In a selfie-loving world where flawless, radiant, blemish-free skin reigns supreme, one of the most hated skin complaints is pigmentation, but in a bid to enhance your skin clarity, it is helpful to understand this common aesthetic enemy so you can wage – and win – the war on pigmentation!
Pigmentation usually manifests as small patches of discolouration and darkening that persist on your face, neck, décolleté, shoulders and hands and it occurs due to an increase in the number of pigment-producing cells in the skin, or the pigmented substance they produce (melanin).
Depending on your skin type, you can be susceptible to different forms of pigmentation. For instance, post-inflammatory pigmentation happens after inflammation of the skin and follows injury or an inflammatory disorder of the skin (such as eczema, dermatitis etc) and while it is a temporary phenomenon, it can be more intense and longer lasting in darker skin types. For those with fair skin, freckles, which can be attributed to genetic makeup, can darken and increase in number after spending time in the sun.
There is however one pigmentation condition that does not differentiate between skin types and that is melasma. The most common form of facial pigmentation usually appears between the ages of 20 and 40. While prolonged sun exposure is a known trigger, experts believe that hormonal imbalances, specific medications such as the contraceptive pill, and pregnancy can also result in this skin foe.
In all instances, pigmentation conditions need careful management with an expert-recommended skincare routine that includes topical products and in-clinic treatments. Chemical peels and energy-based treatments are extremely effective at resolving the visible effects of pigmentation, but both are best performed during autumn and winter as they can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Unsurprisingly, whatever your treatment of choice, the most effective way to keep pigmentation at bay is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, and between noon and 2pm, if you are planning to be outdoors, you should also protect your skin by wearing long clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.