5 Causes of Skin Darkening

March 18, 2024

5 Causes of Skin Darkening

We’ve all heard our parents warn us about sun tan or swimming pool tan since childhood. And we still remember that voice: don’t forget to wear sunscreen! But should we really blame the sun for simply tanning our skin? There are benefits of taking a sunbath early in the morning: elimination of Vitamin D deficiency. But too much of anything can have harmful effects. Higher exposure to our sun’s UV rays can cause sunburns and hyperpigmentation. Due to immense tanning, people also complain of uneven skin tone, dark spots, and ugly scars. But what exactly causes such a skin-darkening effect on the epidermis layers? And what about other vitamin deficiencies? 

Melanin is a substance present in our body that causes pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes. The higher the amount of melanin present, the darker the appearance. This amount of melanin production depends on various factors, such as genetics and accentual exposure to the sun. Melanin can actually protect the skin from sun damage; hence, the darker the skin, the less uneven the skin tone. 

Indian skin has medium to high melanin, which naturally means we have a dusky-colored skin tone. Some individuals are blessed with even skin tone, while others with constant outdoor work struggle with hyperpigmentation and skin darkening.

There are five causes that directly lead to skin darkening in Indian skin: 

Cause 1: Hereditary Factors 

The genetic mechanism of human skin coloration is regulated by tyrosinase, which creates shades in skin, hair, and eyes. Skin pigmentation difference is directly proportional to the differences in size and distribution of melanin in the skin. There are two types of melanin: the common brown-black polymer of amino acids called eumelanin and the pink-red kind found in red hairs called pheomelanin. Both the type and amount of distribution is entirely controlled by the number of genes that operate under incomplete dominance where one copy of each of the various genes inherited by each parent forms the helix of the offspring's DNA - resulting in a mix of both parent’s skin tone, hair color, eye color, and other pigmentation. 

Cause 2: Skin Disorders 

Certain skin disorders cause the skin to smudge and become thicker, resulting in skin darkening. Skin diseases like Vitiligo, Eczema, Acne, Melasma, Skin Inflammation, and Trauma can cause the skin layers to thicken and lead to a darker appearance of the skin. Melasma is an avoidable skin-darkening side effect, if not a disorder, caused during pregnancy; it’s when the skin layers thicken or have imperfections due to hormonal changes in the woman’s body. Some areas of facial skin and stomach skin become blotchy and pigmented. 

Cause 3: Vitamin Deficiency 

When essential vitamins like A, E, C, and B complexes are insufficiently consumed, skin darkening and roughness are after-effects. Vitamin deprivation can also make the skin look dull and blemished. When there’s an acute deficiency in vitamins, there can be liver dysfunction in the body, which directly leads to hyperpigmentation of the skin and skin darkening. Vitamin B12 deficiency is primarily the leading cause of skin hyperpigmentation in Indian skin. 

Cause 4: Hormonal Changes 

Female Sex Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are the major factors that lead to catamenial skin hyperpigmentation due to the overproduction of melanin in the body. Generally, it happens in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, especially when the serum levels of the sex hormones are peaked. Also, during menopause, a natural decline in reproductive hormones causes skin pigmentation, dullness, wrinkles, and other aging signs. Hormonal imbalance skin looks extremely dry, rough, and sometimes flaky, indicating fatty acid and nutrient deficiency. 

Cause 5: Exposure To UltraViolet Rays

Yes, sun tan is fantastic in summer, but too much can damage the skin. The sun's harmful Ultraviolet rays cause the skin to overproduce melanin, leading to skin darkening. By chemically modifying melanin, UV radiation can induce immediate pigment darkening (IPD). It also causes spatial redistribution of melanosomes in keratinocytes and melanocytes in the skin, leading to darker spots or blemishes. UV exposure can lead to delayed tanning, which forms a new synthesis of melanin over several days after the UV exposure and persists for weeks. This kind of skin darkening can be reversible by using specific data products. Just like tanning takes weeks, the results from using detan products will surely take weeks to show up on the skin. 

We now understand what causes skin darkening and pigmentation and how it is directly linked to nutrition and overall health. But here’s how you can prevent skin darkening and skin hyperpigmentation: 

  • Avoid directly exposing yourself to the sun's rays, especially the summer sun, between 11 am to 3 pm. 
  • Try applying sunscreen before you go out. 
  • Wear protective clothing like longer sleeves, caps, and sunglasses if you have to be outdoors for work. 
  • Stay hydrated all day and consume at least 3 liters of water daily. 
  • Try reducing the intake of spicy, oily, and rich foods.
  • Replace the sugary desserts with fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E. 
  • Practice a proper skincare routine with products infused with natural ingredients like Namyaa
  • Avoid sunlamps, tanning beds, and laser treatments, as they release dangerous UV radiation.
  • Avoid scratching or picking on acne and other wounds or bug bites to prevent further harm to the skin. 
  • Use a mild face wash twice daily to remove dirt from clogged pores. 
  • Moisturize your skin to rejuvenate health and avoid skin darkening and damage. 

A professional dermatologist can certainly help you identify the kind of hyperpigmentation you’re having. But it’s always better to check your skin for dark spots, blemishes, tan marks, rough skin, patchy coloration in skin folds, etc. Using Namyaa’s skin care products; you can undoubtedly achieve your skin care goals and the best part. Namyaa suits all skin types! 

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