Pigmentation - How do you get rid of it?
Pigmentation. It can creep up on you faster than a pimple on your period. So what is it? And how do you get rid of it?
I won’t get too ‘sciency’ on you…Basically, skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. Pigmentation occurs when there is an increased production of melanin - either by sun damage or hormones.
The most obvious form of prevention is protecting your skin from the sun. Using a high SPF sunscreen daily is imperative - even on those inside days. Did you know that your computer and other devises emit UV light that damage the cells of your skin? (I know right!?) An SPF in your moisturiser or foundation is not enough to protect you from UV damage (sorry!). If you’re not fan of that thick, greasy sunscreen that makes you look like casper the ghost - invest in one that is designed to wear under makeup. My favourite is the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF 50 +. And don’t be stingy - you need to use about a tablespoon on your face and neck. Keep sunscreen in your car and handbag - for topping up throughout the day. My must have handbag essential is the Coola Makeup Setting Spray - it’s perfect for topping up your SPF without damaging your makeup. Lastly, invest in a couple of cute hats. Keep one in the car so you never go hatless when outside!
Pregnancy and the contraceptive pill are huge disrupters of hormones which can cause an increase in melanin production. Many woman can develop pigmentation (or melasma) during and after pregnancy that is caused by an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do here but be diligent with sun protection. Maintaining good gut and liver heath is also an important part of balancing your hormones. I recommend taking a probiotic daily and having a diet rich in fibre and antioxidants.
Treatments that work
A great skincare routine is an essential part of preventing and treating pigmentation. Here’s what I recommend introducing to your routine.
A good quality Vitamin C Serum. Vitamin C is a potent anti-aging antioxidant that brightens the skin. Use this in the morning underneath your moisturiser.
Retinol, also know as Vitamin A. This bad boy stimulates the production of new skin cells to renew the skin. This will help fade dark spots, pigmentation and acne scars. Use this in place of your serum at night. It can be drying on the skin, so I suggest using it a few nights a week and working your way up to every night if your skin reacts well to it. You can also get a medical grade Retinol on prescription from your GP - great if you are on a budget as this stuff is not cheap! Be careful using retinol in the summer, as it will increase the risk of further sun damage. Be diligent with your SPF. DO NOT USE IF YOUR ARE PREGNANT, COULD BECOME PREGNANT OR IF YOU ARE LACTATING.
Exfoliate. You should be doing this regardless. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin, increasing cell turnover - resulting in smoother, refined, glowing skin. This will help your serums to penetrate deeper into the skin. There are many forms of great exfoliants on the market - so do your research and find what works best for you. (go into Mecca or Farmers and get some samples for gods sake!). Life changing! I recommend exfoliating 3- 5 times per week.
Laser treatments at the salon. This is for more advanced, deep melasma. If you’ve tried all of the above and your not seeing an improvement I’d recommend Laser Resurfacing. Just be selective on where you go for this. Do not have your treatments over summer, it makes your skin super sensitive to sun damage and you’ll just get more pigmentation.
With patience and perseverance you will notice huge improvements to your skin - trust me, it works.