Pigmentation and How To Reduce It
Regardless of our skin colour, eventually most of us will face some form of pigmentation problem. Our skin will either appear lighter or darker than normal in clusters; or our skin may appear blotchy with uneven patches of discolouration or freckling. Below, we inform you about pigmentation and it’s causes.
What is pigmentation?Skin pigmentation problems affect the colour of our skin. Our skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. Special cells in the skin (melanocytes) make melanin. When these cells become damaged or unhealthy, it affects melanin production. Some pigmentation disorders affect just patches of skin. Unprotected sun exposure, age, certain medication and hormones are the main causes of uneven pigmentation. Melanin production problems such as age spots and other areas of hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin caused by an excess of melanin) are also the result of years of sun exposure, and they can occur on the face, hands, arms and chest and may at times be difficult to treat.1-3 Melanin helps absorb damaging UV rays up to a point, which is why people with naturally darker skin are less susceptible to sunburn, while people with lighter skin are more susceptible.4 However, less susceptible does NOT mean immune from problems.
How to avoid pigmentation?
1. Be sun smart.Smart sun behaviour is our first line of defence and the most important aspect of minimising skin discolouration. This includes either avoidance of or, at the very least, limiting sun exposure, along with the daily use and liberal application and reapplication of a quality high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen. Using the most expensive skin-lightening products, exfoliants, peels or laser treatments without also using a quality sunscreen will probably prove to be futile and costly. These other treatments just cannot keep up with the sun’s daily assault on our skin. We recommend: SunSense sunscreens, which provide the highest UV protection* in Australia and are scientifically formulated for individual skin types. The range is fragrance free, dermatologically tested and contains moisturising Vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide) to help hydrate skin and improve the appearance of skin tone and texture^.
2. Inhibit increased melanin production.Whilst sunscreen and avoiding direct sun exposure is essential to dealing with pigmentation problems, inhibiting increased melanin production stimulated by long-term sun damage is also important. There are many options to consider when searching for a solution. The most successful treatments use a combination of topical lotions or gels containing ingredients that help reduce the appearance of dark pigmented areas; along with a quality sunscreen. Some plant extracts such as emblica fruit extract, and vitamins such as vitamin C have shown to be effective in helping to even skin tone. We recommend: Elucent Whitening is infused with a combination of ingredients that are carefully selected for their ability to help brighten the skin and even out skin tone. They work together to help maximise the brightness of the skin. The powerful antioxidants also help reduce uneven skin tone leaving the skin looking younger, brighter and feeling silky smooth.
3. Exfoliate!Exfoliants, in the form of topical skincare products or chemical peels done by a healthcare professional can also enhance results. Skincare products with Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) help by promoting cell turnover rates. We recommend: Elucent Anti-Ageing uses a multifaceted approach to younger looking skin, by combining the proven wrinkle-reduction qualities of AHAs and the beautifying properties of a select blend of vitamins. AHAs are scientifically proven to work by accelerating the skin’s natural process of exfoliation and increasing the natural rejuvenation process to reveal younger healthier looking skin. Skin pigmentation problems occur because the body produces either too much or too little melanin. Freckles, age spots, and other darkened skin patches can become darker or more pronounced when our skin is exposed to the sun. It only takes a small amount of excess melanin to make your skin look a little dull or mottled and lose its luminosity. Daily use and regular reapplication of a high-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen can help to stop these spots from forming in the first place. Team that with a quality brightening skincare range, combined with regular exfoliation and you’ll soon bring back that even glow to your skin. If you are at all concerned about any spots on your skin, see your doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. *Highest label claim allowed as per AS/NZS 2604:2012; Very High, SPF 50+, Broad Spectrum ^Excluding SunSense Lip Balm SPF 50+.
- DermNet New Zealand. Skin pigmentation problems. [Internet] 2017. Available from URL: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/skin-pigmentation-problems/
- Medicines Plus. Skin Pigmentation Disorders. [Internet] 2017 available from URL: https://medlineplus.gov/skinpigmentationdisorders.html
- MSD Manual. Overview of Skin Pigment. [Internet] 2017. Available from URL: http://www.msdmanuals.com/en-au/home/skin-disorders/pigment-disorders/overview-of-skin-pigment
- American Cancer Society. Are Some People More Likely to Get Skin Damage from the Sun? [Internet] 2017. Available from URL: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/sun-damage.html