Skin whitening or brightening remain the top-most skin care needs among women, and we have dark spots and pigmentation to thank for that. Facial discolouration and dark marks can be frustrating and often difficult to eliminate.
Dark spots may look all the same when they appear, but there are different variations and factors, which could explain why you are experiencing a sudden pigmentation outbreak.
Dark spots can be classified into 2 main categories:
Hyperpigmentation is usually a result of externally inflicted damage or wound on the skin that leaves a darker mark behind than your usual skin tone.
Acne scarring refers to discoloured marks that are left on the skin after an acne outbreak. Though the acne has healed, you may see brownish or purplish marks where the acne used to be. These will take some time between 3 to 6 months to fade.
These sun damage spots are a result of over-exposure to UV. UV rays react with the melanocytes in your skin to increase pigment levels, resulting in what we commonly call ‘sun spots’.
Wounds refer to an insect bite, a cut or any injury and trauma to the skin. These leave behind a darker mark when healed.
Melasma, on the other hand, is caused by internal factors that have to do with hormonal changes.
Pregnancy and age spots
It is not uncommon for women to experience pigment patches during their pregnancy. Melasma is often triggered by hormonal changes that usually occur with pregnancy, menopause or birth control changes that disturb the estrogen levels.
Both hyperpigmentation and melasma can be treated quite similarly but there’s a chance that melasma may come back again so other than skin care, internal maintenance is also key.
How to prevent and resolve pigmentation?
Exfoliating will help to slough away the darkened dead skin cells on the surface and quicken cell renewal to promote the growth of new skin. This helps to lessen the appearance of dark marks. While it could be tempting to try to quicken things up, make sure not to overdo it as exfoliating too often can hurt your skin. 2 to 3 times a week for normal to oily skin types is good enough.
Include brightening ingredients in your skin care routine. They work by suppressing pigment production while quickening skin renewal rate so that the uppermost layers of darkened skin can be exfoliated away to reveal lighter skin.
Vitamin C, Niacinamide and Kojic Acid are some examples of effective brightening ingredients.
As mentioned above, the sun’s UV reacts with melanocytes, causing them to ‘wake’ up and produce more pigmentation. That is why when it comes to both prevention and treatment, sun protection is a non-negotiable. Without sunscreen, your skin care products will have little to no effects when your skin is still constantly sun-exposed.
Refrain from picking at your pimples or wound scabs, these can easily leave marks that take longer to fade than allowing them to naturally heal. If you really can’t help it, paste pimple patch over your pimple to prevent your hands from reaching them.
Pack your diet with lots of antioxidant foods. These can suppress the free radical and oxidative damage from the sun and our everyday environment. A noteworthy brightening antioxidant is Glutathione (GSH).
GSH inhibits tyrosinase that is responsible for producing (eumelanin) dark colour and changes it to (pheomelanin) light colour. Glutathione also regenerates Vitamin C, offering greater antioxidant protection. Taking Glutathione and Vitamin C supplements are a good way to deal with melasma internally.
Exclusive #SecretCircle Tips
As someone who used to struggle with dark spots, we asked Mayah to share with us her tips on fading them.
“I have dry skin prone to pigmentation. Long hours at work often means insufficient sleep which further caused my skin to become dehydrated, saggy and dull. My biggest struggle was against sun spots and dark spots that appeared after pregnancy.
My favourite products are Skinlight T3, C15 Essence 7 and Age Arrest A3. Skinlight T3 helped to brighten my dull skin, and C15 Essence 7 helped to lighten my dark spots and dark circles. My loose saggy skin felt firmer and lifted after using Age Arrest A3 too.”
“Apart from applying skin care generously, I also take supplements to help provide my body with the nourishment it was lacking. Our skin condition reflects our internal health, which is why I firmly believe that maintaining both outer skin health and inner body wellness is key to confident skin.”