What causes pigmentation?
When cells in the skin called melanocytes produce too much of a brown pigment known as melanin, this creates uneven skin tone or “hyperpigmentation.” Sun exposure, hormonal changes, diseases, inflammation or the use of certain drugs can all trigger the melanocytes to pump out excess melanin.
Find the right products
When it comes to tackling pigmentation, there is an ever-expanding number of products that all claim to offer dramatically more even skin in a matter of weeks.
So how to choose? “It’s important to remember that the most expensive products are not necessarily the most effective,” says Cape Town dermatologist Dr Dilshaad Asmal. “Good lightening ingredients to look for in over-the-counter products are kojic acid, arbutin and alpha and poly hydroxy acids. Hydroquinone is also very effective, but it is only available by prescription and it is very important to only use it as prescribed,” she says.
Botanical ingredients and laser treatment
An exciting new development in the treatment of pigmentation is the emergence of a range of botanical ingredients. “Ingredients like liquorice, white tea, green tea and flavonoids have shown very promising efficacy and they’re a good option if you have particularly sensitive skin,” says Dr Asmal.
Laser treatment can also make a noticeable difference to pigmented and uneven skin. “However, I cannot stress how important it is to visit an experienced laser therapist. When lasers are used incorrectly, they can cause very bad laser burns. I see a fair amount of laser burns in my practice and they are very difficult to treat,” she says.
Work your routine right
You don’t need a complicated skincare routine to deal with pigmented skin. “I always tell my clients to rather keep it simple – just cleanse, moisturise and apply sunblock – and avoid products that are high in alcohol, as it can cause uneven patches,” she says.
Some pigmentation skincare products are applied once a day, while others can be applied twice a day, so it’s best to follow the specific instructions of each product.
Include your neck in your routine
Your neck may be a different colour to your face, due to the following reasons:
- Applying sunscreen to your face, but not your neck: We tend to cover our faces first, without thinking about the fact that our necks are equally exposed.
- Applying perfume directly to the neck area: The chemicals in perfume react to UV rays and make skin sensitive to the sun. Apply perfume to your clothes or spray it up into the air and then walk through the mist.
If you decide to use a pigmentation treatment on your face, then apply it to your neck as well for more consistent colour.
Try these Clicks products
- Noreva Trio White night-time intensive depigmenting care
- Garnier Dark Spot Corrector
- Eucerin Even Brighter day cream
- Clicks Soy &, Even Tone Actives range
IMAGE CREDIT: Greatstock/Corbis