One of the most common skincare concerns affecting South Africans is hyperpigmentation. Also referred to as “dark marks” or “uneven skin tone”, hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes (pigment-producing skin cells) are triggered to produce more melanin (the pigment naturally produced by our bodies). When more melanin is produced, it results in darker spots on the skin, such as melasma, freckles or age spots.
What triggers melanocytes to produce more melanin? First and foremost, sun exposure, which explains why it’s such a common skincare concern in SA. Melanin acts as our bodies’ natural protector against the sun. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it is triggered to produce more melanin, which is why we get tanned when spending time outdoors. But the sun is not the only culprit. Hyperpigmentation may also be caused by hormonal fluctuations, trauma to the skin, acne and certain medications.
Treating existing hyperpigmentation is possible, and there are various skincare products and professional treatments available to do so, however, there is also a lot of misleading information online that may lead people astray.
Dr Bradley Wagemaker, Medical Director at Lamelle Research Laboratories, busts five of the most common hyperpigmentation myths:
Myth: Lemon juice is an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation
Fact: This is one of the oldest myths around hyperpigmentation. Lemon juice will not reduce or remove hyperpigmentation. Because of its acidity, it may have a negative effect on the skin’s pH level, making it even more vulnerable to the sun and development of hyperpigmentation, as well as causing irritation.
Myth: Only darker skin tones are affected by hyperpigmentation
Fact: Darker skin tones already have a higher melanin content than lighter skin tones, and are very prone to developing hyperpigmentation. However, all skin tones are at risk of developing hyperpigmentation, which means that you need to take precautions when spending time in the sun – regardless of your skin tone.
Myth: Only older people are affected by hyperpigmentation
Fact: Many of us have come to associate hyperpigmentation with ageing, and often refer to sun-induced pigmentation spots as “age spots.” This is not entirely unfounded, as hyperpigmentation does become more common in ageing skins, however, it is by no means exclusive to older skins. There are people as young as in their early twenties who are battling hyperpigmentation, and this is often spurred on by use of oral contraceptives, environmental stressors or acne (which may lead to the development of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
Myth: Once hyperpigmentation is treated, it won’t occur again
Fact: Sadly, this is not the case. Treating hyperpigmentation may be a long process, and even once treatment is completed, you may experience the development of new dark marks as time goes by.
This is because UV exposure, the ageing process and hormonal fluctuations will continue to affect the skin throughout one’s lifetime.
Myth: Scrubbing your skin will get rid of hyperpigmentation
Fact: Gentle exfoliation is an important part of all skincare regimes and is effective for removing dead and dry skin cells from the surface of the skin. However, because hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin production by cells deep within the skin, no amount of scrubbing can remove it. In fact, over-scrubbing or over-exfoliating may damage skin, leading to irritation, redness, sensitivity and even breakouts.
How to treat hyperpigmentation
Because hyperpigmentation may be caused by many different factors including sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, medication and more, it is important to determine the root cause before embarking on a treatment journey.
Speak to your skincare therapist, dermatologist or medical practitioner about your concerns – they’ll be able to recommend a treatment program and skincare regime suited to your individual needs.
Lamelle’s Luminesce range is one of the most advanced pigmentation programs on the market. A decade after first launching Luminesce, there are some exciting new discoveries around hyperpigmentation and how it’s formed in the skin. As a result, Lamelle has added an additional moisturisers in the range to now inhibit multiple pathways of pigment formation and, unique to the skincare industry, to intervenes in pigment formation in melasma at the DNA level.
The Luminesce range consists of:
This patented bio-peptide-based foaming cleanser efficiently reduces the formation of excess pigmentation thanks to powerfully brightening Oligopeptide-34 and Pentapeptide-13. Added organic extracts of mallow and peppermint soften and tone the skin, whilst yarrow and lemon balm extracts soothe and deeply cleanse the skin.
Luminesce Brighter Day provides high tech pigment-inhibiting action. The formulation delivers patented ingredients to the cells (melanocytes) that are over-stimulated, to influence the overproduction of melanin without the risk of injury or damage. Added powerful antioxidants (including glutathione reductase) better protect the cells and their nuclei, to prevent sun-induced pigment production and worsening. These active ingredients, combined with gene inhibition and ingredients that soothe skin irritation have been formulated into a medium-light cream that penetrates beautifully into the skin, making it ideal to use with your broad-spectrum Brighter Defence SPF 30.
As with Brighter Day, Evening Glow provides pigment- inhibiting action and delivers ingredients to the cells (melanocytes) that are over- stimulated, without any risk of injury to the skin. We’ve added innovative ingredients to Evening Glow that enables a bigger focus on treating melasma (hormonal pigmentation) by influencing triggers that are specific to this condition. Increasing skin turnover is a critical element in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, which is why Evening Glow contains a proprietary retinoic acid ester that won’t dry out the skin. The product also features gene inhibition and ingredients that soothe skin irritation, all in a night-time only medium-rich cream that penetrates without leaving residue on the skin.
This full-spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen is for daily use in the management and prevention of hyperpigmentation in the skin. Enhanced with the very latest in skin-brightening bio-peptides, it reduces the darkening of the skin, while safely protecting it from further damage.
The culmination of cutting-edge research, Lamelle Luminesce Radiant eye cream is an innovative all-in-one solution to a host of delicate eye area concerns. These include ALL contributing factors to dark undereye circles, from sluggish circulation and thinning skin to hyperpigmentation. A clinically-proven powerhouse in a luxuriously-textured light, hydrating base, Lamelle Luminesce Radiant eye cream promises a more youthful-looking, brighter and refreshed eye area in as little as six weeks.
Lamelle Luminesce Rich (coming soon!)
NEW Luminesce Rich is a luxuriously textured pigmentation-inhibiting powerhouse that supports skin barrier function, making it ideal for anyone with a drier skin type wanting to enjoy a more even, radiant-looking complexion. Benefits include:
* Powerful anti-inflammatory amino acids;
* Soothing and hydrating dexpanthenol;
* Brightening plant extracts and vitamins;
* Cutting-edge Growth Factor-derived brightening peptides;
* Modulators that activate genes responsible for pigmentation overproduction.
Find your nearest stockist at https://lamelle.co.za/lamelle-stockists.