When it comes to anti-ageing, most people think of 'lines & wrinkles'. However, L&W's aren't the only factor that ages our appearance, but rather a multitude of factors including loss of firmness i.e. sagging, loss of luminosity i.e. dull / lacklustre skin and uneven skin tone i.e. pigmentation!
Focusing on pigmentation, I've put together my Top 3 Products For Pigmentation, both preventing and treating hyper-pigmentation, the darker patches of skin that robs us of the more even tone we once had!
Firstly, lets cover what is hyper-pigmentation and what causes it?
Hyper-pigmentation is effectively a patch or area of skin where the melanocytes, responsible for melanin production, have gone into overdrive and produce too much melanin. Resulting in a darkening of the skin. The causes can include;
- Excessive exposure to UV radiation
- Hormonal changes i.e. Melasma
- Trauma to the skin or use of topical steroid creams i.e. PIH or Post-Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation
They all have one thing in common, UV exposure. As the melanocyte is stimulated by an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is activated by UV exposure. However in the case of hormonal changes, medication and trauma / topical steroid creams, it's not a case of excessive exposure, but rather your skin has been over-sensitised to UV, so even a small amount of exposure could cause pigmentation issues.
With that in mind, lets move on to my top 3 products for treating and preventing pigmentation.
Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation Face SPF50+
Considering UV exposure if the number 1 factor in hyper-pigmentation, it comes to no surprise that a good, high factor sunscreen is essential. I've also used the Ultrasun Anti-Ageing Face SPF50+ formula before, which includes ECTOIN and Superoxide Dismutase, a free radical scavenger. The new anti-pigmentation formulation contains everything the anti-ageing formulation does, plus additional anti-pigmentation ingredients. It can be used to not only prevent pigmentation from forming but also treat existing superficial pigmentation.
Of course, being Ultrasun it's a once a day, high stable formulation. It's rich but non-greasy, so can replace your antioxidant serum, daily moisturiser + sunscreen in one step (depending on skin type).
Retailing at £32 for 50ml and available from ultrasun.co.uk.
NCN Professional - Vitamin C+ Serum
Vitamin C is a proven and effective antioxidant in treating pigmentation. The only problem with the ingredient, is it can be very irritating on the skin. The issue with a lot of 'vitamin C' serums on the high street, is they simply don't contain enough vitamin C to be effective. Add in the fact, it's also a highly unstable ingredient and oxidises quickly.
The NCN Professional Vitamin C+ Serum has a massive 20% vitamin C, in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid but to it, they've added Glutathione to help stabilise it, plus Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a more stable and non-irritating version of vitamin C. Plus sea kelp, hyaluronic acid, vitamin e and beta glucans makes this more than just a Vitamin C serum!
It's very effective. My only caution for men using this, is it can sting on freshly shaved skin.
Retailing at £31.99 for 36ml and available from Treat The Skin You're In.
CosMedix Simply Brilliant
For more advanced pigmentation issues, that are maybe a little deeper. You may want to consider using a tyrosinase inhibitor. As mentioned, tyrosinase is the enzyme within the body which instructs the melanocyte to produce more melanin / pigment. Therefore by inhibiting the tyroinase, it prevents the message from getting through.
There are however some rather dangerous tyrosinase inhibitors out there such as hydroquinone, which essentially is TOO effective. Melanin is what protects our skin from UV radiation, so stripping the skin of it completely is obviously never going to be a good thing.
CosMedix Simply Brilliant is hydroquinone-free and instead uses safer tyrosinase inhibitors; Whitonyl, Nonapeptide & Waltheria. I prefer the term 'tyrosinase regulators' i.e. regulating production rather than inhibiting.
Along with 7 other natural skin brightening ingredients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, salicylic acid, green tea, daisy flower extract and liquorice root extract.
Retailing at £45.24 for 15ml and available from Medico Beauty.
If you have deep or severe pigmentation you wish to treat, then I'd definitely visiting your local clinic / skin professional, and enquiring about the options available, such as skin peels or laser treatment. However, as I always recommend, start with the mildest form of treatment and work up!