How to look after Pigmentation & Uneven Skin Tones...
WHAT IS PIGMENTATED SKIN?
When we are describing the pigmentation of the skin, we are referring to changes to the colour of your skin. The pigment responsible for the colour of your skin is called Melanin, which is made by the melanocyte cells in the skin. Melanin is produced due to a signal from the enzyme Tyrosinase and this message can be “over triggered” which can cause the melanocyte to create more melanin than usual. The melanin will flood into the cells causing the skin to darken. This condition is called Hyperpigmentation.
In a normal healthy skin the melanocytes produces melanin when the skin is exposed to UV light as a way of protecting itself. This is what gives us a sun tan but excessive exposure to the sun can cause an increase in melanin production.
Pigmentation can take on many appearances when caused by over exposure to the sun. Some people may be covered in lots of pigmentation patches and some will have a few small patches of pigment appearing like freckles. You will recognized it most on areas that are exposed to the sun, e.g., you will notice that the top of your arms will always look darker but the inside will always be lighter.
WHAT CAUSES PIGMENTATION?
It can be a combination of internal and external factors. The sun generally is often the biggest cause for most people. However age, hormonal imbalances, stress, diet and environmental attack, such as pollution, can also lead to dark patches appearing.
You do not only have to be sunbathing to be at risk as UVA rays are present all year round. Just being outside in the daylight continuously can in some cases give equal damage as to those who sit in the sun once a year on holiday. The best way to prevent dark patches is to wear an SPF on the skin daily.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PIGMENTATION?
HYPERPIGMENTATION - is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin.
MELASMA - Melasma, Chloasma or also referred to as the mask of pregnancy. Here you will see large patches of darkened skin.
POST INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION -spots or patches of darkened skin that appear after skin inflammation such as eczema or acne.
FRECKLES - these can appear when melanin builds up under the skin. Freckles may look brown, red, or tan. Sun exposure and genetic factors make some people more likely to develop freckles than others, often more common in fairer skins.
AGE/ LIVER OR SUN SPOTS - are flat and dark on the skin and can vary in size. They usually occur on sun-exposed areas like the face, hands and arms. They normally years to develop and can appear like a liver shape.
HOW TO CAN SKIN PIGMENTATION BE TREATED?
Look for products which contain Vitamin C as this helps to reduce the Tyrosinase activity which therefore slows down the production of melanin. It will also brighten the skin and help to even out the skin tone. Products that contain ingredients which have anti-oxidant or anti free radical properties will also help as they can protect the skin from environmental attack and help prevent skin rust. There are many treatments available which can help from facials, peels, and microdermabrasion to laser or micro-needling. Speak to your skin care expert for advice.
The sun is a key player when it comes to your skin which is why it is so important to remember to apply daily SPF to keep your skin protected. Don’t forget, your skin pigmentation can still be targeted by using key ingredients like Vitamin C and other Anti-Oxidant rich substances.