Appearing on her vocational yacht in the 1920’s looking bronzed and no doubt fashionable, Coco Chanel set forth a movement that made the darkening –or- tanning – of skin a sign of health and affluence. Thanks in part to awareness that UV light causes skin aging and cancer, tanning is falling out of favor as a sign of skin health. Consumers worldwide are more interested in obtaining lighter, brighter skins and research has indicated that those with uneven skin tone perceive their skins as looking ‘aged” whilst those with even complexions feel far younger!

Skin Lighteners are the fastest growing area in the skin care arena . In fact there is over 170 brands of different skin lighteners on the African market alone! The average consumer spends R1800 on whitening/lightening products and editors state that it is the most important trend of today!

So, what is Hyper Pigmentation?

In addition to genetics and environmental influences, skin pigmentation is effected by endocrine(hormonal) factors, genetics, inflammation, usage of prescription drugs, stress , topically applied products, including cosmetics and wound healing to the skin tissue. No matter how it is triggered , hyper-pigmentation shows as a dark brown or “age spots” and can cause an uneven , mottled skin tone!

What can we do about it?

Well knowledge is power and here are some really important facts that you need to consider when deciding to take on your pigmented skin.

It doesn’t fix itself over night!

Understand that what you see on your skin now, is as a result of your abuse of your skin over the past 12 years. So in order to change or undo the damage is going to take some time, (as much as 12-24 weeks) and if you should re –expose yourself to your trigger factor like sun or incorrect product use or trauma, stress, hormonal imbalances: it will come back again!

Avoid fly by night remedies

Scientists have recently discovered that pigmentation is not limited to the Melanocyte (pigment cell) in the epidermis but also “dangle” into the dermis. This explains why we didn’t get the results we were looking for previously as products were only designed to penetrate into the epidermis. Now we have far better results but it means that we have to use well formulated products that are designed to reach as far down as the dermis.

Beware problem ingredients

Sterols (e.g. Clobetasol) and hydroquinone as well as mercury compounds are known to have harsh effects (mutagenic and photo toxic) associated with their use. The problem is that 89% of most skin lighteners contain these ingredients. Also avoid any fragranced products- they are a “no go” zone!

Work with your skin expert

This is a battle that needs the expert knowledge of a skin professional and professional treatments protocol. It’s a complicated skin issue that needs understanding and knowledge to sort it out! We have to figure out your trigger factors and genetic predisposition in order to treat it effectively! I will share with you that I love the results I’m seeing with the Dermalogica Chromowhite line and its course of treatments…as are my clients.

Categories: ArticlesSkin