Dark spots, splotches and uneven skin tone. It’s something that’s becoming all too common, year-round, everywhere in the world. Hyperpigmentation treatments can often seem a bit complicated or daunting because they’re so multifaceted: you have several triggers that cause pigmentation, and then there’s the need to treat the underlying cause plus the existing pigmentation that’s visible on your face and skin right now.
In this post, we’re going to try and demystify pigmentation a bit. Show you that, complicated as it seems, there are simple and effective solutions.
Right from the start, though, you should know that we don’t promote lightening or whitening the skin. Your natural skin tone is who you are. That’s your most beautiful and perfect you, so we’ll never try to change it and neither should you. What we do though is to try and help you achieve and maintain your individual and unique ideal skin tone. And what could be better than just being the real you?
You also should know that Lamelle Research Laboratories has developed one of the most effective and unique products for treating hyperpigmentation on the market today in its Luminesce range. And we did so not by trying to change your skin or how it works but instead by better understanding what causes pigmentation and the chemical and physiological processes your body uses to produce (or overproduce) pigment in your body.
Here’s what you should know:
PIGMENTATION AND MELANIN
First off, normal pigmentation in your skin is as natural as your skin itself. All skins and all skin types and colours have pigment in it. It’s what gives your skin its unique colour and tone. And the pigment comes from a natural granule your skin produces itself: melanin, made by specialised cells called melanocytes.
The different colours in skin come from slight variations in how the melanin is formed: melanin can range in colour from near-colourless to red, yellow-ish and every shade of brown or black. And we all have a little bit of every type in our bodies, some just more than others, which is what gives you your unique skin tone.
The main purpose of melanin is to act as a natural sunscreen. Melanin absorbs UV light, protecting your skin cells from its damaging effects. And the more time you spend in the sun, the more melanin your body produces – that’s actually what a tan is: prolonged exposure to sunlight causes DNA damage, which triggers your body to produce more skin pigment, melanin, in an effort to protect itself. .
And it happens all year round, which is why we say it’s so important to wear sun protection even in winter.
SO WHAT IS HYPERPIGMENTATION?
As the name suggests, hyperpigmentation is an overabundance or imbalance in the melanin and pigmentation in your skin. It’s when you get darker or seemingly discoloured spots, splotches or patches of skin. Freckles could be one example of hyperpigmentation, as is melasma during and after pregnancy or ashy skin around a scar or acne scar. What it essentially is is that some parts of the skin are a different colour or tone to the rest, giving you an uneven skin tone.
What’s happening here is that a group of cells on a certain part of your face or body are not with the programme: something has triggered them to produce either too much melanin or a different type of melanin than the rest of your body, and now you end up with patches of differently coloured skin.
It shouldn’t be, but the truth is that for many of us this discoloured skin can have a dramatic impact on your confidence and your self-esteem. Especially if it’s very noticeable: You’re constantly aware of this patch of darker or discoloured skin, and it affects your life and confidence in so many negative ways. Not to mention that it also physically contributes to skin ageing.
BROAD-STROKES CAUSES OF HYPERPIGMENTATION
We distinguish between three broad types of hyperpigmentation:
Because melanin’s purpose is sun protection, sun exposure will trigger it. Some cells are just overactive and tend to overproduce melanin in the presence of sunlight. BUt most of the time, when cells in a certain area get badly sun damaged, the cells’ DNA is damaged, and the body responds by instructing melanocytes to produce more melanin in that area as a means of protecting it. The result is a darker or discoloured patch of skin, which can take weeks or months (if not longer) to normalise again. That said, there are a few surprising things that can trigger or worsen hyperpigmentation.
Changes in hormones levels can also trigger hyperpigmentation. Chloasma or “the mask of pregnancy” is very common among new mothers, because of the drastic change in a woman’s hormone levels during and after giving birth. See our post that gives some insights into hormonal pigmentation. We also make some recommendations in this recent post about a product that helps clear 37% of melasma in 28 days.
Skin injuries and the resulting inflammation during the healing process, including skin lesions and acne, also trigger hyperpigmentation. For many, especially acne can cause lingering skin discolouration. That’s why we posted recently about how you really shouldn’t pop pimples and gave some general insights into how to prevent acne from day to day.
Now, although we classify all of the above as broad-strokes causes of hyperpigmentation, Lamelle Research Laboratories knows that there’s a deeper level to this condition. Beneath all the apparent causes, we know that our bodies produce melanin naturally. So there are specific physiological processes at work: The ways in which our bodies produce melanin. Lamelle took a closer look at these, to see if there aren’t any keys here to a more effective hyperpigmentation treatment.
HOW MELANIN IS FORMED IN YOUR BODY
It’s slightly complicated, but we know that there are several chemical and biological ways/means in which your body produces melanin through its melanocyte cells. The process is called melanogenesis and it describes the “steps” in how melanin is formed.
There are several steps (routes or ways) to melanin formation. It all starts with the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine (an important component for making new proteins in your body), which then goes through a series of chemical changes with divergent routes that eventually end up producing the various types of melanin: either eumelanin (responsible for brown and black colours) or pheomelanin (colours ranging from near colourless to yellow, orange to red).
The actual individual steps are a bit too long-winded to describe here fully (tyrosine gets oxidised, for example, then turned to a form of dopamine after which comes either acetolysis or it turning into an alanyl form, etc.). It’s best to just think of it in terms of that there are a number of essential steps in the process of how your body creates new melanin.
A NEW WAY OF THINKING
Now, although there are the various broad-strokes causes of hyperpigmentation we discussed earlier and each requires perhaps a specific treatment for the underlying cause as well as a treatment for getting rid of the existing hyperpigmentation (such as increasing cell turnover and exfoliation, but more on that later), Lamelle knows that understanding the steps to melanin formation is the key to creating a single product (or range) that can work on any skin type for any type of hyperpigmentation.
And that is how Lamelle created one of the most effective home-care pigmentation treatments available today.
HYPERPIGMENTATION TREATMENT: LUMINESCE INHIBITS 8 STEPS IN PIGMENT FORMATION
Specially formulated to be safe and effective on all skin types and on all types of pigmentation, Lamelle’s Luminesce range is the first hyperpigmentation treatment that actively regulates melanin formation in your skin across 8 of the steps in melanin formation.
It was a breakthrough when it launched and is still today the only home-care product that can regulate melanin formation across that many steps in melanin formation. Luminesce doesn’t whiten or lighten skin at all, it helps your body normalise how much melanin it produces, making it a safe and effective hyperpigmentation treatment that you can use every day at home.
And it’s a complete treatment range, featuring creams, a sunscreen and a cleanser, all specially formulated to deliver the most advanced pigmentation treatment available. And it really works for everyone. We recently did a post showing how Luminesce works across all skin types and colours.
If you’re struggling with discoloured, hyperpigmented skin, speak to your doctor or therapist today about including Luminesce in your home-care routine.
For more information about Lamelle’s Luminesce range be sure to click below.