Frustrated with your pigmentation and discoloration? You are not alone Pigmentation affects people of all races and ages and is a common issue that plagues many in India.
In fact, in people with darker skin, changes in pigmentation can occur without warning at any age! Luckily, your dermatologist can manage your skin concern without stress.
Read below for my skin care advice to help prevent and treat dull and pigmented skin!
What is Pigmentation?
Pigmentation is the presence of excess color in the skin. Essentially, hyper-pigmentation is a common condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when there is an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin. Discoloration can occur anywhere and in any formation on the face, be it as patches, or as shade change or as simple freckles.
What Causes it?
Overexposure to sun rays and a daily onslaught of allergens wreak havoc on our skin, making skin appear dull, patchy and lacklustre. Additionally, our hormonal system or changes in it can make us more subsceptible to this environmental onslaught. That is why pregnant women tend to get more pigmentation. However, the primary cause of pigmentation is the sun. UV rays from the sun can damage skin cells, and major protection skin has is pigment or melanin. So, when you are exposed to the sun, for self-protection, melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the skin, get stimulated to create melanin. This melanin is then deposited to protect the skin from further UV damage! Unfortunately, this intrinsic protection can ruin your complexion!
1 – Protect Yourself from the Sun!
You should attempt to reduce your sun exposure as much as possible and try to cover exposed areas. Especially avoid going out in the sun between the hours of 10AM – 3PM when the sun is at its peak.
Also, wear a sunblock or suncreen! These miracle agents protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
As both UVA and UVB rays cause pigmentation problems, it is important to use a sunscreen that contains protection again both these types of sunrays. Look for SPF 30 for UVB protection and ++ for UVA protection to ensure you get the optimal effect from your sun block. Also, make sure you re-apply your sunscreen every 3-4 hours as they start to lose effect over time.
2 – Avoid Excess Product Usage
While it may be fun to try many different products at once, it is not healthy for your skin. So try to avoid trying many different creams and washes on your face in one day. If you want to start some new treatments, start only one or two at a time to see how your skin reacts to it!
Get Rid Of Your Discoloration
Use Alpha Hydroxy Acids!
Ever read about using milk or yogurt masks to make your skin brighter? Well, there is a reason for this home-grown wisdom. Milk and yogurt contain lactic acid, a vital Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). Most dermatologists include lactic acid and glycolic acid, another AHA derived from sugarcane, in their armament against pigmentation! They act by exfoliating the top layer of the skin, thereby revealing newer, fresher and brighter skin!
Remember, melanin is deposited inside skin cells, so once those are exfoliated, those skin cells without the melanin can be exposed. Additionally, AHA’s are now being found to also work directly on melanin synthesis itself, making it doubly more effective.
You can get creams containing these actives in percentages above 6%, or you can try and get some chemical peels done at a reputed organization. Chemical peels will contain these actives in percentages above 30%, so make sure that a good dermatologist is overseeing your care.
Hopefully these skin tips will help guide you in treating your pigmentation. And remember, a dermatologist should always been seen in cases of severe pigmentation to help ensure you get the Skin You Want!
New York Dermatologist Dr. Kiran Lohia was born, educated and trained in New York, but now practices in New Delhi. She is a Columbia University graduate and an M.D specializing in Dermatology. She is additionally American Board Certified with further degrees in Aesthetic Medicine and Laser Surgery, and a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Society of Dermatology, American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, European Society of Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology, International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology and IADVL among others. In addition, to these accreditations, Dr. Kiran Lohia has completed a Diploma course in Cosmetic Science through the U.K. Society of Cosmetic Scientists along with a Masters in Dermatology and a Diplomate in Clinical Dermatology.