Writer and expert /
Skin pigmentation can be a frustrating concern to have, as it’s easily amassed yet often difficult to get rid of. It can manifest in the form of sun spots, dark patches or even stubborn acne scarring, but one thing all types have in common is that they’ll require a little dedication to eradicate for good.
You might have pigmentation spots and not even know how you’ve amassed them, and that’s okay. Keep on reading to discover exactly what pigmentation is, how it can form and most importantly, which skincare products will help you finally see the end of it.
Technically the word ‘pigmentation’ refers to any pigment (colour) within the skin, so each of us have varying levels based on how dark or light our complexion is. What has commonly become known just as pigmentation in the skincare world, though, is hyperpigmentation, AKA the overproduction of melanin. This results in pesky dark spots that may arise on your face or body for one reason or another.
Perhaps the most common form of hyperpigmentation, especially in women, is called melasma. Known to occur primarily on the face, melasma is caused by hormonal imbalances. If you’re on the contraceptive pill or have irregular estrogen levels, this may explain the skin issues you’re experiencing. Make sure to go off your pill and visit your doctor for a way to regulate your hormones before dabbling in new skincare.
Another common form of pigmentation is the darkening of the skin due to UV exposure. If you’re always out in direct sunlight, or have gotten burned a few too many times, you may begin to notice areas that become deeper in colour than others. These can range from small freckles to large patches that cover a high percentage of the face.
Finally, acne scarring is often grouped in with melasma and sun damage, as it can create similarly stubborn dark patches on the skin. Usually the result of large cysts or excessive picking and popping, acne scars can range in colour from almost red to deep brown. They’re often deeply rooted in the skin’s layers, meaning your regular skincare go-tos might not cut it.
If your pigmentation issues are bothering you, switching up your skincare can be a way to kick healthy cell production back into gear. There are now hundreds of unique formulas that target different iterations of facial pigmentation, which means that beginning your skin-brightening journey is just a matter of adding them into your routine.
When creating your new routine, you’ll want to focus on ingredients that’ve been proven to have brightening or skin-resurfacing benefits — a combination of the two, along with some protective antioxidants, is what will make an effective formula.
A common skincare pick for pigmentation is a serum, most of which boast key ingredients in safe yet potent concentrations. Opt for Vitamin C or something with an AHA such as Glycolic Acid. Vitamins E and B are also beneficial for pigmentation, as is retinol, though you should always spot test the latter and ensure you wear a quality SPF each day.
The Skinstitut Even Blend Serum is an affordable yet extremely effective serum for treating pigmentation, and uses Glycolic Acid to encourage cell turnover and fade those dark spots. Botanical extracts help soothe skin and protect against further damage from the elements. Another favourite is the EmerginC Vitamin C Serum 20%, which contains a strong yet safe concentration of this key ingredient.
Topical treatments or creams are also commonly used to treat pigmentation issues. The SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector is a bestseller, and has been found to work wonders on pigmentation spots across all ethnicities and skin types. In addition to fading existing pigmentation, it also increases the skin’s resistance to prevent from new spots occurring. The FreezeFrame Hyper White also does a similar job, except using a different selection of ingredients including titanium dioxide and niacinamide (Vitamin B).
Finally, to supplement the daily use of your cream or serum, it’s always good to have a peel on-hand. Designed for less frequent use — once or twice a week is good — peels actively remove the top few layers of your skin, which then contributes to fading pigmentation. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Superficial Peeling Solution is a high-quality and super inexpensive option, whereas the Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel is your luxe alternative, and works its magic overnight.
Is your pigmentation a little more stubborn than you’d expected? Depending on how long you’ve had it and how deep it runs, you may find evening out your complexion takes quite a long time. There are definitely a few additional things you can try to kick things up a notch, though.
Help serums penetrate the skin’s layers more effectively by using a derma roller from home, such as the Skinstitut SkinInject Derma Roller 0.25mm. This unique dermatological device makes tiny abrasions in the skin’s outer layer, also known as micro-injuries. As a result, your serum of choice can reach deeper into the skin and work more effectively. The skin also has to work extra hard to repair these small abrasions, meaning new skin cells are generated quickly and effectively.
Another way to amp up your results is to pop into your local salon or skincare clinic for a treatment. Microdermabrasions or professional facial peels are a great way to start if you’re suffering from pigmentation issues. If you live on the Gold Coast, be sure to visit the pros at our Brickworks or Burleigh salons!
If you experience pigmentation, what’s your favourite product to combat it? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter.
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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