Out Damn Spot! The Peculiar Case of Your Pigment
When it comes to your skin’s pigment, there’s more than what meets the eye.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PIGMENT ANYWAY?
Melanocytes in the skin create melanin and are responsible for the colour of your complexion. Whether you are ebony brown or creamy white, there is pigment creating that hue for you.
Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess pigment causes a darkened appearance to the skin in either small or large areas. This can occur because of sun exposure (yes don’t forget your sunscreen folks!) and inflammation (for example, when your skin is irritated or wounded). There are different types of hyperpigmentation including:
We all know this one. This is when the overproduction of pigment presents itself unevenly, resulting in sporadic age spots on your skin. Also known as “liver” spots, they commonly occur on your face and hands or other areas of the body that have had excessive sun exposure, as the skin naturally ages and loses resiliency. (Boost that protection!)
This is when hyperpigmentation takes a more intense turn. Melasma (of which there are three types depending on how deep in the skin it occurs) appears as symmetrical patches most often on the cheeks, chin, upper lip and forehead.. Men can get melasma but this specific type of hyperpigmentation is more common in women, as hormones can play a big role along with sun exposure. Melasma, also called chloasma, is commonly seen in pregnancy. Although it’s harmless, the uneven skin tone can be problematic on an aesthetic level.
The three types of Melasma are:
Epidermal: Identified by pigment in the top layers of the skin and results in brown hyperpigmentation with well-defined borders.
Dermal: Occurs in the deeper layers of the skin resulting in blue-gray patches. Tanning beds which use mainly UVA rays may trigger this type of damage inside the skin.
Mixed: This is a combination of epidermal and dermal resulting in brown-gray pigment.
It is still difficult to differentiate these types of melasma with the naked eye.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH):
When the skin suffers trauma and is damaged (e.g. wounds, acne scars), its natural defense mechanism responds. Since pigment cells and immune cells are very close to each other, melanin production is stimulated during the healing process, which can lead to residual hyperpigmentation in the affected area(s). Although PIH happens with many skin tones, it is more prominent with darker hues.
On the other end of the spectrum, vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disease, results in the elimination of pigment in patches, called hypopigmentation Because of the pigment being nonexistent in this case, strong sun protection is imperative.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE YOUR PIGMENT?
The good news is there are many options one can take when you are looking to even out your skin tone.
Exfoliation: Move your new, more resilient skin cells to the front of the line by getting rid of the dead skin cells. Incorporate a chemical, mechanical or enzymatic exfoliation session into your skincare routine.
Peels: Head to your favourite medical aesthetics clinic for a professionally executed chemical peel. This will remove the outermost layer of skin, which consists of dead skin cells, targeting the replenishment of new, healthy cells. Peels also enhance absorption of your favourite skincare products and offer you a gorgeous glow.
Brightening Solutions: Keep your skin’s pigment picture-perfect with home care treatments – including brightening solutions – which can help even out the skin tone giving your face a brighter outlook.
Always talk to a skincare professional – here’s how you can find one: https://www.alumiermd.ca/find_a_professional
WHAT YOU CAN TRY
What: Bright & Clear Solution
Skin Type: All Skin Types
Why: A daily-use exfoliating and conditioning solution, which contains Lactic acid and Lime Pearl™, to gently exfoliate dead skin cells to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Superox-C™, which is high in vitamin C, provides antioxidant protection from free radical damage. Arnica and bisabolol soothe the skin so while you may not be feeling anything, your skin definitely is!
What: Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.25, 0.5 or 1.0
Skin Type: Oily/Combination Skin/Normal Skin
Why: This is a pure and concentrated retinol serum that dramatically improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and skin texture, while evening skin tone. Cutting-edge microencapsulated retinol allows for gradual timed-release overnight. By encapsulating the retinol and adding soothing and hydrating ingredients like niacinamide, honey, and sodium hyaluronate, maximal results can be achieved in comfort. This product is also loaded with anti-aging peptides.
Don’t get too stressed about your hyperpigmentation because, with the fabulous options, including professional treatments and active home care, your skin will shine again!