The Science of Pigmentation: Part 2

Updated: Oct 1, 2020


Preventing hyperpigmentation

With hyperpigmentation, prevention is better than cure. The best ways to prevent the formation of your dark spots is to reduce exposure to the sun and prevent inflammation.




Wearing SPF

Melanin is the body's natural sunscreen. The greater the UV exposure, the more melanin that is produced. It is therefore vital to wear sun protection, so that the UV radiation can be absorbed by your SPF.

Here are some key points when it comes to SPF:

  • SPF 30- 50 should be worn daily.

  • Wear SPF indoors (UV B penetrates windows)

  • Wear on cloudy days

  • Reapply every 2 hours

  • Use a chemical SPF if you're concerned about a white cast

SkinCeutical Advanced Brightening UV Defence Sunscreen


La Roche Posay Anthelios Factor 50


Reduce inflammation

Anything that causes irritation to the skin's tissue can potentially lead to inflammation. Acne is the main cause of inflammation. It is important to have a diligent skincare routine to prevent your acne from causing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.



Your method of exfoliation, might also be contributing to hyperpigmentation; harsh scrubs and brushes may actually cause micro-trauma to the skin and this leads to hyperpigmentation.


Managing hyperpigmentation

Melanin is created inside the melanocyte by the enzyme tyrosinase. Overactivity of this enzyme leads to too much melanin and subsequently hyperpigmentation. In order to reduce hyperpigmentation we need to stop the tyrosinase enzyme from doing too much.


It is much harder to reduce hyperpigmentation than it is to prevent it. Most ingredients work by inhibiting the tyrosinase the enzyme that converts tyrosine into melanin.



Hydroquinone

The most effective tyrosinase inhibitor. It is used by dermatologists to treat skin conditions such as melasma, however it is often abused by those who want to bleach their skin. Unregulated use can lead to a blue-ish discolouration of the skin, rebound hyperpigmentation, liver damage and even cancer.


Retinoids

Retinoids come from vitamin A. They are both prevention and cure for hyperpigmentation. They reduce acne- induced inflammation and help to depigment areas of hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme.


La Roche Posay - retinol B3 serum


Azaelic Acid

Azaelic acid inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme preventing tyrosine from being converted into melanin. It also prevents melanocytes from proliferating.


The Ordinary Azaelic acid suspension 10%


Kojic Acid

Kojic acid acid inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme preventing tyrosine from being converted into melanin. It is often used alongside glycolic acid and hydroquinone to improve its efficacy.


Skinceuticals Discoloration Defence

Arbutin

Extracted from pear and cranberry plants, Arbutin prevents tyrosine from being converted into melanin but also prevents melanin from being packaged into the melanosome.


The Ordinary - Alpha Arbutin +2% HA

Niacinamide

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) prevents the packaging of melanin into the other skin cells.


The Ordinary - Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%


Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C is derived from citrus fruits. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which prevents the formation of hyperpigmentation. It also protects against UV-radiation and inhibits tyrosine from converting tyrosine into melanin.



Vichy Liftactiv Specialist Peptide C Ampoules