In this day and age, in which muscle relaxing injections and skin fillers are widely available, lines and wrinkles are no longer the number one focus in the battle of anti-ageing. Even the smoothest, tight skin can look aged with a mottled, dull complexion. A clear, bright complexion is the true mark of a youthful and healthy skin and the reason pigmentation is quickly becoming the most common skin concern asked about in clinics.
WHAT CAUSES THE CONCERN?
Age spots, melasma and uneven skin tone are all caused by the body making too much pigment in an area, usually because of damage or stress to the skin. The pigment in our skin is made by a cell called the Melanocyte. We all have pigment in our hair and skin : it is essential in protecting our skin against photo ageing, caused by the sun.
Pigment offers our body protection in two ways:
- The pigment molecules collect around the nucleus of our skin cells, to create a barrier to sun rays attacking our DNA.
- This pigment is granular, so it also thickens our skin, making it more resilient. This is the reason sun worshipers have thick, leathery skin in later life.
The Melanocyte makes extra pigmentation when increased protection is required. When the Melanocyte cell itself becomes damaged, it can continue to make excess pigmentation, even when extra protection is not needed, giving us those permanent dark spots.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SKIN?
There are three common types of hyper-pigmentation.
- Age spots, also known as sunspots are caused by DNA damage to the melanocyte after sun exposure.
- Post inflammatory pigmentation is caused by damaged to the skin such as micro-wounds in our skin ,caused by picking a spot or from a burn
- Melasma, also known as chloasma, is related to hormone elevations associated with pregnancy, menopause, and some medications.
All three of these cause a repair response in the skin whereby new cells are made very quickly. These new cells then create a demand for pigment and dark patches can occur.
Hyper-pigmentation can be superficial or deep in the skin. If it is superficial, the pigment is only in the skin cells closest to the surface of the skin, the melanocyte has returned to normal function and it’s only the burst of pigment from previous damage left behind which is staining the old skin cells. This can be simple to treat and good results can be seen quickly.
If the pigmentation is deeper, it suggests the melanocyte is damaged and constantly pumping out too much pigment. This can be slightly harder to treat as it means having to control the function of the melanocyte.
One simple way to tell if your pigmentation is superficial or deep is to push the skin where it’s darkest. If the skin goes white and slowly returns to its original colour, this would suggest the pigment is superficial. If the skin remains dark, this could suggest the pigment is deeper set and it may require a more aggressive program of treatment and take you longer to see results.
HOW DOES A PRODUCT AFFECT IT?
There are three essential steps to be done at home in the treatment and correcting hyper-pigmentation.
- Using a daily serum with a pigment suppressor, this will stop the production of excessive pigment, at the melanocyte.
- Exfoliating away stained, dead skin, thus stimulating new cellular production of cells ,with controlled levels of pigment, with a highly active chemical exfoliator, containing glycolic acid.
- Wearing an SPF daily to prevent further stress of the melanocyte and protect the skin from UVA radiation.
Only a cosmeceutical product has the potency and delivery systems required to penetrate ingredients to the melanocyte and change its function. The process of pigment production in our skin is an oxidise process and pigment suppressors work by boosting your body’s natural anti-oxidant levels,to prevent excessive production of pigment at the source.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO HAPPEN?
This three-step program done daily will train your skin into making healthy new skin cells regularly and controlling the amount of pigment that’s injected into them, leading to lighter, brighter skin with a more even skin tone. When this daily correcting is combined with clinical treatments, you will see results and improvement in your skin within six weeks. These results, if protected with a daily UVA radiation protector will be long term and prevent further pigmentation problems in the future.
Image’s Illuma range is the first lightening and brightening serum in the industry to contain vectorise technology. A revolutionary delivery system for unparalleled results for hyper-pigmentation. To find an image skin care specialist near you, click here.