on how much you add. This will help keep you skin healthy, allow for Vitamin D production & keep the coral reefs safe. It's a real win win for everyone.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on harsh, synthetically derived chemicals that can dry out skin and exacerbate skin texture issues, be a bit more caring as a part of your self-care routine. Make your own facial products, try one of the ones made at Bella's Apothecary, or email me to get a custom product made to tackle your individual skin concerns. Also, let me know some of the natural alternatives you have used on your quest to healthier, smoother skin in the comments.
Bella Eiko is a single mother of a 6 year old boy, freelance journalist, foodie & Civil Rights activist that is dedicated to building a better world by increasing communication & applying positive changes to her everyday life. This endeavor includes educating both herself as well as her son about sustainable living and healthy alternatives to everyday products using practical application.