Out, Damned Spot! The Pigmentation Blues

Lady Macbeth was lamenting something very different when she uttered this famous line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I have been muttering, “Out, damned spot!” a lot in the last six months. 2017 has been the year that pigmentation has paid me an unwelcome visit. Mostly, on my forehead and a scattering on my cheeks. In the space of six months, it has gathered pace on my face.

Pigmentation Face

DARK (SPOTS) MOOD: I got the pigmentation blues.

Pigmentation is ageing and I am vain enough to care about such things. So I have been educating myself over the last three months or so about pigmentation.

“I have been educating myself over the last three months about pigmentation.”

WHAT IS PIGMENTATION?

Very basically, pigmentation is the uneven colouring or darkening of the skin and manifests as spots or blotches on the face, the hands and the rest of the body. It’s easily confused with its altogether cuter cousin, freckles.

Pigmentation spots and blotches

PIGMENTATION OF MY IMAGINATION: An oh-so-artistic interpretation of those pesky spots and blotches.

HOW IS PIGMENTATION CAUSED?

Pigmentation occurs when the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) go into overdrive as a result of damage to the skin. This produces an excess of melanin and dark spots appear on the skin’s surface. It’s caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, inflammation and some medications. The biggest cause of pigmentation, however, is over-exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. The bad news is that this sun-induced damage may have been caused a few decades ago and those sun sins are only making their appearance now.

Pigmentation protection

SEEING THE LIGHT: Even in the shade, the sun’s harmful rays can do their wicked work.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT PIGMENTATION?

It seems pigmentation can be treated in various ways, including skin-bleaching products. From my research, this is highly risky, so I have given it a miss. Some people swear by home remedies such as raw potato, apple cider vinegar and cucumber, which I have yet to try.  But I might make a salad while I am at it. So what have I tried so far to treat my pigmentation?

“Some people swear by home remedies such as raw potato, apple cider vinegar and cucumber, which I have yet to try.”

Pigmentation products

PIGMENTATION ARSENAL: Fighting back against the dark arts.

Blemish Control Laser And Biomagnetic Facial (R375 for 60 minutes)

I recently discovered that Dis-Chem, one of SA’s largest pharmacy chains, has ventured into the beauty salon biz with Skin Strategy (https://dischem.co.za/dis-chem-beauty-salons). The Blemish Control Laser and Biomagnetic Facial features on its menu of treatments. This facial uses “light peeling to reduce uneven skin tone and scarring by dispersing the clumping of pigment in the melanin-bearing cells”. My therapist Puleng was very knowledgeable and gave me a good talking-to about the importance of daily sun protection to prevent further pigmentation. Yes, m’am!

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream

I also noticed she used BioNike skincare products. So I have been using a selection of treatments from this well-established Italian brand that’s exclusive to Dis-Chem Skin Strategy beauty salons.

BioNike Defence B-Lucent Day Peel Brightening Cream Cleanser (R149.95 for 150ml)

This gentle cleanser and exfoliator is rich in polyhydroxy acids to treat photo-aged skin by encouraging cell turnover.

BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Protective Cream SPF50 (R225 for 40ml)

An easily absorbed cream that’s packed with active ingredients and sun protection to reduce the appearance of current and future signs of pigmentation.

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Protective Cream SPF50

BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream (R149.95 for 50ml)

A high-protection sun cream that defends the skin against UVA/UVB rays, free radicals and long-term damage.

I have also been using Eau Thermale Avène D-Pigment Light Dark Spot Corrector (R359.95 for 30ml). This cream contains soothing Avène thermal spring water and a trio of powerful active ingredients (melanyde, retinaldehyde and pre-tocopheryl) to combat current and future pigmentation.

Pigmentation products - Eau Thermale Avène D-Pigment Light Dark Spot Corrector

While none of the above-mentioned treatments have obliterated my pigmentation for good, in combination they are slowly starting to make a difference to my complexion.

OH, SUN BEHAVE! 

The biggest change in my behaviour has been to use sun protection on a daily basis. I wouldn’t classify myself as a sun bunny but, up until recently, I used sun protection very haphazardly.

When I am being particularly virtuous, I apply the stuff up to three times a day. When I let this regimen slide, I am sure I can almost see the pigmentation multiply on my face. Me paranoid?

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Don’t forget the very high protection.

I have also taken to regularly wearing a hat à la Madonna. The pop icon doesn’t just do this for incognito purposes. She knows that it’s a particularly simple, yet effective weapon against ageing pigmentation.

“I have also taken to regularly wearing a hat à la Madonna. It’s a particularly simple, yet effective weapon against ageing pigmentation. “ 

RETINOL TO THE PIGMENTATION RESCUE

Next up for yours truly is a course of retinol. This vitamin A derivative is another essential in the fight against uneven skin tone. I have been hearing great things about Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair. And have just started using it this week. I will update you on the results in the near-ish future.

Pigmentation products - Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair

 

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