Skin concerns decoded : Pigmentation

Pigmentation is one of the most common yet complex skin conditions skincare professionals encounter , and it is an increasing focus for clients .

What is pigmentation and how does it happen ?

All skin conditions some level of the pigment melanin , and the variety in our natural production of this molecule is what determines individual skin tone . Melanin is produced to protect skin cells from damage, for example when exposed to UV light . It is also produced in response to other stimuli , both internal and external , some of which can lead to excess melanin production .

Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes which are which are scattered through the basal layer of the epidermis .There are two types of melanin : phaeomelanin , a red brown pigment produced in people with lighter skin tones , and eumelanin , a dark brown or black pigment produced in people with darker skin tones . Pigmentation becomes visible as marks or spots when melanin deposits build up in the upper layers of the skin . The activity of the melanocytes in our skin determines how much pigment is produced and certain triggers can result in increased melanocyte activity : meaning more melanin , and increased pigmentation .

Treating pigmentation – protection and persistence 

Improving pigmentation is challenging for therapists and clients alike . Pigmentation is often caused by years of damage and reversing this will not happen overnight . However , significant improvements can be made with smart treatment , client commitment and crucially time .

Oral and topical treatments and ingredients with differing functions should be combined in a pigmentation treatment programme . Oral nutritional supplements show impressive results on pigmentation in studies and trials by the advanced nutrition programme . It is vital to fuse these treatments and products with lifestyle changes to support lasting results . Essential to this is a scrupulous sun protection regime .

Sun care comes first 

Protection against sun exposure should be the first and main focus of any treatment plan . The close relationship between UV and blue light exposure and abnormal pigmnetation necessitates a strict sensible approach to sun . The success of any treatment for pigmentation is always and completely dependent on how well sun exposure can be managed during and after treatments . We advise sun protection with anti – oxidants and sunscreens plus the use of vitamin A from as young an age as possible .

The ingredients to incorporate 

Vitamin A – Think of vitamin A as creating a foundation of healthy skin ensuring sin is rich in Vitamin A . This is the most effective way to minimise the chances of pigmentation . Skin rich in vitamin A provides  strong platform for ingredients that target the mechanisms of pigmentation. Using topical and oral vitamin A in combination ensures optimum levels within the body to create this foundation . Pigmentation starts with vitamin A deficiency . The ideal treatment approach is to first nominate the cell functioning with vitamin A and anti-oxidants . We do not want to destroy or render melanocytes ineffective but rather get them to behave in a normal healthy way .

Vitamin C – As a powerful anti-oxidant , vitamin C helps counteract the reactive oxidants stress that triggers melanin synthesis . Molecules of vitamin C blind to reactive oxygen species that would drive melanin production i  the skin , meaning pigmentation is limited . Vitamin C also has a normalizing effect on the melanocytes . Certain forms of vitamin C are particularly suited to ionophoresis , meaning ingredients can be robed deeper into the skin during treatments for a more effective beneficial action . Additionally, oral supplements of vitamin C have been shown to be extremely effective in combating pigmentation such as brown spots .

Needling & Treatments 

Several studies show the positive impact micro-needling has on pigmentation . In salon micro-needling has a regenerative effect on skin and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits . Using home treatments such as the environ Cosmetic CIT roller helps enhance the penetration of active ingredients .

Studies show regular professional micro-needling treatments combined with active ingredients and sun protection , can dramatically improve pigmentation . One study on post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation found 80% of participants saw improvements . Additionally , a study by Dr. Des Fernandez   and researcher Matthias Aust found micro-needling treatments  improved signs of photo ageing, including pigmentation by 60-80% .

The process is also an effective  treatment for melasma . Crucially however , when studies were followed up , improvements were only maintained in clients practicing rigor-ow sun protection .


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