Pigmentation – age spots, sun spots, scars, brown patches and stubborn splotches… it comes in many forms and is notoriously tricky to treat. To tackle pesky pigmentation takes time, patience, consistency and commitment. And to keep it at bay requires a good maintenance regime.
There is not a single product or treatment that will tackle pigmentation, it’s all about a multi-product approach. You must be diligent and patient as it does take time (usually 3+ months to see results) and you’ve got to manage expectations. Whilst you can lighten it drastically it will never completely go away and it’s likely it will come back … particularly if you're not diligent with sun care.
UVA Stimulates your pigment cells (called Melanocytes) to create the pigment melanin. This is what is responsible for your tan, but also over time unwanted dark patches and sun spots are formed. It goes without saying, being extremely committed to using SPF all year round is vital in managing all types of pigmentation – particularly in the harsh New Zealand climate.
Before you treat your pigmentation it’s really important to identify the different types of pigmentation there are and what type (or types) you have so you can better identify how to treat it.
PIH Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
PIH is basically any type of trauma to your skin – acne, bug bites or even rashes where your skin has undergone some form of injury and it has responded by producing more melanin in that area to protect it.
BEST TREATMENTS: Daily Vitamin C Serum. Regular exfoliation with AHAs. Melanin inhibitor solutions. Sunscreen.
Sun Spots & Age Spots
Sun spots and age spots are simply a localised spot of pigmentation. It comes from increased sun exposure and appears more when we age. Affected areas always include face, chest and hands – all the areas that are always exposed.
BEST TREATMENTS: Retinol. Daily Vitamin C Serum. Regular exfoliation with AHAs. Melanin inhibitor solutions. Sunscreen
Melasma & Chloasma
Splotchy patches on your face that often have a map like appearance - usually around the sides of the face, forehead, upper lip and bridge of nose. This is often caused by a combination of sun plus a surge of hormones – eg. pregnancy, birth control, hormone replacement or menopause. This is a harder form of pigmentation to treat and will take longer to fade and can come back very easily.
BEST TREATMENTS:Retinol. Daily Vitamin C Serum. Regular exfoliation with AHAs. Melanin inhibitor solutions. Sunscreen.( If severe case, consider in clinic professional treatments such as Cosmelan)
Here are our top 4 products to help tackle all forms of pigmentation with proven ingredients that will deliver results.
TARGETED BRIGHTENING SERUM
Introducing a targeted serum that focuses on brightening the skin and inhibiting melanin production is the first step to tackling pigmentation.
You need to look for brightening ingredients that will reduce pigmentation by inhibiting an enzyme called tyronisaise - this is what is responsible for the formation of melanin and inhibiting it is the first step in tackling pigmentation.
We have seen excellent results for hyper-pigmentation using the White Lightening Complex from iS Clinical, a cutting edge treatment that brightens skin tone with Norwegian kelp and bearberry extract and is packed with antioxidant protection (Vit C) and effectively disrupts further darkening of skin.
For best results we recommend pairing with iS Clinical White Lightening Serum in the evening to enhance the pigmentation treatment. .
ALPHA HYDROXY ACID (AHA'S)
AHA’s – Alpha Hydroxy Acids are particularly good at dealing with hyperpigmentation as it helps heal sun damage and scars by increasing the cell turnover of skin which in turn will end up fading your dark spots.
Glycolic Acid is an AHA, and has incredible exfoliating properties. Cane & Austins Miracle Pads are offered in various grades 10%, 20% and 30% that work to restore vitality in the skin. Not only do they exfoliate beautifully, they will help lighten sun spots as well as working to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
TIP: We suggest only exfoliating with these 1-2x a week – and if you’re using Retinols skip them the night you exfoliate. You don’t want to overwhelm your skin with active ingredients.
Retinoids are instrumental in reversing sun damage by also encouraging cell turnover. The healthy turnover of will cells will contribute to the lightening of pigmentation especially when part of a regime that includes other targeted brightening products.
Retinol and Retinoids works to not only increase cell turnover but also have excellent anti-ageing properties as it stimulates collagen and elastin production too. We love Retinol Reform, the cult product that does it all targeting the signs of aging making skin brighter, tighter and more youthful.
TIP: We advise introducing Retinol from your late 20’s onwards.
Using a Vitamin C serum each morning is extremely important for protecting your skin against the sun. It's also excellent at fading sunspots and reversing sun damage – continued use of a daily Vitamin C with a high % of Ascorbic Acid will help keep your pigment at bay.
NOTE: we advise emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a tailored skin regime suited to your skin type and needs and to ensure you are using products properly. Particularly if you have sensitive skin, are new to retinol, AHAs or are using multiple products with active ingredients.