Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which small areas of the skin become darker than the rest. Although anyone can be affected, African-American men are one of the groups that are most likely to suffer from this skin condition. Shaving can increase the risk of hyperpigmentation, particularly if you do not use the right shaving techniques and products to protect your skin.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
Unusually dark patches of skin develop when the skin cells in those areas start producing too much melanin. Black skin naturally contains a lot of melanin-producing cells, so the effects can be very noticeable if these cells become overactive.
Overactivity of the melanin-producing cells can be triggered by a variety of causes, including certain medical conditions and medications. However, one of the most common causes of dark patches on the skin is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which develops as a result of irritation and swelling.
The Link Between Shaving and Hyperpigmentation
Many African-American men develop dark spots or patches on their faces as a result of shaving. Poor shaving techniques lead to ingrown hairs, which irritate the skin and cause the hair follicles to swell up into raised, sore lumps, commonly known as razor bumps or razor burn. Although the swelling usually goes down after a few days of not shaving, the dark spots that are left behind can last for months or even years.
How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
You can reduce the risk of developing dark spots on your face by changing the way you shave. Follow the shaving tips above and use a moisturizing lotion every day to help revitalize your skin.
- Use a single-blade safety razor with a sharp blade to shave.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth to discourage ingrown hairs.
- Always wet the face with warm water before shaving to soften hairs and open pores.
- Apply a pre-shave oil to help the razor glide smoothly over the skin.
- After shaving, use a moisturizing lotion to soothe the skin and prevent inflammation. Choose a lotion that includes anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as aloe vera, which can help to reduce the risk of razor bumps and scarring.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation
Over time, the dark patches on your skin should start to fade. During this time, you need to keep your skin well hydrated and avoid causing further inflammation. Follow the shaving tips above and use a moisturizing lotion every day to help your skin to heal.