What causes pigmentation?
There are a variety of factors that could be involved, but the most likely cause is sun damage. Exposure to its rays can cause an increase in melanin production (a pigment designed to help protect the skin) which over time can clump together resulting in dark patches.
Other known triggers include hormones and, of course, the dreaded stress. If you think this might be the primary cause you can have a chat with you GP.
Minimising the effects – the golden rules
Wear an SPF
The old maxim ‘prevention is better than cure’ really is the case here. Being mindful about your exposure to the sun and making sure you always wear and SPF is crucial. Try products that you can easily fit into your current routine. Alpha H’s Daily Essential Moisturiser contains SPF 50+ protection and isn’t greasy or heavy whilst Astalift’s Light Analysing Moisture Foundation will give you an even and natural coverage with an added SPF 25+ protection. Don’t forget your neck, decolletage and the back of your hands – the skin here is some of the thinnest on your body and needs a little extra TLC.
Catch some Zs
It comes as no surprise that there’s no concrete cure for stress so the best thing you can do is try to schedule in some decent sleep (easier said than done, we know). Try downloading the nifty mindfulness and meditation app from getsomeheadspace.com – it helps you learn techniques to quell stress and prepare your mind for rest.
The ingredients you need to know about
Retinol It’s a concentrated and very active form of vitamin A that helps boost your skin’s collagen production (a key factor in a smooth, clear and wrinkle-free complexion) whilst gently exfoliating and thickening the dermal layer. Use products that contain this ingredient and in a few weeks and you should really start to see the difference.
Sounds brilliant? Well it is, but there are a few points to bear in mind. As an active ingredient, use it sparingly at first so your skin has time to grow accustomed to it (it may not be for you if you have sensitive skin or rosacea). As a result of its exfoliating properties, it is recommended for use at night and you should make sure to always read the label carefully and wear a sun screen the following day to protect the new skin.
Vitamin C An antioxidant powerhouse that helps reinforce the skin’s natural protective barrier and repair the damage already caused by sun damage and external pollutants.
Our top product picks
Korres Wild Rose & Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Treatment is the latest dark-spot dispelling addition to their bestselling Wild Rose range (the serum is also brilliant).
Jurlique Purely Bright Radiance Serum penetrates deep into the skin to give a really good glow.
This Works No Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser is a powerhouse that packs a real anti-pigmentation punch. It has also scooped an award from the Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible.
Beauty insider favourites
Caroline Hirons, our beauty guru crush has recommended Alpha H Liquid Gold Radiance for pigmentation in her fantastic clinic series.