Discolouration, spots and splotches, uneven skin tone – we all experience it in one way or the other. Every skin type and colour is susceptible to uneven tone.
Don’t let the popular notion fool you that darker skin is somehow immune, or that “black don’t crack”, as they say. In sunny South Africa, everyone from the Alliance of SA Independent Practitioners Associations to media outlets like health24.com consider discoloured skin “SA’s most troublesome skin condition” for all women, of every skin type.
From the darkest and hardiest skin to fairest, discolouration of the skin affects us all. And there’s a concrete scientific and biological reason for it, too. It even has a medical name: hyperpigmentation. And, through science, we can understand and treat the condition effectively.
What is hyperpigmentation?
The pigment of our skin, what gives our skin its colour, is a granule called melanin that’s created inside our bodies by special types of skin cells called melanocytes. Dark skin contains more melanin, light skin contains less; and melanin’s purpose is to protect us from the sun, like a natural, built-in sunscreen.
Hyperpigmentation is when something affects or confuses a group of melanocytes in an area of the skin, and they start producing too much melanin. This usually happens in a few localised areas, zones of your face or body, while everywhere else your skin is still the same colour/tone. That’s why hyperpigmentation presents as spots or splotches of darker skin, creating an uneven skin tone.
It’s generally caused by sun exposure, hormonal changes in the body and scarring on the skin – most notably pimples and acne scars. But we’ll look at the root causes in detail a little later.
How does it affect different types of skin?
People with lighter skin often get freckles, sunspots and their skins get ruddier in the sun. Brown skins are generally more susceptible to genetic and hormonal causes brought on by puberty, pregnancy and taking contraceptives. And black skin is usually more susceptible to scarring, where damaged skin becomes lighter, almost grey.
That said, though, all skin types can be affected in any number of ways. Brown skin can develop what’s called “sunspots” too. And dark skin will become darker and darker with excess sun exposure – which is why the horrible trend of skin bleaching is so prevalent among dark-skinned African women. For the record, Lamelle Research Laboratories opposes and speaks out against the practice of lightening the skin. The only way to let the real, beautiful you shine through is to maintain your own, gorgeously unique, healthy skin.
The Lamelle difference
Now, there is a perception that the different types of skin require different products. This was largely created by the beauty industry, where cosmetics and hair products aren’t one size fits all. But, Lamelle Research Laboratories is not a “beauty” company and its products are not “beauty” products. Lamelle is a specialist in skincare biotechnology, and its products are scientific and finely tuned skincare health products.
And that distinction is very important because it means that Lamelle doesn’t look at your skin from the outside, where the colour makes it look different, but from the inside, where the complex biological processes inside all skins work the same way; where it’s beautifully intricate, individual and, above all, human.
Lamelle’s unique scientific approach means that it develops products that work with your biology, the cells and processes inside your body. And that’s why Lamelle was able to develop one series of products that works to combat hyperpigmentation across all skin types: the Luminesce range.
How does Luminesce work on all skin types? It has to do with how pigmentation forms in the skin.
The pathways of skin hyperpigmentation
Lamelle’s Luminesce range was specifically designed to act on each of the stages where hyperpigmentation forms in the skin. Here’s what triggers pigmentation:
- Skin injury (scarring)
When the skin is injured – through a physical injury, acne or anything that causes the skin to become sore and inflamed – it often triggers the release of a bioactive lipid called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which causes discolouration in the skin. Luminesce is specially designed to address this issue, effectively preventing the appearance of hyperpigmentation in the skin.
- Free radicals (UV from the sun) The sun’s rays can trigger PGE2, too, but it also triggers the body’s self-protecting response of releasing alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones (a-MSH). These hormones help protect your body’s DNA from the sun’s rays, but, unfortunately, the trigger hyperpigmentation. Luminesce works by reducing a-MSH in your skin.
- Hormonal changes in the body
- This “new” cocktail of enzymes that the body secretes in response to the hormonal changes all tend to act on melanocytes, causing them to produce more melanin. And you’re left with hyperpigmentation. Luminesce is designed to act on all melanin-stimulating processes that happen when your body experiences hormonal fluctuations.
- One of the trickiest causes of hyperpigmentation happens inside your body. Changes in your hormonal balance – which can be caused by taking contraceptives, puberty, falling pregnant, taking certain medications, being exposed to certain toxins and much, much more – set off a chain reaction. Hormonal changes can trigger the release of a whole host of new enzymes in your body, including blood vessel-related growth factors, keratinocyte mast- and stem cell activity, amino acids that increase melanin production, and much more.
What’s more, these processes or “pigmentation pathways” are what cause hyperpigmentation in all skin types. They’re the physical, biological processes that are similar regardless of your skin colour. And, by focusing on these biological processes, Luminesce does what very few products out there can: it works effectively and safely on all skin types.
Luminesce reduces the processes that cause hyperpigmentation. But it does so much more, too. Included in the range of Luminesce products, you’ll find a day and night cream that do everything we mentioned above, plus they help accelerate skin cell turnover, which is important for getting an even-toned skin in as short a space of time as possible.
There’s also a Luminesce sunscreen because you need to block the sun from causing any further damage while you’re busy treating your current pigmentation. There’s also a brightening cleanser, which lets you apply all the above-mentioned skin-brightening tools, even while you’re washing your face.
Here’s to perfectly even-toned skin.
Ask your skincare therapist about Luminesce. Or, if you don’t have a preferred therapist yet, contact Lamelle Research Laboratories for a referral to a qualified skin specialist near you.