Ever notice how pigmentation increases during summer? Have you ever come back home from a beach holiday and noticed an increase in sun spots or freckles, or even darkened patches of pigmentation? The sun is a major cause of skin discolouration, so it’s no surprise that summer poses a challenge to those of us who are prone to pigmentation.
Our skin contains melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting us from harmful UV rays (this is why we get tanned when we spend time in the sun). Too much time in the sun can disrupt this process and lead to an over-production of melanin, which is how pigmentation occurs. Pigmentation may also be caused by other factors like localized inflammation such as acne / breakouts, certain medications or hormones. The sun can, however, still intensify these types of pigmentation, even if it was not the cause.
When it comes to pigmentation, prevention is better than cure. As such, all the things our moms told us to do when we were growing up, ring true now: Avoid spending time outside in the sun’s peak hours (10am – 2pm), always wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing and don’t forget to apply SPF. It’s important to invest in a broad-spectrum SPF that protects from both UVA rays (that cause ageing) and UVB rays (that cause burning). Don’t skimp on quality when purchasing a sunscreen – we recommend spending a little bit more to ensure the product offers great quality ingredients that do their utmost to protect the skin. Heliocare is recommended by dermatologists and skin experts across the world, and offers great options for both face and body.
Remember to apply your SPF to those “forgotten” areas too – behind your neck, on your ears and the skin below your eyebrows. Unfortunately, once a day isn’t enough. Reapply throughout the day to ensure your skin is protected, especially if you are spending long periods of times outside.
If you are prone to breakouts or acne, here is the only reason you need to stop picking at, or squeezing, your spots: the “trauma” your skin undergoes when you pick at a pimple means it is left injured, and when this injury is exposed to UV rays, it is more likely to not only scar, but to leave a darkened (pigmented) mark which may be very difficult to remove.
Although skin treatments like peels are more suitable for winter time, it is still worth popping by your nearest Skin Renewal branch for a gentle peel or facial once every four to six weeks to monitor and treat any pigmentation you may develop. Your therapist will keep an eye on your skin and recommend preventative products or products to treat pigmentation, should they be needed. When it comes to a complicated skin condition like pigmentation, it’s best to nip it in the bud as early on as possible.
If you already have pigmentation, various treatment options may be available depending on the cause and severity. The number one piece of advice would be to continue to apply a broad-spectrum SPF50 every day, as this will help prevent the darkening of the existing marks. A topical vitamin C serum that is rich in antioxidants and blocks free radicals goes a long way in fading existing pigmentation. Applying a vitamin C serum in the morning and a retinol (vitamin A) serum at night is a great way to increase the skin’s cell turnover rate and help fade skin discolouration. You also do need to use a serum that is targeted at the production of the melanin.
For stubborn pigmentation, your therapist may recommend a series of laser treatments or intensive peels. These are highly effective, but more suitable for the winter months as they make the skin temporarily sensitive to the sun.
Whatever your degree of pigmentation, the team at Skin Renewal will help you find a solution that suits your needs, your lifestyle and your pocket. Contact your nearest branch for a consultation.
This post was sponsored by Skin Renewal.