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The Skinny on Hyperpigmentation

Natural Treatment for Aging Skin


I suffer from hyperpigmentation, acne, eczema and have very sensitive skin that looks older than my age.  Are there any natural supplements that can help?  
Julie, Toronto









The outward physical signs that we associate with aging occur slowly over time due to a process called oxidation and the internal health of our bodies is very much reflected in our skin.  Environmental toxins cause inflammation and free radical production, which leads to oxidation, eventually accelerates the wear and tear on our bodies leading to degeneration and a decline in overall health.  Antioxidants help to protect the body against the damage from free radicals caused by pollution, toxins, and inflammation and our liver plays a key role in helping to detoxify many harmful substances that are associated with the aging process.

Dark patches, or hyperpigmentation, and the development of wrinkles occur due to prolonged free radical production from exposure to UV light and other toxins that affect the pigment- producing cells of the skin and cause a breakdown in collagen and elastin.  Many women suffering from hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne, eczema and other skin disorders have difficulty with proper detoxification and elimination and most skin conditions can benefit by increasing antioxidants and improving the liver’s ability to process and eliminate harmful substances.

While it is well known that fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of antioxidants, those in the Brassica family, which include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain high amounts of a compound called sulforaphane.  Sulforaphane has been studied extensively and has been found to prevent numerous diseases associated with aging. It does this by aiding our liver’s ability to detoxify and by increasing the production of the powerful antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione helps to protect the body against the damage caused by pollution, toxins, free radicals and inflammation.

Sulforaphane can be taken internally in capsule form to improve overall health and it can also be applied topically to the skin in the form of a lotion or ointment. Doing this helps to target areas of hyperpigmentation and acne.  By increasing the thickness of the skin’s epidermis, sulforaphane helps to target fine lines and soften deep wrinkles.  Because it reduces inflammation and repairs DNA, sulforaphane can be used to treat eczema and dermatitis as well as improve cell turnover, making it an excellent treatment for psoriasis, skin tags, moles and keratosis, a non-cancerous condition of the skin. Sulforaphane helps to improve the lustre and tone of the skin and yields protection against UV radiation damage and UV light-induced skin cancer.  Stretch marks and scar tissue can also be repaired using the ointment and sulforaphane may also help with dissolving cysts.  Additionally, because sulforaphane is naturally anti-microbial, it can be used to heal sores associated with shingles, chicken pox, and cold sores and reduce the scarring associated with these conditions.



Dr. Suzanna Ivanovics, ND operates a naturopathic practice in downtown Toronto and is a consultant at The Big Carrot. Have a question? Write to Suzanna at dr.suzanna.nd@gmail.com