understanding your skin
How to Reduce Pigmentation
Pigmentation refers to the colour of the skin. Uneven pigmentation occurs when your melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for the colour of your skin, misbehave and too much melanin is produced leading to uneven colouration. Pigmentation can be a result of different environmental, genetic, or internal factors which include UV exposure, hormones, genetics, and skin trauma. To be honest, most of us will have some form of pigmentation in our lifetime and many of us can go through life without it being a concern, however, if it’s bothering you, we can help you manage it safely and effectively.
Method of self diagnosis
Pigmentation comes in many forms. After cleansing, look at your skin in bright light.
Can you see:
- Large dark flat spots as a result of UV exposure also known as sunspots or liver spots
- Freckles – small dots of darker pigmentation- a combination of a genetic predisposition and UV exposure
- Post inflammatory pigmentation – usually seen as red marks caused by injury and trauma to the skin
- Symmetrical patches on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip that Melasma or Chloasma -are the result of hormonal fluctuations
- Vitiligo - an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the pigment cells (melanocytes) causing pigment loss.
What can I do?
Avoid exposing the area to UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation stimulates the production of melanin and can result in pigmentation darkening. If you are in sunny climates, wear SPF, don a wide-brimmed hat and try to stay out of direct sunlight as much as you can.
If you are experiencing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, try to keep inflammation levels low. Don’t pick the injury, leave it to scab and heal in its own time as it will be more likely to resolve itself without leaving a mark behind.
How can treatments help?
It’s important to correctly diagnose the causes and type of pigmentation to ensure we take the best approach. If you’re looking to treat pigmentation, the first step is to book in for a consultation and analysis. From there, we can recommend the best course of treatment for your specific pigmentation and skin needs.
Our favourite treatments for pigmentation are:
Real Life Retouching (AFT) – this treatment is best for sun damage and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Lower energy AFT light pulses are converted into heat and absorbed by the chromophore (the molecules in the skin that are responsible for its colour) delivering better results with less discomfort than traditional IPL treatments. This permanently targets the pigment, while leaving the surrounding skin unaffected. Clever. This treatment is not suitable for treating melasma or darker skin tones.
ClearLift - ClearLift laser penetrates the dermis in a controlled way. It is a photo-acoustic laser that shatters the pigmentation. This laser does not use heat to target the pigmentation making it suitable for targeting melasma and darker skin tones.
Time Traveller – this medical needling treatment works by creating controlled trauma, stimulating skin renewal. As new skin pushes to the surface, it reduces the appearance of pigmentation. The micro-channels that needling creates also allows pigmentation targeting actives to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin where they can work on brightening the pigmentation.
Renew You - Fractional laser targets water, so it evaporates tiny micro channels in the skin in order to create skin remodelling. Through intensive skin rejuvenation, the appearance of pigmentation is reduced.
Great Skin Peels – our resurfacers work at encouraging cell renewal and exfoliation, reducing the appearance of pigmentation
What products support improvement?
To improve the appearance of pigmentation, you need to ensure your routine involves ingredients that are proven to brighten and even your skin tone.
Sunscreen is vital to prevent existing pigmentation from darkening as well as stopping some types of pigmentation from developing. It’s time to be religious about the application and use it every morning. We love Synergie Uberzinc and Soleil Toujour SPF 45 Extreme UV.
When it comes to your serums and creams, look out for products containing high percentages of pigmentation-targeting ingredients; niacinamide, vitamin C, kojic acid, and vitamin A are all fantastic actives to keep an eye out for. Elequra’s Radiance Accelerator Serumis a potent serum that combines quite a few of them. Tyrosinase inhibiting products like Cosmetics 27 Glow 27 or Synergie Enlighten will help the slow down the production of melanin which is happening in the skin.
Exfoliation will help to encourage cell renewal and slough off those upper layers of skin which can hold some pigmentation. Look for enzymatic or acid-based exfoliators such as Synergie ReVeal or Elequra Intense Restore Mask.