Hyperpigmentation, pigment spots, liver spots, age spots, melasma…. “Dear child has many names!
Uneven pigmentation in the skin, in one form or another, many of us struggle with. Most of it comes from sun damage from a lot of sunbathing earlier in life, but can also be affected by hormones.
For example. when pregnant, breastfeeding or menopausal. Did you know that 7 out of 10 women get pigment spots, while only 3 out of 10 men get them? Pretty unfair you ask me! Check here for more info.
The pigments in our skin are there to protect the skin cells from the sun’s UV rays. This is why we get browner in the skin when we have been out in the sun. The sun’s UV rays can also burn, causing damage deep into the skin. When a skin cell is damaged, it no longer works properly.
It can result in it making either too much or too little pigment, there can be too many dead skin cells on the surface, the cells that form collagen and elastin no longer work so well. The skin gets an uneven surface – in both color and texture – and looks older.
What can we do about it?
Point 1 – prevention
Use SPF 50 and avoid getting sun directly on your face. Wear sunglasses, a sun hat and feel free to lie under an umbrella on the beach. Because it is unfortunately the case that once you have started to get pigment spots, they pop out at the slightest ray of sunshine.
Hormone imbalances can also lead to pigmentation. So during puberty, pregnancy and menopause you need to be extra careful. Birth control pills and other medications can also affect the production of pigment in the skin.
If the skin is light, thin and sensitive, you have scars from acne or other things, there is also an increased risk of getting pigmentation.
Point 2 – treatment of pigment spots
Once the pigment spots are there, most people want to make them as invisible as possible. The first thing to be aware of then is that this is going to take time . It took many years for the pigment spots to get there, so it is not done in a jiffy to make them disappear.
The cells that produce pigment are located at the very bottom of the epidermis. The good thing is that all the cells in the epidermis are replaced within a month. It also means that a hyperpigmented cell will use approx. a month on its journey upward in the skin layers, before it falls off.
This is not to say that you can get rid of a pigment spot in a month. It takes time to “raise” the skin cells to produce the right amount of pigment. Some people may find that a pigment spot actually looks darker for a while before it fades.
The Pigment Warriors:
Vitamin C is a super antioxidant! Vitamin C affects both the cells that produce collagen and elastin, and calms down the cells that are responsible for pigment production. In addition, vitamin C has a good effect on the skin surface, by smoothing the skin tone and giving a nice glow.
Tranexamic acid is the new major in Asian skin care thanks to the sensational effect on pigmentation. Tranexamic acid comes from the amino acid Lysine. It has a calming effect on the skin, at the same time as it strengthens our collagen and elastin AND inhibits the formation of pigment. What a cheeky egg! You can find both in C-serum Dual Action .
Recent research also supports the fact that vitamin C strengthens the skin’s natural defense system, both against the sun’s rays and free radicals.
More ingredients for pigment spots:
Vitamin A is probably the best documented ingredient in skin care. With its ability to affect our cell renewal, it will reduce both signs of aging, acne problems AND pigment spots.
Retinol is the best known and most powerful form of vitamin A in skin care. Sytenol is the plant-based variant, which has the same properties but is milder against the skin. Sytenol can also be used in the sun – it can not retinol.
Hordeum Vulgare extract is one of the new supplements for ingredients against pigmentation. It is a plant widely used in Korean skin care, and works by inhibiting the chemical processes that take place in the skin, which causes the cells to produce too much pigment.
Common to all acids is that they have an exfoliating effect, ie that they dissolve in the top layer of old skin cells on the skin. These are cells that are ready to fall off, but that only need a little push, so that there is room for new, young cells.
They increase the skin’s cell renewal, which is good for mature skin, where cell renewal is slower than in young skin. The exfoliating effect also helps to smooth out lines and wrinkles, and treats pigmentations deep down in the skin.
The combination of weekly acid peel and effective serum such as C-serum will even out the skin tone and give the skin more tools to correct the cells that produce defects.