Adding a few active ingredients to your skincare routine will help nix those dark spots once and for all...
It starts with a freckle, then all of a sudden you look in the mirror and you have dark patches of uneven skin over your face. Say hello to pigmentation. And, why do you notice it more at this time of year? Because you’ve spent the last few months outdoors and the number one cause of these enlarged ‘ freckles’ is sun exposure. Combine that with hormonal fluctuations i.e. pregnancy, stress, the contraceptive pill and the use of artificial fragrance on the skin—which causes photosensitivity—and you’re in all kinds of skin trouble.
Emma Hobson, Education manager for The Dermal Institute says melanin (the pigment within our skin) is more fragile than you think and susceptible to change when influenced by its environment. “Melanin attracts and binds various chemicals including some of our hormones to it, this stimulates it to make more, which then results in excess pigment being produced.” Unfortunately, this excess melanin is very susceptible to UV exposure and the sex hormones secreted during pregnancy, which is why its even more noticeable when you are pregnant or even a few months after giving birth.
So, how do you actually get rid of it? “A multi-pronged approach is best,” advises Hobson. She recommends a good skincare routine using products that contain high-strength vitamin C, niacinamide, glucosamine and licorice to help lighten and even out the skin tone. Daily sun protection, that means a broad spectrum sunscreen with no less than an SPF 50+ to protect and help prevent further breakouts and seeing a dermatologist for a series of chemical peels, laser resurfacing, IPL or light-emoting treatments, such as Omnilux to reach the deeper discolouration that skincare alone cannot eliminate. And, now is the time to start these treatments as the weather is cooler (supposedly) and UV exposure is minimum. “Sometimes these ingredients and salon treatments can make the skin sun sensitive, so it’s best to do them in the winter months,” she warns. Interestingly, Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice skincare says that almost all of the ingredients known to improve pigmentation are light and air sensitive, “so never buy a skin-lightening treatment that is packaged in a jar. The ingredients you are relying on to improve the pigmentation won’t remain active throughout the use of the product if it is packaged that way”, she says. Note to self when adding to cart.
Results can often take several weeks, even months to notice a difference, so be patient. Add these to your skincare routine and you’re on the road to a brighter complexion.
Words: Sarah Brooks-Wilson Image: @trentinireal