Be careful, these common daily habits and products will counteract your best efforts to fend off hyperpigmentation
It’s summer and hyperpigmentation is a big issue. We distinguish between three main different types of hyperpigmentation. But note that failing to protect your skin from the sun properly will worsen all of them. That’s why we recommend going a little further than normal sunscreen – even SPF 50 only works 53% of the time!
Naturally, hyperpigmentation is treatable in the short-term with laser skin treatments or ever-popular chemical skin peels. For long-term solutions, you need advanced home care products such as Lamelle Research Laboratories’ Luminesce and OvelleD3.
And, of course, you’ll need to know how to prevent hyperpigmentation. Preventing sun damage is one thing, since it’s fairly obvious. But scientific studies have shown that there are plentiful unknown and less obvious causes of hyperpigmentation.
Here are a few everyday things to steer clear of:
This is going to sound funny, because we’re always preaching that it’s not the heat (temperature) from the sun that’s burning you, but the photons that make up UV light. And, though that is true, the physical energy of heat does still have an impact on your skin.
Particularly, scientists in 2003 found that temperature regulates how much melanin your body produces. The hotter it is, the more melanin (pigment). And that’s why most doctors believe that heat triggers hyperpigmentation.
Heat from being in the sun, cooking (especially braaiing), a hot day, hot flushes and even a sauna is believed to darken pigmentation. So, take precautions and try and keep yourself and your skin cool. Avoid steam, saunas and heated pools. You should even try and protect your face from the hair dryer.
2. Birth control
Perhaps a little more obvious, especially if you suffer from hormonally-induced pigmentation, such as melasma. But, not everyone realises that melasma is linked to hormones, not any pregnancy per se.
So, even if you’ve never been pregnant, the oral birth controls you take affect your hormones directly. Many birth control pills stimulate the melanocyte cells in your skin to produce more melanin.
In fact, hyperpigmentation is so attuned to your hormones that you’re more vulnerable to it during your menstruation too. So take a little extra care during your period.
3. Computer screens and TVs
You didn’t see that one coming. No one did. Doctors in India (a hot and sunny country much like SA) were incredibly surprised when young people who spend 7–8 hours day in front of a computer for work started showing up with new types of pigmentation disorders.
It turns out that computers and TV screens emit a tiny of bit of radiation. It’s really tiny, would be almost negligible really. Except that more and more people are required to sit in front of their computers the whole day for work.
Even laptops, when actually kept on your lap, emit a warmth that’s associated with “erythema ab igne” hyperpigmentation, forming net-like patches of darker skin on the thighs.
4. Not eating enough folic acid
It’s turns out that a folic acid deficiency causes, among other health issues, hyperpigmentation. Scientists have known this since the 1970s. And it’s interesting to note that a woman’s folic acid levels drop through the floor when she falls pregnant – so there’s a definite link to hormones and melasma here (see point 2).
To ensure you get in enough folate and folic acid every day, consider taking a supplement or snack on these 30 super foods for happy skin.
5. Poor blood circulation
Healthy blood flow is vital for every part of your body. And if your blood circulation is poor, there’s a lack of oxygen in your skin, which not only affects pigmentation but also how healthy others think you are.
Blood circulation depends on heart health, hormones and the respiratory system. So good ways to maintain it is to eat healthy, manage your stress levels, and get regular exercise.
6. Make-up containing heavy metals
Some chemicals and heavy metals commonly used in cosmetics are known to worsen hyperpigmentation. The problem is that the different chemicals and metals affect skin in various ways, and science is struggling to keep up.
Check the ingredients and steer clear of lead, bismuth, silver, arsenic and gold flakes.
A 2013 Polish study found that when young women felt more stressed, they were more prone to darker pigmentation in skin. This wasn’t as true for men, and it only applied to a woman’s skin, not her hair.
It’s well documented that hormonal illnesses like Addison’s and Cushing’s Disease feature an imbalance of cortisol which leads to skin discolouration. Note that cortisol is a stress hormone. There’s thus a definite link between stress and hyperpigmentation.
8. Lack of sleep
This one should be pretty obvious, because proper sleep is vital for healthy skin. What happens is that lack of sleep leads to poor blood circulation (see point 5) and increases the amount of stress hormone cortisol in your body (see point 7). All of these can lead to hyperpigmentation.
Recommended for hyperpigmentation:
It’s always advisable to see your skincare therapist first. They’ll do an accurate assessment and prescribe an individualised skincare regimen tailor-made for you. But treating hyperpigmentation usually involves an inside-out treatment, combining oral and topical treatments.
Containing the most advanced peptide formula on the market, Luminesce inhibits pigmentation across 8 steps in the pathways to pigment formation. Enjoy the entire range, including a cleanser, morning and evening creams, and advanced SPF sunscreen.
Containing the most powerful oral antioxidant available, Pycnogenol®, OvelleD3 reduces pigmentation by up to 37%. It also prevents collagen breakdown and offers Vitamin D3, so you can safely avoid UV light.
Looking for the ultimate everyday summer pigmentation protection? Check out our post on 10 essentials to always have in your bag.
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Got a hyperpigmentation question or tip to share? Let us know in the comments below.