When someone asks: “How to treat pigmentation”, the number one message is all about prevention and protection and that is absolutely vital when it comes to pigmentation. It’s easier to prevent than to treat it. Having said that, there are some great ways that skincare boffins have discovered to help reduce dark spots, uneven skin tone and pigmentation using the latest skincare technology. We talk to some of the world’s leading skincare experts to discover what pigmentation actually is and how to treat pigmentation and dark spots too.
What is pigmentation?
Dr Murad explains: “Hyperpigmentation, age spots and freckles are all signs of melanin coming to the surface of damaged skin. Sun damage is a major, although not sole, cause of pigmentation and results in a less even skin tone which can make people look older. Sun damage not only causes hyperpigmentation but also results in a rougher, drier texture, dark circles around the eyes and wrinkles – all which add to an older-looking skin.”
Dr Nicholas Perricone elaborates further saying: “Hyperpigmentation is one of the negative effects of chronic overexposure to sunlight, which also plays a role in skin ageing and the development of skin cancer. In fact, it is UV radiation that is the main environmental factor that causes human skin aging. Fortunately, a new generation of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants can help counteract these problems.”
Prevention is better than the cure
The sun is the number one issue when it comes to pigmentation. And protecting the skin with high spectrum SPF is vital. Staying out of the midday sun is also highly advised. Jodie Boland, LAB SERIES Grooming Ambassador says: “The best way to treat pigmentation is by preventing it – wear SPF moisturiser daily and reapply as needed so that new spots don’t form and existing spots don’t get darker. Also, be very conscious about how you handle your skin when you experience pimples or clogged pores, it is best to leave them alone and let them heal on their own.”
Dr Nicholas Perricone also advocates protecting the skin with SPF saying: “We all know the dangers of exposing the skin to UV-light, including the generation of free radicals which in turn damages skin cells and connective tissues. I recommend non-chemical sun screens such as ‘physical’ blockers as these are less likely to cause skin reactions.” Try the new Perricone MD Photo Plasma (£54, www.perriconemd.co.uk).
But not just damage from the sun that is an issue – though this should be the number one priority. SPF creams and lotions are also the first line of defence and can help to prevent skin cancer and fine lines and wrinkles.
Blue light damage and pigmentation
SPF remains the number one line of defence when looking at how to treat pigmentation. These also guard against pollution and blue light damage from digital devices and computers (you have been warned). Dr Murad explains: “Blue light has a wavelength of 380-500nm; making it one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths and it penetrates skin more deeply than UVB and UVA rays. It comes naturally from the sun, but also from digital screens such as TVs, computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets, electronic devices, as well as fluorescent and LED lighting.” It can cause pigmentation (more on that later) and inflammation plus uneven skin tone, dullness and line lines and wrinkles. Murad says: “Excessive blue light accelerates the oxidation process, stimulating the keratinocytes and acting on melatonin to cause hyperpigmentation.”Avoiding excessive screen time is the best way to avoid damage, otherwise look out for an SPF with zinc oxide and titanium oxide like Murad’s City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (£55, www.murad.co.uk) which also helps guard against pollution.
Elemis is launching Daily Defence Shield SPF 30, a protective skin shield to guard against everyday environmental stressors. Boosting the skin’s defences indoor and outdoor the new cream helps to shield against sunlight, pollution and computer screens. Available from 1stJune (£46, www.elemis.com). Clarins UV Plus Anti Pollution Day Screen Multi Protection SPF50 (£29.95, www.johnlewis.com) protects against environmental pollution and light damage.
All-in-one products that have a dual function and multi-purpose action are not only time-saving, they streamline your skincare routine. Moisturisers with added SPF are top of the list as are skin-boosting serums. One specifically for men’s skin is LAB SERIES Day Rescue Defense Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 35(£35, www.johnlewis.com)whichcombats sun, dehydration, and pollution and is a top-notch moisturiser, which is perfect post-gym too.
How to treat pigmentation
Don’t panic, because pigmentation can be treated, as Shiseido Training Manager, Julia Stewart says: “Most hyperpigmentation is caused by UV ray exposure, therefore the best thing you can do is wear a high, broad-spectrum SPF daily. There are many pigmentation products available, most containing Vitamin C, E and A (Retinol) that will work to inhibit melanin production.”
The Shiseido Intensive Anti-Dark Spot Serum (£76, www.debenhams.co.uk), prevents dark spots from forming with Spot Block Complex. It also reduces dark spots already formed in the skin using a Multi Target Vitamin C. Finally, it releases trapped melanin that cause stubborn dark spots to stay with Spot DNA Target Complex.
Murad Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum (£70, www.murad.co.uk) is the latest launch which is clinically proven to rapidly diminish the appearance of dark spots, age spots and hyperpigmentation. Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum features Dr Murad’s exclusive NHP-3 Technology which contains: niacinamide, to enhance cell turnover visibly reducing the appearance of dark spots; hexylresorcinol, which reduces skin damage and wrinkles and plankton extract, an encapsulated blend of green and brown microalgae which dissolves dark spots. The formula also contains high-performance ingredients including vitamin C, oligopeptides and subtle light-reflecting pearls. This unique combination helps solve pigmentation problems, enhances skin’s radiance, brightens skin tone instantly and over time.
More great products to help treat pigmentation
And for a final few options of how to treat pigmentation you should definitely check out: Perricone MD which has launched a fat-soluble form of skin-friendly vitamins with his Vitamin C Ester Serum (£80, www.perriconemd.co.uk). Elemis offers the White Brightening Dark Spot Corrector (£35, www.elemis.com) a precision pen applicator for targeting affected areas on the face, neck and hands, visibly reducing imperfections. Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector has an extract from the border silver plant that works like hydroquinone (£43, www.clinique.co.uk). Designed just for men is Clinique for Men Dark Spot Corrector, (£45, www.clinique.co.uk) a serum formulated to treat discolouration whilst visibly reducing dark spots.
Model photo credit: Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash
Second picture credit: Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash