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  • The Natural Path To Tackle Hyperpigmentation: Causes And Remedies

    The Natural Path To Tackle Hyperpigmentation: Causes And Remedies

    The Ayurveda Experience September 11, 2023 1 Comment

    Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition wherein some parts of the skin become darker as compared to the immediate surrounding skin. While a myriad of topical treatments or skincare products, each promising to banish your skin issues, are available for treating hyperpigmentation, Ayurveda offers remedies that are completely natural and safe.

    Unlike the former, Ayurveda believes in holistic healing rather than just curing the disease. It does not believe in harsh chemicals and invasive procedures, instead, it embraces the gentle yet effective remedies that nature offers. So, whether you are battling age spots, sunspots, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, nature has precious, hidden gems for you to take you on the path to holistic and effective skincare. 

    Skin hyperpigmentation occurs when melanin is overproduced in certain spots on the skin. Melanin is an important pigment in skin hyperpigmentation which is produced by the process called melanogenesis.  

    Let’s first talk about melanin1 

    When melanin production increases in the skin and an excess of melanin starts depositing in the skin, it leads to hyperpigmentation. 

    However, hyperpigmentation is a broad term. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts, descriptions of various skin problems can be correlated to modern-day hyperpigmentation. 

    Skin gets its color from a pigment called melanin. Melanin is also present in hair and eyes and is responsible for their color. 

    Melanin is produced by a group of special cells called melanocytes, which are present in the bottom layer of the epidermis. 

    People with a darker skin tone have more melanin in their skin as compared to those with lighter skin tone. Therefore, they are more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially when exposed to excessive sunlight. 

    Hyperpigmentation is usually a harmless condition, but sometimes hyperpigmentation can also be an indication of some underlying disease. 

    Brown, deep brown or black-colored discoloration is more common in hyperpigmented skin. But sometimes pink or purple discoloration can also appear over the skin. 

    Hyperpigmentation causes1 

    • Exposure to sunlight is among the most common causes of hyperpigmentation. The sun’s UV rays (ultraviolet rays) trigger the mechanism of melanogenesis. Hyperpigmentation occurs to protect the skin cells from damaging UV rays.
    • Inflammation and injury of the skin may lead to hyperpigmentation.
    • Nutritional deficiency such as Vitamin B12 deficiency, Folic acid deficiency, Niacin deficiency, Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to hyperpigmentation.
    • Acne vulgaris may lead to hyperpigmented skin due to scarring.

    Causes of hyperpigmentation


    Ayurveda and hyperpigmentation 

    The Ayurvedic texts describe a variety of skin problems including hyperpigmentation or pigmentation on face. A glowing complexion or a radiant-looking face most definitely boosts the confidence of an individual. Vyanga is a disease which affects the glowing complexion of the face and affects the skin negatively. Among many diseases concerned with cosmetic values, vyanga is a common skin concern known to us for thousands of years. Though it is considered a minor disease, it has a major importance as a cosmetic problem in society.   

    According to the renowned Ayurvedic text, the yoga ratnakar, this skin condition has been described under the category of kshudra roga in Ayurveda which refers to minor diseases. 

    Vyanga or mukh vyanga (Hyperpigmentation on the face)2 

    Due to anger and excessive physical activity Vata dosha and Pitta dosha become vitiated. These vitiated dosha form a patch on the facial skin. 

    The patches are painless, thin and black or brownish-black in color. They are called vyanga. It is commonly known as jhaai or chaahi. 

    This condition can be correlated with freckles or melasma. 

    Ayurveda mentions a good number of medicines for skin care. Massage with oils, application of paste In the Charaka Samhita, the author Charaka described conditions like vyanga in the sutra sthana 

    According to the text, when aggravated Pitta dosha dries up along with rakta or blood in the skin, skin abnormalities like tila/pipalu (moles), vyanga (melasma) and neelika (pigmentation) occur. 

    There are many cosmetic products available for the treatment of vyanga or hyperpigmentation, but their results do not seem to be satisfactory even after a huge expenditure on the treatments. However, Ayurvedic preparations are in greater demand when it comes to the treatment of skin diseases along with an added benefit of economically cheaper treating methods. 

