Dark spots, age spots, sun spots – what IS pigmentation? We explain your uneven complexion and suggest solutions for clearer, brighter skin.
You may not have deep frown lines or crow's feet, but if you have started staring into the mirror a little more closely and feel like your skin is changing, chances are it's thanks to uneven skin tone.
Now, I don't mean that gorgeous smattering of freckles that make your face so uniquely beautiful, but the bigger, uneven brown patches on not only the face but hands, décolletage and shoulder areas. It's these ageing dark spots of bother that are known as pigmentation, caused by sun exposure and specifically the UVA rays which penetrate deep into your skin and cause ageing.
Here's what happens under your skin
UVA stimulates your pigment cells called Melanocytes to manufacture the pigment called Melanin. This is responsible for your tan and also your unwanted dark patches. These sun spots may take up to 10-20 years to develop, so if you notice some showing now it could have been caused when you were a child.
Triggers of pigmentation in young women also include the contraceptive pill and pregnancy which alter hormone levels. This coupled with sun exposure can result in patchy dark spots, often on the upper lip and forehead.
What to do if it's bothering you
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 so many unique formulas on the market that target different types of facial pigmentation, which means that beginning your skin-brightening journey is actually 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, which boast key ingredients in powerful concentrations. Opt for something with an AHA such as Hibiscus which improves the rate of cell turnover. Vitamins E and B are also beneficial for pigmentation.
Prevent future pigmentation and sun damage by wearing a UVA and UVB shielding sunscreen, feeding your face with antioxidants (primarily fruits and veggies) and avoiding prolonged periods of sun exposure. Adding a brightening product designed to tackle pigmentation to your skincare regime, making it the first product you use after cleansing and toning day and night, can help turn back time.
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