As winter approaches and the lingering evidence of summer still remains (yes Im referring to those unsightly patches of discoloured skin), its an ideal time to jump start your skin care regimen and rid yourself of hyper-pigmentation so you can look forward to a clear, bright winter ahead.
At the International Dermal Institute we clearly identify that a substantial part of the ageingprocess is attributed to skin discolouration. The desire therefore for younger looking skin hasto be in the persuit of treatments and treatment products that deliver a luminous, bright,even toned and healthy skin. To achieve this, we need effective products that will smooththe skin, free it of flakey patches, hydrate (so it has the ability to reflect the light) and containactive ingredient complexes which even skin colour to remove unsightly pigmentationpatches.What are the Causes of Hyper - Pigmentation?
The number one culprit is (as we all know)exposure to UV rays. During pregnancyand post-pregnancy you may experienceMelasma (aka Chlosma) that appears onthe face, often in a butterfly formation.
Chemical fragrances may react with sunlightto cause patches of uneven pigment. Darkpatches may appear after invasive orstrong peels where the skin has become sunsensitive and prone to hyper-pigmentation.
During times of stress, the skin can hyperpigmentespecially on the neck and aroundthe temples due to hormonal surges. Somemedication can cause skin to become sunsensitive and can hyper-pigment. Trauma tothe skin (i.e. a graze on the knee, a squeezeof a spot, eczema or sinus congestion) canalso lead to pigmentation forming.
Three Steps to Your Brightest Skin Ever1. Critical to a Healthy Glow isa Smooth Skin, Free of Dry andFlaking Skin Cells. EnterExfoliation!
Exfoliation not only smoothes skin butalso helps even out the surface skintone by speeding up the cell turnoverrate, therefore assisting the removal ofpigmentation patches. In addition, theremoval of the dead cell layer will allowbetter penetration of further treatmentproducts. Using AHAs, in particularLactic Acid, we have seen somevery positive results on lighteningpigmentation. For a quick and easysolution look for a three-in-one cleanserthat exfoliates, cleanses and brightensuneven skin tone. Now the skin isready to treat deep down stubbornpigmented patches.2. Shedding Some Light on Skin Brightening Products
Products that work on skin lightening contain ingredients that act as melanin suppressors (the pigment that colours the skin). An example would be using a rice extract - the Phytic Acid found in rice binds the copper metal ion, slowing down step two of the melanin reaction. Newer ingredients - such as Zinc Glycinate - also bind to copper to control activity.
Zinc Glycinate has been shown to reduce pigmentation as well as suppress the melanocyte growth factors that stimulate melanin synthesis. Many botanical extracts also inhibit melanin production - these include Kiwi Fruit, Mulberry, Licorice and Giant Fennel.
While Hydroxy Acids (Lactic, Glycolic and Salicylic Acids) in skin-brightening products have been used to accelerate desquamation and remove pigmented cells, a 5% concentration of Lactic Acid will slow melanin synthesis. This new approach to affect melanin synthesis is unique to Lactic Acid and does not occur with other Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as Glycolic Acid or the Beta Hydroxy Acid, Salicylic Acid. Other exfoliating agents used in brightening products include Pumpkin Enzyme and a molecule that stimulates natural desquamation in skin (Galactoarabian).
More recently, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) has been shown to stop the transfer of melanin to neighbouring skin cells.Other research indicates we can also control melanin formation by affecting the signalling process involved in melanin biosynthesis by impacting the messengers that signal melanin synthesis by using sunscreens and anti-inflammatory agents.3. Protect and Hydrate
Once you have treated that stubborn pigmentation, now is the time to ensure that you guard against future attacks. Use a daily moisturiser with minimum SPF15 to ensure protection against the worst offender - UV rays! And make sure that the daily moisturiser is packed full of hydrating ingredients so that your skin reflects light and glows. Couple hydration and daylight defense with skin brightening ingredients discussed and you will have a fighting chance of bright, even skin!Latest Agents
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) has been used for many years to control melanin synthesis.Newer stabilised derivatives of Vitamin C, such as Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), are also used to control melanogenesis. These derivatives can scavenge free radicals that cause erratic melanocyte activity, as well as act as antioxidants.
That said, the latest agents to fight melanin formation are peptides. Oligopeptide-34 decreases stimulation of the melanocyte cell and inhibits activity, plus brightens skin - especially sun-induced hyper-pigmentation - in half the time of other brightening complexes.
The ingredient Glucosamine is also a favourite of cosmetic formulators as it interrupts the UV-triggered chemical signals that turn on melanin production and inhibits the transfer of melanosomes to keratinocytes.These ingredients should be sought out in concentrated treatment products that you apply night and morning after cleansing and before moisturising. This will give maximum absorption and effectiveness.How to Achieve the Best Results?
For maximum results in a minimum amount of time I would suggest a course of professional treatments. Treatments normally include professional strength products combined with electrical modalities, having one or two treatments per week for a 4-6 week period.Home care is vital and requires consistency in using the skin lightening products and total sun blocks twice a day for a period of at least three months.Since UV exposure is a major trigger to hyper-pigmentation it makes winter an ideal time to actively target your skin discolouration and give your skin a fighting chance of a brighter future.
Postgraduate Education in Skin and Body TherapyThe InternationalDermal Institute®
Phone: 1800 659 118www.dermalinstitute.com.au
The Futures Looking Bright, By Emma Hobson