    Ayurvedic remedies for hyperpigmentation 

    Charaka Samhita reveals a major group of drugs that is, varnya gana (10 drugs) that can help in reducing the pigmentation on the face or body. These are namely chandana (sandalwood), tunga (oil-nut or mastwood), padmaka (wild himalayan cherry), usheera (khus khus grass), madhuka (licorice), manjistha (Rubia cordifolia), sariva (Indian sarsaparilla), payasya (kudzu), and sita lata (bermuda grass). Varnya gana is basically meant for the task of restoring the natural color and complexion of the body. It is useful both for purificatory therapies as well as external application.3 

    These are a few Ayurvedic remedies that you can try even in the comfort of your home:

    • Abhyanga (Oil massage)

    Ayurveda preaches that abhyanga needs to be performed every day and if not daily, at least applying oil to the head, ears and foot is a must to lead a healthy life. Abhyanga is one of the procedures that can help with managing vyanga with the application of certain herbal formulations and oils. 

    Abhyanga for hyperpigmentation

    Read more: Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Massage Benefits | The Benefits Of Ayurvedic Massage According To The Ancient Ayurvedic Texts | Here Is Why And How An Ayurvedic Massage Works

    Kumkumadi oil4 

    Massage with this oil on the face may be helpful in soothing hyperpigmented skin (including melasma). It can be used for all types of skin but is definitely more beneficial for dry skin. Additionally, it promotes softness and prevents dark circles and helps with uneven skin tone.  

    The main ingredient in kumkumadi taila is saffron. Saffron improves complexion and texture of skin, relieves hyper-pigmentation, blemishes, acne scars, sun tans, wrinkles, and blackheads. 

    Click here to try an Ayurvedic Face Oil that has Saffron as its key ingredient!

    Haridradi taila5 

    Application of this oil helps in advancing complexion and improves the overall glow of the face. It possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hyperpigmentation properties which makes it an ideal oil to be used in the treatment of vyanga. 

    Manjishtadi oil7 

    Local application of manjishtadi tailam is useful for neelika and vyanga. The oil makes the face healthy and happy. It is also moisturizing and so it may be helpful in delaying wrinkles. Click here to try an Ayurvedic Face Oil that has Manjistha as its key ingredient!

    Read more: Which Ayurvedic Facial Oil Is Best For You?

    Try time-tested Ayurvedic face oils HERE!

    • Lepa3 

    Lepa helps to eliminate the doshas locally and restores the skin's natural color. The ten varnya gana medications indicated above are ground into a fine powder, and lukewarm water is used to blend the ingredients to create lepa (paste). It is made into a thick paste. Before applying, wash your face with lukewarm water. Now, apply enough paste in the opposite direction of their hair follicles such that it properly covers the damaged areas. Lepa should only be applied twice daily, in the morning and evening, and should never be applied at night or over previously applied lepa. Once the lepa has dried, rinse the face with lukewarm water. It is advised to not go out in the sun after lepa application and during the time of the treatment. 

    The following lepas can be used to help with hyperpigmentation6: 

    Manjistha honey paste 

    Take manjishtha powder (Rubia cordifolia) and add honey to form a paste. Applying this paste topically can be useful for vyanga. 

    Nutmeg paste 

    Take jatiphala (nutmeg) powder, botanical name Myristica fragrans, and make a paste. 

    Local application of this paste may be helpful in vyanga and neelika. 

    Tumeric milk paste 

    Take milk of the madar plant (Calotropis procera) or cow’s milk and add turmeric powder to it. Apply this paste over the patches of pigmentation on the face. This remedy may be useful in hyperpigmentation. 

    Red lentil, milk + ghee paste 

    Take masoor or red lentils and grind it with milk to form a paste. Add ghee (clarified butter). 

    Applying this paste topically makes pigmentation on the face clean and clear in seven days, like a lotus flower. 

    Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the above-mentioned remedies for hyperpigmentation, melasma, and pigmentation on the face.  


    1. Skin hyperpigmentation and its treatment with herbs: an alternative method | Future Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences | Full Text (springeropen.com)
    3. Clinical evaluation of Varnya Gana Lepa in Vyanga (melasma) - PMC (nih.gov)
    4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372189663_CRITICAL_REVIEW_OF_KUMKUMADI_OIL_AND_IT'S_ROLE_ON_VYANGA
    5. http://iamj.in/current_issue/images/upload/309_314_1.pdf
    7. http://www.iamj.in/posts/2021/images/upload/580_583_1.pdf


    1 Response

    nisha raut
    nisha raut

    June 09, 2021

    Hello there,
    After reading on Hyperpigmentation, which product would you recommend from The Ayurveda Experience? I already have Manjistha Elixir but that product make me break out.
    Anything else you could recommend?
    Thank you

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