For some women, pigmentation can be a complete curse.
Although I personally love freckles, and even a certain amount of sun-damage pigmentation can add character to a more mature face, especially if the skin is good.
But for some, their pigmentation is so severe and unattractive that it takes away from their natural beauty.
I am talking about those dark spots caused by sun damage, hormone dysfunction, acne scarring or post-injury scarring.
The main causes for pigmentation are;
Excess of melanin, or pigment in the skin due to the result of too much UV exposure (solar lentigines: isolated dark spots, or spreads of finely clustered freckle-like spots). Some people are so sun-sensitive, however, that even hanging out washing on the line in the shade without a hat can cause the pigmentation to occur.
Aging – just as the lines develop due to loss of collagen and elastin, the skin’s colouring also becomes uneven. For many, they end up with darker spots on their face and body which can be pre-cancerous, but usually, they are just unattractive age spots.
Hormones can also be the cause. Many women develop pigmentation from taking the contraceptive pill or during pregnancy. This is known as melasma (it can also result from genetic and other factors) and, while it usually fades after giving birth or when ceasing to take the pill, for some, it still hangs around.
Melasma can be notoriously difficult to treat and may recur even after an apparently successful treatment.
When the skin scars after an injury (whether from an accident, surgery or from acne outbreaks) it may develop what is known as post-inflammatory pigmentation. This is more common in people with darker skin. The reason for this is that their skin is finer and more prone to bruising or scaring.
Ways to treat pigmentation
There are a variety of ways to treat pigmentation, unfortunately, there is no permanent solution.
There are an array of creams on the market which exfoliate the skin and lighten pigmentation. When used religiously with a zinc sunscreen applied over the top daily, as well as keeping out of the sun, the results will last reasonably well.
My one concern is – these creams are often not all that great for maintaining optimal skin health – so you may end up with no pigmentation, but have flat lifeless looking skin.
Then there is the internet, which is a minefield of DIY pigment fading treatments. Of all of them, using a potato to fade your pigmentation with lemon juice is the only treatment with any real merit. The reason this treatment has possible potential is that the enzyme in potato, catecholase has the ability to lighten the skin, and lemon juice contains citric acid which is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid which exfoliates your skin. You could also use an orange the same way as it too, contains citric acid, and they both contain vitamin C which will lighten the skin.
If you want to give this treatment a go, I would cut a lemon in half, rub it over the skin, followed by rubbing a potato cut in half over the skin whilst still wet from the lemon. Leave on the skin for 10 – 20 minutes or even overnight (put a towel on your pillow) -repeat this till your skin clears. They say from overnight to 30 days depending which site you read.
Laser is the go-to treatment for eliminating pigmentation. I used to be very anti-laser as the results were very varied, and the cost very high. Costs have dropped and lasers have moved forward in leaps and bounds. Some clinicians do a laser treatment followed by light therapy which to me makes great sense for ultimate results.
Lightening skin peels followed by light therapy is my personal favourite treatment for not only great fading results but also for long-term healthy skin results.
A salon recommended skin fading product which also improves skin health will ensure ongoing results after laser treatment or peel. But again – these results are only as good as the time you spend out of the sun and wearing a zinc-based sunscreen, or mineral makeup applied generously to the skin.
If you like me have some form of pigmentation (mine is caused due severe sun-damage thanks to years of living on the beach and on boats), and although you do not like the pigmentation, you are not going to spend your life covered in sunscreen wearing hats and staying out of the sun! Do the following to detract people’s eyes from your pigmentation, and have them looking at your gorgeous glowing skin instead, whilst still gently fading much of it to a less noticeable level as well as improving the look of your skin;
Beyond your regular daily cleansing routine – exfoliate your skin 2 – 3 times per week. Apply a good vitamin C serum such as David Deans The Soul Vitamin C Serum followed by a hydrating moisturizer and a BB cream which contains a sunscreen such as Organic Spa Beauty Balm. Don’t forget to apply all products all the way down your neck and even on your decolletage!
Hi! My name is Yvette van Schie, I am a qualified Beauty Therapist with 32 years industry experience. I have worked with some of the best in the business and now besides writing my educational blog posts, I write holistic beauty articles for the leading industry magazine Professional Beauty and also write a weekly blog for a cosmetic beauty clinic called Instant Laser Clinic.
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