Hyperpigmentation is one of those skin conditions that really gets to people who suffer from it. Don’t take my word for it, just google it and see how many people suffer from this and are looking for a solution. I myself have had many comments and emails about it on my homemade moisturizer posts, so this week I made it my mission to develop a DIY hyperpigmentation cream that can help ease some of the symptoms.
You’d be surprised by the number of people who suffer from hyperpigmentation and how much it can affect our self-esteem. One of my friends is a sufferer, and she tells me regularly how it makes her feel so self-conscious. Let’s not even discuss how much makeup she goes through trying to cover it up and how much money that sets her back. But what if there was a hyperpigmentation cream that could help even out those dark spots?
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
But first, what is hyperpigmentation? If we look at the different components that make up our skin, one particular cell is responsible for the dark spots that we associate with hyperpigmentation. These are the ‘melanocytes‘. These tiny cells are found in the lowest parts of the epidermis and are the building blocks of our skin color.
When skin is exposed to the sun a message is sent to these cells telling them to produce a substance known as melanin, which helps to block the damaging UV rays from penetrating deeper into our skin. It’s important to note that people with naturally dark skin tones do not have more melanocytes than fairer skinned people, but rather their melanocytes are simply more active.
But due to a variety of factors, such as skin damage (via sun exposure, inflammation or other skin injuries), acne and various medical conditions, some melanocytes can become more active than others. When melanocytes have divergent activity in this way, patches of skin can become more pigmented than others.
This is what we refer to as ‘hyperpigmentation‘. Those of us with naturally darker skin tones are more susceptible to this condition than fairer people, but absolutely anyone can experience this and it is very common across the globe.
So What Can We Do About It?
So I did my research, trawling through my books on natural skincare but also the web. I found a whole host of ingredients that can help to reduce the visible signs of this condition, and I narrowed the list down to a few key ones that should help anyone who suffers from this debilitating condition. These ingredients can be used to create a powerful homemade hyperpigmentation cream, the recipe to which I will share with you in this post.
While this cream will certainly help mask the symptoms, it is important to keep in mind that this will not cure the condition. Hyperpigmentation is still a bit of a mystery to us and while a cure could be on the horizon, it just isn’t here right now. But nevertheless, we natural skincare formulators are always trying to find ways to improve the look and quality of our skin, so why would hyperpigmentation be any different?
So let’s take a look at the different ingredients I’ve chosen for this recipe and discuss how they will perform in this formulation.
Supplies for the best homemade hyperpigmentation cream
- Distilled Water – 60g
Other Ingredients and Botanicals
- Vitamin E – 1g
- Broad Spectrum Preservative – 0.5-1g
- Carrot Seed Essential Oils – 4 drops
- Frankincense Essential Oil – 3 drops
This should produce roughly 100g of cream, and so you should choose a container that can hold this amount. Ensure the container is made of glass, PET plastic or aluminum.
Notes on Ingredients
So let’s take a look at these ingredients in more detail. I’ll be excluding any talk about the water, emulsifying wax, preservative, and vitamin e, as these are necessary for the foundations of oil in water emulsions or because adding them is just good formulation practice.
- Let’s talk base oils. Evening Primrose Oil is one of the best carrier oils for hyperpigmentation. It’s a wonderful toning oil that can do wonders for evening out dark spots.
- Rosehip Seed Oil is similar, although you may have read about it being used specifically for acne scarring and the associated dark spots that can come along with that (although it does its magic on all dark spots, not just acne ones).
- If either of these carrier oils don’t excite you much, you could swap one of them out for Tamanu Oil, which is equally good, just more expensive (at least it is for me in my area) without any better results.
- Now, let’s discuss essential oils. So Carrot Seed Essential Oil is your go-to for dark spots. It’s absolutely amazing at evening out skin tones. Its high beta-carotene content reduces pigmentation in the skin by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme produced in our melanocytes that is responsible for the production of melanin. It’s really great stuff and your formulation would not be complete without it.
- Frankincense is another good EO for hyperpigmentation. While not nearly as good as Carrot Seed, it does have some powerful abilities to lighten and brighten skin. If you’re not planning on using this as a day cream, you could easily substitute frankincense for lemon essential oil (which has proven properties of lightening dark spots and the pigmentation of skin in general). I only worry because Lemon EO has the problem of being phototoxic when you’re out in the sunlight. If it’s a night cream, feel free to substitute.
- Oh, I might as well mention here that the shea butter doesn’t really help all that much to reduce hyperpigmentation. However, it does leave your skin feeling lusciously soft and super smooth! I don’t know about you, but having too many moisturizers is just a pain.
- You want one or two that do their job well, and shea butter helps make this cream more versatile. Not only will it help alleviate dark circles, but also works as a high-performance moisturizer as well!
How to make DIY hyperpigmentation cream
Step 1: First, take the time to measure out all of your ingredients, with the exception of the essential oil, vitamin e oil, and the preservative. Ensure your water and oil phases are in separate beakers.
You’ll notice my water is a deep reddish color. This is because I am using a homemade rose petal hydrosol. I’m making this for a friend, and she just loves everything rose. Because we’re not using a rose essential oil, I thought it would be a nice personal touch to use a rose hydrosol. She just loves the thought of applying rose to her skin.
This is an important thing to keep in mind when making custom/bespoke skincare gifts for your friends and family. If there is a way you can add something that really gives your product a personal touch and it doesn’t negatively affect the formulation, you really should.
While rose hydrosol doesn’t add anything to the formulation that will benefit my friend’s hyperpigmentation (although rose hydrosol has many lovely benefits for our skin), it doesn’t detract anything from it either. It just makes the gift feel extra special and when I told her I had added some she was even more excited to start using it.
Otherwise, you can use ordinary distilled/bottled water.
Step 2: Place both beakers, one with your water phase and one with your oil phase, into a water bath. Simply fill a pan with a couple of inches of water, bring it to a boil, turn it down to just a simmer and then place the beakers into the pan.
You want to leave the beakers in the water bath for as long as it takes for the shea butter and emulsifying wax the melt. Ensure that the water is only ever simmering, and never actually boiling. This process should take around 15-20 minutes but may vary. Keep your eye on it at all times and stir occasionally.
Step 3: Now that your shea butter and wax have completely melted, remove from the water bath. Be careful not to burn yourself as the beakers will be very hot.
Once out of the water bath, go ahead and pour the water into the oil. Always pour the water, as you will lose too much oil to the sides of the beaker if you attempt to pour the other way around. You will notice immediately that the mixture changes color and become quite opaque.
Step 4: Now we have mixed both our water and oil phases, it’s time to whisk. Using either a small hand whisk or an electric milk frother, whisk until the mixture until it thickens.
You will notice that the mixture will only thicken as it begins to cool. I like to whisk for a minute and then leave it for a further 5, then return to whisk for another minute. Continue this process until the mixture has cooled and you reach a consistency that resembles a facial cream/lotion.
Step 5: Now that our cream has cooled, we can go ahead and add the last of our ingredients. I like to do this on a scale, adding the vitamin e first followed by the preservative, hitting the T button on the scale each time so we can get exact measurements more easily.
Then, add the 7 drops of essential oil. Once these final ingredients are added to the beaker, give it a thorough whisk once more to ensure everything has fully combined.
Step 6: Transfer to your chosen container and label. Ensure that it is either glass, PET plastic or aluminum. I prefer to use a dark colored glass, as it’s easy to work with and will protect the essential oils that are suspended within the cream from oxidizing in sunlight.
This hyperpigmentation cream, providing you’ve used a good quality broad-spectrum preservative, should last about 6 months. Use daily.