Skin pigmentation is an issue that all people of every skin colour suffers from or have suffered with in the past. Getting rid of skin pigmentation, however, requires a substantial amount of patience due to how long it could take to solve the issue. But there are skincare ingredients which are beneficial to those suffering from skin pigmentation and could lighten pigmentation significantly.
What is pigmentation?
First of all, pigmentation—in skincare terms—involves the skin turning into a deeper colour due to different factors, such as age, sun exposure or acne. In our skin, the pigment melanin is responsible for determining our skin colour; melanin production is affected when the skin is damaged. At times, the entirety of your body is affected, or simply patches in certain areas of your skin. For instance, vitiligo is a condition caused by a lack of melanin in certain areas of the skin, which results in white pigment on the skin.
Different types of skin pigment conditions
Melasma: This type of pigmentation disorder is also known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’, and as the name suggests, could potentially affect pregnant women. In other cases, the cause of melasma could include prolonged sun exposure and birth control pills, the latter triggering hormone changes which are similar to those in pregnant women, thereby causing darkening patches of skin. Melasma is more prevalent in those with darker skin than people with lighter skin tones.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): This pigment condition involves darkening of the skin following some sort of injury, with colours ranging from brown, black, red, and pink. However, this pigment disorder affects people with darker skin tones much more than lighter skin tones and could last longer on the former as well. People suffering from moderate to severe acne can suffer PIH in the aftermath, with increased melanin production triggered due to the inflammatory effect of acne. Take note, that squeezing and popping your pimples can lead to a higher risk of developing PIH.
Age spots: Also known as liver spots, this pigmentation disorder develops as you age. In other instances, those who experience prolonged sun exposure without applying sunscreen may develop age spots as well. They may develop on the face or arms, appearing with flat blotches that are brown or black in colour. Age spots occur when the melanin in your body absorbs the sun’s rays, which triggers an overproduction of melanin in order to protect your skin from the sun.
What causes skin pigmentation?
As mentioned previously, there are a variety of factors which causes pigmentation in the skin. But the most common causes of this skin disorder are prolonged sun exposure, hormone changes, age, and inflammation. Exposing your skin to the sun not only speeds up the ageing process in your skin, but it can also lead to age spots. Furthermore, it is imperative to always apply sun protection when you’re about to go outside, as the sun’s rays can exacerbate melasma, PIH, and age spots, turning it darker. It is also vital to use sunscreen when inside the house, as the sun’s rays can penetrate through open windows. However, if you keep your windows covered then it is permissible to limit the use of sunscreen when inside.
Hormone fluctuations can lead to pigmentation, as seen in pregnant women. It is believed that pigmentation disorder happens when both the hormones progesterone and oestrogen influence the overproduction of melanin. In addition, as said before, acne plays a part in the development of pigmentation. After the pimple (or wound) heals, the aftermath leaves patches of skin turning a deeper shade.
Is Vitamin C good for hyperpigmentation?
It is admittedly challenging to remove hyperpigmentation from the skin, but there are skincare ingredients that could help with lightening the pigmentation. Vitamin C is one such ingredient, for not only is it an antioxidant with the ability to further protect the skin from the sun, but it is also an anti-inflammatory and a potent skin brightener. In addition, vitamin C has the ability to prevent melanin production by impeding the enzyme tyrosinase.
Vitamin C ampoules are tiny powerhouses capable of delivering multiple benefits to the skin. Endocare’s C Pure Concentrate contains 15% of vitamin C, a concentration strong enough to brighten dark spots. It can also help mitigate the characteristic signs of ageing, by reducing fine lines and wrinkles—tightening the skin overall. This product is intended to be used daily for a period of two weeks in order to see results.
Is skin pigmentation curable?
In the case of long-term pigmentation disorders such as vitiligo, there is no known cure. However, for conditions such as PIH and age spots, there exists cosmetic products and procedures that are able to cure it permanently. Topical pigmentation creams such as hydroquinone are able to lighten pigmentation significantly, however, this ingredient has the tendency to bleach pillowcases in some instances. However, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before using it.
What is the fastest way to get rid of hyperpigmentation?
Chemical peels could be obtained in a facial clinic or beauty salon, and are usually of a high concentration strong enough to deal with issues of pigmentation. Doing chemical peels encourages rapid cell turnover in order to reveal brighter, newer skin, which is ideal for dealing with pigmentation spots. The results depend on the intensity and concentration of the peel. Naturally, the lower the concentration, the more likely the results would not be so exceptional.
Additionally, facial treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are effective for pigmentation. This treatment involves the use of a handheld instrument that delivers broad-spectrum light in order to impede melanin production.
Medical laser therapy is ideal for pigmentation as well as acne sufferers. Brief pulses of light enter the deeper layers of the skin to break up melanin particles. Results from laser therapy can be seen after the effects of downtime from the treatment is finished. Akin to peels, the lower the intensity, the less clearly results will be seen.
The best treatment for pigmentation on the face
Finding the best treatments for your pigmentation should depend on its suitability to your skin tone. For although facial treatments for pigmentation could be used for people with a variety of skin tones, those with darker skin require significantly more time for the pigment to lighten. In some cases, some treatments may cause the pigmentation to darken for those with darker skin tones, as non-ablative lasers may lead to the darkening of the skin.
Those with darker skin tones may look to IPL to lighten their pigmentation, as well as lower intensity chemical peels and laser treatments. On the other hand, those with medium skin tones should look into doing chemical peels or microdermabrasion to help with their pigmentation issues. Take note, microdermabrasion mostly affects superficial scarring (or scarring that lay on the epidermis only).
The benefits of facial treatments
Getting facial treatments benefits not only your pigmentation issues but that of the health of your skin. Not only will there be significant brightening to your pigmentation spots through multiple sessions of facial treatments, but pore size will be reduced and acne breakouts will decrease in order to prevent PIH. Furthermore, facial treatments will help treat melasma, along with assistance in stimulating collagen production which assists in the prevention of scar formation.
However, the most important thing to remember is the continue the upkeep of sun protection. Going out for prolonged periods of time without adequate sunscreen will only undo any of the work done by the aforementioned treatments to lighten skin pigmentation. Hence, use sunscreen.
Author: Charlene M Teressa