The majority of my clients ask why their skin becomes uneven in colour as they reach their thirties. They are concerned as it can be very ageing, often being more of a concern than lines and wrinkles! As we are living longer and we also have increased exposure to the sun, pigmentation is becoming more common with significantly more clients visiting for treatment in the clinic in recent years.
Uneven skin tone is due to Hyperpigmentation which occurs on the skin after we reach our thirties, often referred to as age or liver or sun spots.
What is Hyperpigmentation? Hyperpigmentation occurs on the surface of your skin when dark spots arise from sun damage and skin ageing. Sun freckles disappear during winter months but Pigmentation spots remain visible on the skin.
How is pigmentation produced? This unwanted discolouration of the skin is caused by melanocytes, little factories working away to produce melanin which is the pigment that makes us tan. When the process works well, we get an all-over, even colour but sometimes due to hormonal changes or skin damage due to overexposure to the sun, things go awry. Some melanocytes start producing too much melanin and it is not distributed evenly, which leads to those dreaded age spots or brownish patches. As we age, our melanocyte cells work which have been overworked throughout a lifetime of exposure to light and the sun, become erratic, depositing unwanted melanin on the skin’s surface which is what we see and know as age or liver spots.
What causes Melasma?
Melasma is the most common form of
pigmentation. It is usually the result of changes in hormone levels, which may be natural, caused by taking the Pill or even pregnancy. It is very common to see Melasma across the central part of our face, across cheeks and your nose which is commonly known as the “mask of pregnancy”. It usually fades once the baby is born. If your pigmentaion is caused by hormones, it will be more difficult to control and to reduce its appearance because whilst the hormones are actively causing the melanocytes to go into overdrive, you cannot interrupt the process where melanin is produced.
How do I get rid of pigmentation? There are many products and treatments available to treat pigmentation. The best way to treat pigmentation is with a multi pronged approach.
Firstly its important to stop the melanocytes churning out so much melanin. As well as limiting how much melanin is produced you also need to prevent it from being transferred to the skin’s surface. Finally, to get rid of pigmentation that has already reached the skin’s surface, use an exfoliator containing AHAs. Using a range of products from cleanser, exfoliator, moisturiser and treatments including vitamin C, you can work to see a visible difference on your skin.
There are courses of treatments using exfoliation which are very effective at reducing the appearance of pigmentation. Full details at the Perrymount Clinic.
No overnight fixes! It is important to remember there is no quick fix to treat pigmentation. Daily use of the products with active ingredients is required for several months coupled with effective treatments using electrical modalities and then you will see your complexion brightening. It is essential to use SPF protection daily throughout the year.