OK pigmentation is a massive topic so let’s keep to some basics. Pigmentation that is caused by either hormones or sun can be treated and reduced. Pigmentation is caused when a chain of communications are over stimulated by either hormones or sun. What happens within the skin is a series of complex systems that trigger the next element to finally stimulate the melanocytes. Melanocytes are the melanin factory that produce colour that alter the skin cells appearance. The melanin covered cells then build up and cause colour that we see on the skin either as tan or as spots. The basic concept with skincare to treat pigmentation is to intercept the communication chain, inhibit the melanin production, increase cell turnover and of course prevent with SPF’s. As there are so many elements to be attacked, products that are designed to work on pigmentation are very sophisticated with some tremendous technologies and delivery systems.
Can skincare really get rid of pigmentation? Well I am not sure if get rid off is the right description … products can dramatically change the way pigmentation looks and enhance the overall appearance of the skin. One of the main reasons skincare is not the miracle, is meloncytes have tentacles that can reach down into the dermis making it very difficult for skincare to influence those areas. It is also a slow process to reverse this damage, which did take years to create, so it is only reasonable to expect it to take a while to diminish . With most skincare you will see brightening and luminosity immediately however pigment reduction will slowly reduce over 3 months. Whitening skincare tends to make the pigmentation softer and less defined so it blends into the skin more and is therefore less obvious. Look for ingredients like liquorish and vitamin C, these are currently the two heroes in the skincare fight against pigmentation
Pigmentation is becoming more of a focus for women and their quest to look younger and the best they can. Pigmentation can make the skin look mottled and dull and divert the eye from the quality of the skin. As pigmentation is cumulative, it does get worse as we get older. Pigmentation is not necessarily the result of a sun burn, just years of exposure. As mentioned hormones can also create pigmentation. When pigmentation is visible, its source is not clear so when looking at people we naturally add age to them when we see pigmentation.
Hormonal influenced pigmentation can appear with the use of the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, breast feeding and menopause. In some cases, once the hormonal influence has stopped, the pigmentation will disappear on its own. This outcome is in the minority, it is more common to need a little help to clear it up . Another time we see pigmentation is post acne scarring. This scarring has purplish brown appearance and it is very common to appear when acne has been exposed to UV light. People with acne need to be careful about sun exposure until fully healed and again, some help to reduce is always beneficial. Asian skins generally show the first signs of age with pigmentation, then lack of firmness and lastly lines and wrinkles . Whereas Caucasian skin is the exact opposite. This may be one of the reasons Caucasians think Asians look so much younger as our measuring parameters are different. This explains why whitening products are a cult in Asia. For Australians that have pale skins, our colour is not ideal for this climate; so protecting form and reducing pigmentation should be a priority.
Laser treatments nowadays offer new level of results for reducing pigmentation. Laser light can travel deeper into the skin and treat those tentacles. Laser treatments can deliver great results however may cause damage if performed badly. When a good operator is using a quality machine, the results really are tremendous. Combining skincare treatments and laser is the optimal in results and what I highly recommend to do.
Prevention is still the cheapest and most effective way to deal with solar pigmentation!