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  • Writer's pictureThe Skin Genie

It's Never Too Late To Tackle Pigmentation

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Dark spots, age spots, sun spots, freckles - pigmentation takes many forms but what exactly causes it and how can we prevent it? These are the two big questions currently preoccupying us here at Glow. One thing is for sure, all of the spots mentioned above are clear signals that your skin is under stress.

Sun exposure is the most prevalent cause of pigmentation which is becoming very common in Ireland but there are other factors which may be at play such as:

  • Heredity & skin type – Celtic skin is typically very fair and freckled

  • Hormonal changes – e.g. pregnancy can cause a type of pigmentation called Melasma

  • Certain medications such as antibiotics, hormone treatments, anti-seizure drugs and the contraceptive pill

  • Inflammation and skin injuries such as Acne

How does pigmentation happen?

The principal cause of dark spots in fair-skinned individuals is sun damage (specifically the UVA rays in sunlight which penetrate deep into your skin and cause ageing) because sun exposure stimulates the production of melanin. So when the dark spots appear, it is a sure sign that the skin is now damaged. These dark spots are known as yperpigmentation. The extent of sun damage depends on a person’s history of sun exposure and on their skin type. Hypopigmentation can also occur – this is where melanin production is lower and as a result lighter patches of skin appear. This condition is also known as vitiligo.

Skincare expert, Ita Murphy, MD of The Otto Clinic, Limerick, explains: "UVA rays from the sun stimulate your pigment cells (melanocytes) to manufacture melanin. This leads to a tan and also unwanted dark spots in the long-term. What many of us don’t realise is that these spots may take as long as 10-20 years to develop and a lot of skin damage can occur when we are children or young adults but may only manifest itself in your 30’s and 40’s. It’s an absolute must that we all monitor our freckles, moles and dark spots on a regular basis throughout the year and if you see any changes, go straight to your GP as some sun spots can be pre-cancerous and need to be checked!”. The following picture is a close up of pigmented skin and gives us an idea of what to look out for:

Prevent Pigmentation Now!

So what can we do? Well, there are several steps which we have listed below to provide a easy plan that acts topically, holistically and clinically to tackle this problem:

Topical Solutions:

Protect, Protect, Protect and yes, you have heard it here before! Use Skinceuticals or other broad spectrum sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) along with a topical antioxidant such as CE Ferulic serum every day

Daily Skincare regime – Use a product such as Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector as part of your daily skincare routine to reduce the appearance of stubborn pigmentation marks

Avoid prolonged periods of sun exposure and if you must be out in the sun, wear a hat, wrap-around sunglasses and cover up with a tee-shirt, loose trousers etc.

Holistic Solution:

Feed your body with antioxidants every day to counteract free radical damage to cells – for more information on this, read back over our previous posts:

Defy Your Age From Within

Eat Yourself Young

The Trouble With Free Radicals...

In-Clinic Solutions:

Skinceuticals GEL SM Peel treatment which is specifically designed to treat photodamaged skin and hyperpigmentation (this treatment is currently on a Buy One Get One ½ Price offer at The Otto Clinic)

Course of Laser Treatments – we use the Apogee Elite Laser which is the market leader and is extremely effective in the treatment of pigmentation

Microdermica Pen Treatments – again another very effective, non-invasive method for healing damaged skin – read all about this simple yet highly successful treatment in our blog post “Life Without Surgery!”

NOTE: laser treatments are ONLY recommended during the winter months.

An Otto Clinic skincare professional can create an effective skincare regimen that is tailored to each specific pigmentation problem. Our team are extensively trained in the science behind SkinCeuticals and, in consultation with you, can prescribe additional in-clinic treatments that make it possible to achieve your skincare goals.

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