Hyperpigmentation: My Personal Journey and Tips
Have you ever looked in the mirror and said "WTF, Why am I still dealing with this on my XYZ?" If you have, let me tell you:
You Are Not Alone.
For someone who struggles from Hirsutism, this is nothing new. I'm sure we’ve all tried just about everything under the sun to get rid of those pesky dark marks of hyperpigmentation. If you have a lot of peach fuzz, I'm guessing you don't really have this problem. But if you do, that means you have thick, dark, coarse hairs somewhere on your body sprouting out the surface of your skin and nose diving right back in like a dolphin in the ocean.
I wanted to write about the annoyance of hyperpigmentation. I feel like this is the second if not first worst thing to deal with in our everyday lives. Not only do we try to remove the hair from all the visible areas of our appearance, we try to cover the face scarring the ingrown hairs left behind. It's one thing to go through puberty dealing with pimple outbreaks but it's another to have a parade of ingrown hairs bombarding your life. What I'm trying to say is: if you're reading this you and I are both tired of the dark spot situation. So without further ado, I want to give you my history and tips of the different remedies I’ve tried to try to clear my hyperpigmentation:
Acne Spot Treatment Systems
I've only tried two systems in my whole life, both of which I used during high school. The Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Black Opal Beauty Acne Systems. At the time, I didn't know I was suffering from hirsutism. I didn't understand that my problem wasn't the acne, it was the ingrown hairs. Don't get me wrong, all the blemishes on my face had cleared up, the problem was on my neck! The Clean and Clear helped with regular pimples, and reducing swelling and the Original Black Opal faded my dark spots, but my face started to look ghostly. So to anyone of color: avoid hydroquinone. It's a bleaching chemical that can make you look ghostly or in other words, have an ashy skin tone like the gross sisters. (Proud Family anyone?)
As far as peels go in general, I personally don't care for them because of skin irritation, sun exposure, and trying to cover the peeling process. You really have to find a good sunscreen to apply that won't give you a stinging feeling on the exposed areas. What didn't work for me may work for others. No hate here.
Creams and Agents
Now I know you've all heard of Noxzema & Cocoa Butter. Everyone and their mama suggested using these in the early 2000s. I can tell you that Noxzema never worked for me. Cocoa butter just helped me get more pimples (the oil clogged my pores), but it did become the BEST moisturizer for my lips! For those who want to know, I used the cocoa butter stick (the thick chunky yellow one). I've tried Tend Skin as well just to get rid of the ingrown hair. That helped a little, but had to stop using it due to irritation over time.
The only natural skin bleaches I tried were the lemon juice, honey, and potato juice mix. All of which had their pros and cons. Lemon juice darkens spots due to sun exposure and citrus ingredients can lead to the sun frying your skin... Lo and behold you're now worse than you started off (100 SPF for all you essential oil users). Honey is a sticky mess and I didn't like the feeling. Using potato juice worked for a while, but it was too much work to have to be constantly making it. I found out that the russet potato turns pink both from oxidation and extraction.
What Actually Worked
What worked for me is very simple. I washed my face with African Black Soap (the real stuff), that's the best soap, PERIODT. Next, you'd be surprised to know a lot of people don't know about this…..
Now I'm not saying go out and tear up your skin with something hard like sea salt or sand. I'm saying something soft, very fine, damn near powder. In my case, I am already partially exfoliating with the black soap but my true go to is just using a razor. That's right! Everytime I had to remove some hair, I took a NEW single blade razor, and shaved in the direction of the hair growth, NOT against it. Oh but that's not all, I shave with natural 100% Raw Shea Butter. The reason why I shave with shea butter is because it moisturizes your skin, it loosens up the dead skin, and it also shields the sun, making it a natural sunscreen. After, I apply my Umber Hair Reducing Fade Oil which helps to speed up the process… and BAM! You will start to notice the dramatic decrease of ingrown hairs and the dark spots will begin to fade and clear up.
Super simple and effective.
Here’s an image of my progress. The photo on the left was taken December 2019 and the photo on the right was taken April 2020. The lighting is different but you can still see the incredible progress I’ve had and how light my darks spots have become.
CEO of Umber, by J. Lenay