Pigmentation is the new wrinkle, with many people being more concerned about even skin tone as dull skin with dark patches tend to draw more attention and give the appearance of ageing more than fine lines. Melanin is a major factor in determining skin, eye and hair colour, the lighter the eyes the more sensitive they are. The cell that produces melanin is called a ‘melanocyte’, this cell produces melanin granules called ‘melanosomes’. It is the malanosome that is responsible for the brown pigment (melanin). So the amount of melanin in the melanocyte (cell) determines the degree of colour in the skin and hair, irrespective what race we are, we will have the same amount of melanocytes. It is the size of the melanosomes that differ, for example darker skins have melanosomes that are evenly distributed and are large. In lighter skins the melanosomes are smaller and clump together in little groups.
Many are under the illusion pigmentation is just caused by UV exposure or hormonal influences but they are mistaken there are other factors that play a part in the cause of pigmentation.
- Hormonal Influences: Contraceptive Pill, HRT, Hormone Imbalance, Pregnancy and MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) can also trigger cells receptor.
- UV exposure: Excessive sun exposure with little or no sun protection can influence hyper pigmentation as can the use of sun beds.
- Ageing: As we get older we form “liver spots” this is when the melanocyte deposits melanin between the dermis and epidermis. After the age of 35 the melanocyte cells decrease.
- Photosensitivity: Products with artificial fragrance, Renova, Retin-A, essential oils such as Lime or Bergamot, medications such as Accutane, Tetracycline, diuretics, anti cancer drugs, hypoglycemics, anti-inflammatory and certain homeopathic remedies like Hypericium (St Johns Wort) can all be par the course for pigmentation.
- Trauma: Deep chemical peels, severe sunburn, cuts, wounds and surgery cause an “inflammatory response” which stimulates melanin production.
- Diet: food habits or changing lifestyles can be the cause of pigmentation, certain foods and chemical certainly plays its role, foods containing psoralens (chemicals) such as limes, celery and parsnips are known to have psoralens. Poralens are photo-sensitive so they attract UV (Ultra Violet) rays. Excessive consumption of tea and coffee can also contribute.
Illuminating treatments that lighten and brighten, are very popular especially in my clinic, I have had amazing results with my clients in evening skin tone with the Master Lift in just three treatments a difference can be seen in overall skin tone.
Any pigmentation issues must be looked at internal and environmental factors. You must always consult your therapist before applying any active ingredients as these can exacerbate the condition.