Pigmentation is a common problem that can be appear due to a multitude of reasons. Dark spots and uneven skin tone can be targeted by skin care products designed to help brighten the skin.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a condition that is characterised by the darkening of certain areas of skin. This is caused by pigmentation in the skin (melanin) being overproduced.1 This can occur as the result of hyperactive melanocytes or when an abnormally large amount of melanocytes produce melanin.1 Hyperpigmentation can appear on any part of the body, but is most commonly found on the face, neck and hands.
There are three main types of pigmentation. Lentigo/Lentigenes which are the technical terms for freckles! Solar Lentigenes which are freckles caused by sun exposure (often referred to as sun spots, age spots or liver spots), and Melasma which is a type of hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal imbalance. Melasama is common during pregnancy and usually appears like blotchy areas on the skin, particularly common near the face.1
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by many different internal and external influences. These include:
Hormonal changes/ Pregnancy: Whenever the body's hormones are thrown off balance, this can cause pigmentation. This could be due to a surge in estrogen and progesterone, pregnancy or taking the pill. When hormone production is increased, this can cause a stimulation in the production of melanin which causes hyperpigmentation.2 During pregnancy, Melasma pigmentation appears on the skin in brown blotchy patches. This usually disappears after pregnancy, but in some cases it doesn't.2
Overexposure to the sun: Overexposure to the sun is dangerous and can cause pigmentation in the skin that appears like oversized freckles. Sun spots are usually as big as a few centimetres and are often found around the arms and face. They usually appear identical, however if you notice any non uniformity with this pigmentation, you should consult a dermatologist, as this could be a sign of skin cancer.3
Skin inflammation: Skin inflammation can also leave 'scarring' pigmentation on the skin. This hyperpigmentation is not a permanent problem but is caused by the skin's inflammatory response to any hormonal changes. This form of hyperpigmentation is most common in people with darker skin tones.4
Natural Brightening products
Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil
This Rosehip Oil from Pai can be used to on the appearance of scars, sun damage, stretch marks and pigmentation, as Rosehip contains an ingredient called Trans-Retinoic Acid. This ingredient can naturally improve the skin's appearance by brightening darkened areas.5. It is also rich in 100% natural Vitamin E, which may help reduce the appearance of sun damage and improve the skin's texture.
ECO. Face Certified Organic Pigmentation Serum
This organic serum from Eco Modern is specifically made with brightening ingredients like Lemon, Jojoba and Rosemary which may help target the appearance of pigmentation, while moisturising the skin. To use, simply apply to pigmented areas both in the morning and night. Remember to always apply SPF when using a brightening skin product!
Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser
This creamy cleanser from Andalou also uses the brightening benefits of lemon fruit stem cells. As lemons contain high amounts of Vitamin C, it can neutralise free radicals and prevent damaged skin cells.6 It can also remove dead skin and even out the skin tone.6 Blended with soothing Manuka Honey, this face cleanser is best suited for normal to combination skin.
La Mav Brightening Collection
This 4 piece collection from La Mav is a specially curated collection of products specifically designed to target pigmentation, age spots and generally uneven skin tone. This beautiful pack comes in a gift box and would make a lovely present or a treat for yourself! It contains the Rumex Advanced Lightening Day Creme, Vitamin C Advanced Nightly Repair Nectar, Anti Dark-Circle & Ultra Firm Eye Gel and the Daily Vitamin-C Brightening Serum and saves you over money on purchasing the products individually.
Acure Radical Resurfacing Treatment
This skin treatment from Acure is designed to target pigmentation and blotchiness on the skin. It can do this through Acure's plant stem cell technology, Lemon probiotics, CoQ10 and organic Chlorella growth factor(CGF). Combined with plants, seeds and fruit extracts, this treatment can improve the appearance of your skin. A clinical study was conducted by Acure whereby 30 women (between the ages of 33 - 64) were tested for 28 days. Results showed that 85% of test subjects said that their complexion was more uniform and pigmentation decreased!8
The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner
This Beauty Chef skin refiner has a lot of amazing benefits for the skin and actually contains gentle AHA's which may help speed up the removal process of excess melanin. This is effective for hyperpigmentation as the AHA can balance uneven skin.9 It may also lighten sun spots and smooth the texture of the skin to leave it glowing! To use, simply apply with a cotton wool pad after cleansing and followed with your favourite moisturiser. You should use daily morning and night for best results!
Weleda Pomegranate Firming Facial Serum
Pomegranate is a known powerful antioxidant that can help fade pigmentation and age spots.10 That's why this firming facial serum is such a great choice for anyone with hyperpigmentation! Best applied after cleansing and before moisturising, this serum is also ultra hydrating!
Edible Beauty & Coco Bliss Intensive Repair
Sometimes there's nothing better than applying a nourishing facial mask. This one from Edible Beauty is regenerative and may help to reduce pigmentation problems. This is achieved through the inclusion of brightening ingredients including Pomegranate and Acai. Blended with soothing Shea and Cocoa butters as well as Vitamins B,C and E, this mask helps brighten and hydrate. To use, apply a thick layer to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
(sources: 1mariobadescu.com, 2youbeauty.com, 3positivehealth.com, 4acne.org, 5emedicine.medscape.com, 6livestrong.com, 7futurederm.com, 8acureorganics.com, 9the-scientist.com, 10multiculturalbeauty.about.com)