Laser facial or IPL is effective for sun-inflicted pigmentation but you gotta to swear off the sun like a vampire, put loads of sunscreen with at least SPF30++ and be religious with a good skincare routine. Otherwise, with the skin becomes thinner, sensitive and dehydrated. An imbalance and weakened skin will lead to even more pigmentation. For hormone related pigmentation, many are now using lightening cream with Vitamin A, C or Mulberry Extract and has shown good results.
First let’s understand what are the different types of pigments. Next, let’s learn of what topical skincare we can use to help with pigmentation.
Melasma (also known as chloasma faciei or mask of pregnancy is a tan or dark skin discoloration. Although it can affect anyone, melasma is particularly common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral or patch contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
Solar Lentigo is a circumscribed 1- to 3-cm brown macule resulting from a localized proliferation of melanocytes due to acute or chronic exposure to sunlight.
Post Inflammatory Pigmentation often affects people with acne and it can sometimes be triggered by aesthetic interventions such as dermabrasion, chemical peels or laser-therapies.
Freckles are small flat brown marks arising on the face and other sun exposed areas.
A pigment blocker. There are tyrosinanse inhibitors, (a group which includes famous pigmentation fighters like the controversial hydroquinone and kojic acid, as well as the non-controversial mulberry extract) which work to block the enzyme tyrosinase that’s needed to make melanin. There are also PAR-2 inhibitors, like soy and niacinamide, which can result in reduced melanosomal transfer and distribution, leading to a lightening of skin pigmentation.
I use Filorga Pigment Perfect Serum everyday (day and night)and Pigment White Cream at least 3 times a week.
An enzymatic exfoliator. The good old kernel scrub is definitely out. We are now in the era of Oxygenation Bubble Scrub which creates effervesence (eg. Filorga Scrub & Mask) or Guinot Biological Peel which melts away your congestion in a couple of minutes. Let me remind you that overly ‘treated face’ is often thinner and tend to be sensitive. And hence, use gentle and milder products as overly aggressive activities will lead to inflammation which leads to hyperpigmentation.
Do not leave exfoliator on longer than 5 minutes and do not exfoliate unless you intend to put a mask on. Filorga Scrub & Mask is best used with Filorga Meso Mask (with whitening effect). Guinot Biological Peel is best used with Guinot Comfort Mask with essential oil or Guinot Hydra Beaute Mask with hydrator. Once fortnightly or monthly.
Physical sunscreen. This is mandatory. It is never too young, too early or your skin is still spotless that you could skip sunscreen. As the pigmentation is not obvious to the naked eyes, the damage is often done way before it is visible.
Use a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide physical/mineral sunscreen for your best chance. (It is believed that chemical sunscreens can actually trigger hyperpigmentation. Will elaborate on this in another article). Use a sunscreen every single day, on top of your pigment blocker, and underneath your makeup.
Though I single out 3 categories of products to lighten and prevent pigments, it is very important to balance one’s skin of its water and oil content. As I have stated at Skin Care Tips in Singapore, one should and must cleanse, tone, apply serum, moisturizer and sunscreen (for day). For most of us, use a hydrating or sensitve range in the day and an anti-aging range at night. This will help to balance the water and oil content well. When the skin is healthy, it will not flare up with pigments.
This article as part of the Skin Care Singapore series.