Think maintaining bright and pigmentation free skin is only something we should be battling through the warmer months? Think again! If anything, tackling pigmentation and is actually something we should be tackling all year round!
Plus, now that it's cool we tend to spend less time outdoors anyway, so the timing couldn't be more perfect! So how can we brighten our skin this winter and keep pigmentation at bay? We asked Zoe Devine, Skinstitut expert to give us the lowdown!
What are the causes of pigmentation?
Within our skin we have specialised pigment producing cells (known as melanocytes) which produce melanin. This is done to protect neighbouring skin cells from DNA damage (eg. damage can occur via UV light) and is a normal skin function. In the case of hyperpigmentation (darker areas of skin), the melanin producing cells have been over stimulated. This can occur due to internal factors, such as hormones, or external factors, such as UV light from the sun. Causes of pigmentation can include any of the following:
Trauma to the skin
Environment and pollution
Medications (both topical and oral)
Hormones (pregnancy, lactation)
Diet (high in protein, low in nutrients such as B vitamins)
The first step in addressing uneven skin tone and excess pigment in the skin is to understand what may be causing the condition.Applying a daily broad spectrum SPF 50+ to the skin is vital for preventing any pigmentation caused from the sun. There are also plenty of tweaks we can make to our lifestyle to reduce the likelihood of pigmentation:
- Increase intake of fresh fruit and vegetables to provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Avoid excessive sun exposure and wear SPF
- When outdoors wear a hat and sunglasses
- Reduce alcohol and processed food intake
- Avoid excessively high protein diets
- Be aware of missing nutrients if following a restricted diet for health reasons and seek
- appropriate professional advice
- Adopt relaxation methods to help control stress levels within the body, such as yoga, and deep breathing etc...
- Assess and re-evaluate make-up and skin care products
What key ingredients help to brighten the skin?
Botanical extracts such Daisy Flower & Wakame (seaweed extract) – these ingredients are what we refer to as Tyrosinase inhibitors, which means they help to slow down (hyperactive) pigment production.
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs)
What does Vitamin C do for the skin? Why is it useful in brightening skin?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are important for skin brightening. If there is significant excess pigment being produced in the skin, a by-product of this is also free radical production. These additional free radicals cause further trauma to the skin, exacerbating the hyperpigmentation pathway which can actually lead to more pigment production. Vitamin C helps to neutralise these damaging free radicals, reducing the likelihood of further trauma to melanin producing cell.
Additionally, vitamin C increases the skins ability to resist UV induced damage and acts as mild tyrosinase inhibitor to even and fade unwanted pigment. Overall, it’s a bit of a super star to skin radiance, luminosity and tone (not to mention it assists with collagen production too).
Does exfoliation help to brighten skin and encourage product absorption in the skin?
Yes, exfoliation is an important part of the process when brightening the skin tone. However, like all good things, this is best done in moderation. Over-exfoliation with harsh products or simply using great products but too often can actually exacerbate pigmentation (due to the excess trauma in the skin).
When exfoliants are used correctly (and correctly prescribed for your skin) they help to increase cell turnover, lifting superficial pigmented cells to the surface of the skin faster, where they can be desquamated (gently shed away).
Regular use of a suitable exfoliant will ensure better absorption of brightening skin correcting serums, as there will be less dead skin build up.
Is SPF important in order to achieve and maintain brighter skin?
Absolutely, you cannot have a brightening regime without the use of Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. The sun is the single most detrimental factor for ageing and skin discolouration or pigment (especially in Australia). You can choose an SPF that serves as a multi-purpose product. Skinstitut Age Defence SPF 50+ - $45.00 works as a day cream, make-up primer and SPF. It will help to prevent further sun damage plus brighten the skin tone with the addition of ingredients Vitamin B3 and antioxidants.
Tell us, what products do you use to avoid pigmentation?