My Tryst With Skin Pigmentation

Well, this actually began about 8 months ago. I had slathered balm on my forehead during a severe headache and then completely forgot about it. The next day there was a small dark-grey blemish on the right corner of my forehead. Assuming it to be dry, dead skin I lightly massaged my usual face scrub on the entire face thinking that the exfoliation would shed the dry skin and the mark would heal.

But, this did not happen. On the contrary a few days later the small blotch transformed into a thick, dark grey patch running continuously from one end of my forehead to the other. I was absolutely zapped when I looked at myself in the mirror, in the morning and so was everyone else around me. Family and friends asked all sorts of questions about it and I didn’t have a reply.

At that time I didn’t realise that the mark was caused due to the balm that I had used. Instead, I thought it to be a reaction to the antibiotics I had consumed at that time for an aching wisdom tooth. But, a visit to a dermatologist explained that the mark was spread in that portion of the forehead where the balm had been applied and this skin disorder was called hyper-pigmentation. I had heard of it a lot of times from people around but now I, myself was going through skin pigmentation. It is a condition in which the skin produces too much of the pigment melanin (melanin is responsible for the colour of your skin) and this makes the skin darker than usual.

I was told that if I didn’t take appropriate medication and instant action, the mark could reach the lowest layer of skin and even the bone below the skin. And once it reached the bone, no topical remedy or any other treatment could ever erase it all my life (God forbid!). The last few words really caught my attention and freaked me out. My skin was sensitive and the balm used, as the doctor said could have been a duplicate/ fake one which caused this strange reaction.

I was given names of medicines (vitamin and calcium tablets) to be consumed for 1 ½ month and a kojic cream to be applied daily on the pigmented skin. Application of sunscreen twice a day was a must even when indoors as my skin had become photosynthetic (bulb rays too could cause further harm and delay the healing process). Complete sun protection (from both, UVB and UVA rays) had become crucial since ‘over-exposure to sun rays makes the skin produce more melanin causing the complexion to darken further’. A mild face wash was recommended as part of the ongoing treatment.

As a last resort I was given the options of either Yellow Peel treatment or Laser Therapy (which was quite an expensive affair). Yellow Peel is a facial skin depigmentation treatment which would peel away the damaged upper layer of my skin by application of a mixture of depigmenting agents. Then, the lower layer of skin would be revealed and I would look fine again. This would take a few weeks or months, depending on the case (I was told 4 weeks in my case). Both these treatments, the doctor assured would cure my skin condition a 100 percent.

I was called every 4 weeks by the doctor because as she had explained, “The skin has two layers; the upper layer (the epidermis) and the lower layer (the dermis). The cells of the upper layer are gradually shed and the lower layer emerges above, replacing the epidermis. This cycle takes around 28 days”. Therefore, the visit every 4 weeks was crucial in order to monitor the exact stage of recovery. I kept delaying the Yellow Peel treatment every time I met her as I was afraid that it could have side effects. So, instead the creams were changed and I was prescribed another fairness cream to be used along with the kojic cream the next month. I followed her instructions to the T.

I’d noticed while walking on the road that people would give me weird, pitying glances. I guess they must be thinking, “Poor girl, she’s so young and is suffering from a severe skin disease”. I wish I could explain what had really happened to me. Some friends and well wishers advised applying stuff like raw milk and Aloe Vera gel on the pigmented area which I promptly did with very little progress.

Then, I thought of surfing the net in my free time and looking for natural remedies on pigmentation that could be followed whilst following the doctors’ treatment too. I fed, ‘Natural remedies for skin pigmentation’ and search engines piled up a list of sites mentioning information on why pigmentation occurs and also how the damage could be solved in a natural way using fruits, veggies and herbs.

I got remedies like cucumber juice, lime juice, papaya pulp, tomato juice, gram flour and water paste, coriander paste, mint paste, neem paste, fullers’ earth paste, sandalwood paste, fresh curd, the list was endless. All of these had to be left on the pigmented patch for about 10 -15 minutes before washing off with water. I followed them, mostly trying out any one remedy day after day. I even soaked orange peels in water and splashed it daily.

Since none of the home remedies would cause side effects I would comfortably slather the fruit juices etc. all over my face and not restrict it to the pigmented patch only. Slowly it was turning out to be fun because while trying out all of these one by one I had realised that the quality of my skin had really improved. Disregarding the dark, pigmented patch, my skin had now become soft, supple, glowing and fairer. My cheeks had become a blushing pink in colour. It wasn’t heavy on my pockets too since such fruits and vegetables are always present in our kitchen. For e.g., I would always keep away a small piece of papaya or a slice of tomato to be mashed and applied on my skin once I’d be done with the household chores. In fact, once a friend asked if the reason for the glow on my face was because I was basking in love and that felt really nice.

The last cream that I was prescribed was Triglow and the skin doctor said that it was the most effective cream in the world to cure pigmentation. It was helpful indeed. I noticed a drastic lightening in the pigmentation after using it for a few days itself. But the whole point was that I wanted it to heal completely so that I looked my normal self again which would take some more time. The repeated trips to the doctor were getting on my nerves now and I decided to stop visiting her and continue with her last prescription and the natural remedies till the pigmentation is healed.

A small, hazy patch yet remains on my forehead but is lessening at a rather slow pace. One thing I realised while going through this entire distress is that there’s nothing better than our age old, natural remedies for our problems. Of course, major illnesses do require immediate and long term medication, under the doctors’ guidance. That’s how I too started out. But if we take a deeper interest in such natural and herbal cures we can live a better, healthier and a more fruitful life. The only issue is time; we are all short on time and we do not have the patience to wait for our problems to solve in this manner, at a slow pace.