Treating pigmentation

Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, shares her best skincare tips to treat pigmentation.

Pigmentation and discolouration are actually the very first signs of ageing on the skin. It is caused by numerous factors – the number one being U.V. exposure – and other factors include hormone imbalance due to stress, pregnancy, the contraceptive pill or antibiotics (which make the skin more photosensitive), or artificial fragrance in such things as your perfume (which also affects the photosensitivity of your skin). Trauma to, and inflammation of the skin can also lead to discolouration.

If you’re looking to treat your pigmentation, the optimal time to start would be in the cooler months when UV exposure is at its minimum.

To effectively treat pigmentation, you will need skin lightening/brightening products which contain active ingredients that primarily act as melanin suppressors (the skin pigment) that can effectively lighten the skin and even out skin hyper pigmentation. Various ingredients are affective in the different stages of melanin production, so a combined ‘task force’ is the best treatment option, as opposed to, say, using just Vitamin C. Exfoliation is also a key component  as it ensures  speedy cell turnover and the removal of surface dehydration, dry and old pigmented cells. Exfoliation also enables the more efficient penetration of pigment lightening actives into the skin.

The three must-have products you will need are;

An Exfoliant (preferably Lactic Acid based), used 2 to 3 times per week

An active skin lightening treatment product (e.g. a concentrate used twice per day)

An SPF 30 – 50+ used throughout the day

Your ingredient guide (the key ingredients that will help target and treat pigmentation):

Oligopeptide 34
Palmaria palmata  a red algae
Vitamin C
Zinc Glyconate
Glucosamine
Lactic Acid
Niacinamide
Licorice

Treating pigmentation takes daily diligence with your home care products, and application of a sun screen SPF 30-50+ is an absolute must. As well as at-home treatment, look at investing in regular professional skin treatments, including light therapy.