Now that we are in the middle of winter and your summer tan has faded, you may be noticing bothersome brown spots and hyperpigmentation on your skin. Freckles, skin discoloration, and melasma are a huge skin concern for my clientele. It can be caused by sun damage, genetics, hormones, birth control, medications, and injury to the skin such as acne or picking. All these things can trigger the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) in your skin.
What I’m finding is often my clients are resorting to “scrubbing” brown spots away by over exfoliating with harsh scrubs or paying for costly microdermabrasion treatments. These ill advised attempts at removing pigmentation will leave you frustrated and only compound problems. Hyperpigmentation is an issue that starts deep within the skin in the basal layer where melanocytes live. Treating hyperpigmentation requires patience and dedication as it is often the result of years of sun exposure and skin damage. It took a good portion of your life for it to develop and it’s going to take time and commitment to see improvement, but it can be done.
So what can you do to treat hyperpigmentation?
Exfoliate: YES. Exfoliation CAN help with hyperpigmentation but, it needs to be done using the correct methods. Professional chemical peels containing glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids are effective at reducing pigmented cells on the surface and accelerating skin cell turnover. To best determine a treatment plan book a skin consultation with your esthetician. The use of gentle Alpha or Beta Hydroxy acid cleansers at home can also be beneficial.
Proper home care is key!
You can have as all the professional treatments under the sun, but if you’re not using the correct home care to treat hyperpigmentation, you aren’t going to see the results you’re looking for. There are many quality professional skin care products that claim to treat hyperpigmentation, but how to you choose what ones to use? A good esthetician will be able to recommend the correct products for your skin type but be sure to look out for a few key ingredients:
Azelaic Acid: initially developed to treat acne, this ingredient works by inhibiting the melanocytes in your skin from producing melanin by blocking an enzyme called tyrosinase.
Kojic Acid: Another tyrosinase inhibitor sourced from mushrooms, It has been found to be effective in fading brown spots.
Niacinamide: Instead of blocking tyrosinase, this ingredient works by preventing the transfer of melanin to the outer layer of skin cells (keratinocytes).
USE SUN PROTECTION!
Using a quality SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen year round (YES! Even during the winter!) is crucial for protecting your skin from developing pigmentation problems. UV light activates the pigment cells within the skin so you want to shield them from the sun’s rays as much as possible.
Although Hyperpigmentation can be a challenge to treat, the correct combination of professional treatments and committed use of home care will give you the best success possible.
Do you want to get gorgeous and glowing? Schedule your skin consultation online or call/text 604-217-7180 today.