When we think of aging skin, our minds almost always go to wrinkles and volume loss. Pigmentation, however, is shown to be the leader when it comes to making your skin look older than you really are. It’s super common, especially in Australia where our sun is harsh and Summer days outdoors are frequent.
Unfortunately, pigmentation can be quite tricky to treat and it’s a lifelong process of upkeep and prevention as sun damage that causes dark spots and freckles can actually take up to ten years to show on your skin.
There are plenty of ways to help banish it though and there’s no better time than now to be upping your regime….
Laser Pigmentation Removal
Laser treatments aren’t for everybody, but if you can stand the slight discomfort during treatment and about a week of downtime, it’s one of the quickest and most effective ways to remove pigmentation.
Essentially, the laser targets the pigmented area of the skin without damaging any surrounding areas. The pigment absorbs the light and heat from the laser which causes it to shatter and be drawn to the surface. Your pigmentation will go really dark from the treatment and you’ll also probably be pretty red. The redness subsides within a day leaving you with really dark freckles. Over the period of three to four days, those spots begin to dry out and will eventually flake off your skin leaving a much lighter spot if not nothing behind.
Just like laser hair removal, laser pigmentation removal is best suited to lighter skin tones with dark and distinctive freckles or areas of pigmentation. There are some laser varieties that work on darker skin tones however a consultation before your treatments is always advised.
All professional peel treatments will slowly treat pigmentation however the Cosmelan peel can have dramatic results, even after a single treatment. It’s a two-part process in which a depigmentation peel is applied in clinic that looks like a thick mud mask. You have to leave it on for eight to ten hours, depending on your skin type, so be prepared to make an awkward run to your car from the clinic after treatment. When your time’s up, your simply wash it off at home.
The second part of the treatment is an at-home regime that enhances the effects of the mask. You use the products twice a day and over about a period of a week, your skin will begin to dry out and the outermost layer will flake off, taking your pigmentation with it.
It’s a very safe option and doesn’t come with many risks. It’s also suitable for a wide range of skin types and will treat both sun-induced pigmentation and hormonal pigmentation such as melasma.
Skin needling has really risen in popularity over the past few years and really is a wonder treatment. It targets most signs of aging from fine lines and wrinkles to volume loss, dullness and yes, even pigmentation.
Essentially, fine micro needles are repeatedly creating micro injuries in the skin that stimulates a collagen heeling response. This boost of collagen is what gives you a smooth and glowing complexion. When it comes to pigmentation, the needles work to break apart those clusters of pigment in the skins surface and as your skin heels, it will begin to flake off and fade away.
Skin needling is not for the faint of heart. It’s an intense treatment that can be kind of uncomfortable and you’ll be red for about a day afterwards. When the redness subsides, your skin will likely feel quite dry and rough and as it continues to heel, may even flake a little bit. After about four to five days though, you’ll see your glow come through.
THE AT-HOME PRODUCTS
Also known as pigment inhibitors, these products slow down and prevent the formation of pigmentation in your skin by targeting tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that’s present in plant and animal tissue and is responsible for the production of melanin as it’s oxidated, called melanogenesis. An inhibitor prevents that tyrosinase from synthesising melanin therefore preventing freckles, melasma and dark spots. Ingredients that are tyrosinase inhibitors include hydroquinone, arbutin, kojic acid, L-ascorbic acid and azelaic acid.
Aspect Pigment Punch+ – This is a favourite as it’s really gentle, suitable for all skin types and a powerhouse antioxidant. It contains a blend of fruit and plant extracts, peptides and antioxidants to help target pigmentation while protecting the skins natural barrier.
Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster – Working overtime, this product helps to both treat and prevent the formation of pigmentation. It’s boosted with salicylic acid, a wonder product for breakouts, that also helps to even out and brighten your complexion.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C works to prevent oxidation in the skin that leads to pigmentation as well as fine lines and loss of volume. It’s anti-aging benefits combat both UV and environmental induced stressors leaving you with boosted luminosity and a more even appearance.
Medik8 Super C30 – Medki8 have a range of vitamin C products available allowing you to choose a strength that’s right for your skin. The Super C30 is their most powerful blend containing 30% ethylated ascorbic acid which is a very stable form of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E that works to nourish your skin and avoid the irritation that’s common with other vitamin C products. It’s a really beautiful texture that sinks in quickly leaving your skin dry to the touch and it won’t interfere with your makeup.
Broad Spectrum SPF
Of course, prevention is always better than a cure, so protecting your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause pigmentation, and pretty much every other sign of ageing, is essential. A great SPF will also be packed with antioxidants that help to fight that free radical damage caused by oxidation.
Ultraviolette Queen Screen – There’s no other sunscreen like this one out there, which is likely why the brand calls it a ‘skinscreen’. It’s super lightweight with the texture of a serum that easily spreads and sinks into your skin. It’s SPF50+, has a super glowy finish and most importantly, is really easy to reapply throughout the day without having to start your makeup over.
Photo Myles Pritchard
Make Up Bonnie G- Oz Beauty Expert
Hair Rachel Zade
Model Jules W @Priscillas