Did you know? Brown spots, or the more technical name for them – hyperpigmentation — may soon surpass wrinkles as the most frustrating sign of skin ageing.
We’ve been addressing wrinkles and loss of elasticity for a long time, but the incidence of pigmentation or brown spots is rising and people are finding it quite distressing. Hyper-pigmentation causes skin discolouration and uneven skin tone, which is very influential in the youthful look of our skin. In fact, according to a study published in Evolution and Human Behaviour, unbalanced skin tone can make a person look more than 12 years older.
Not to be confused with freckles, brown spots don’t fade in the winter, and become more evident as we age. They are caused by an overstimulation of melanin (pigment) in our skin. Melanin gives our skin, hair and eyes their colour. The spotting comes about when triggers cause the melanin to overproduce. The number one trigger is sun exposure without protection. Hormonal factors such as the use of birth control pills and pregnancy, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) caused by past trauma or scarring are common ones also, and both of these causes are intensified by sun exposure. Pigmentation is notoriously difficult to get rid of. One analogy I like to use likens them to blue ink on a white shirt, which paints a pretty apt description.
So, can anything be done to get rid of them?
You can call us — we’re the brown spot busters! Seriously though, we can help you discover the root cause of your brown spots. Knowing your personal triggers will reveal the best treatment for you allowing us to prescribe a set of professional treatments with home care. With that said, there is no quick fix and you will need to be patient. It will take at least 30 days of treatment (with sunscreen use) before you notice progress. In general, 75% of skin brightening is considered successful, and this can take up to four months. It’s also important to note that sometimes spots can look darker before they lighten.
I suggest the following to help prevent and minimise the incidence of hyperpigmentation:
1. Apply SPF daily
Sunscreen helps prevent UV light from bringing new spots to the surface, and helps control the colour intensity of spots you can see. If you spend time in the sun without protection you can quickly undo all the work that’s been done in the clinic.
2. Know Your Ingredients
Look for products that contain retinol and specific peptides that help treat and prevent hyperpigmentation for powerfully enhanced skin brightening. We get great results with Dermalogica’s PowerBright TRx. It contains magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) — a stable form of vitamin C, which is helpful for treating hyperpigmentation, scavenging free radicals that cause erratic behaviour in melanin-producing cells, and controlling the enzyme activity that produces melanin and palmaria palmata (red algae) and laminaria ochroleuca (brown algae), which can help enhance luminosity, renew skin tone and control the processes that contribute to hyperpigmentation.
We never recommend hydroquinone, a popular skin-lightening ingredient, because of its risk of adverse reaction. It has been banned in most of the world due to safety concerns.
So, who are you going to call? Call us, the brown spot busters!