Say no to the dark side…
If you’ve no idea what we’re talking about, here’s a clue: freckles, dark spots, melasma.
Yes, we’re talking about hyperpigmentation – the bane of almost everyone’s existence.
Please don’t get us wrong, we’re all about embracing natural beauty. While freckles can be really cute, and this is why the faux freckles makeup is really in trend right now, not everyone looks good with freckles, especially when they start forming a colony….
These dark spots may start off puny at first, however over time, they may slowly enlarge (though not surely, depending on how you take care of your skin). Before you know it, they become unsightly patches that take up permanent residence on your face.
If you’d like to know how to prevent hyperpigmentation or how to get rid of your dark spots, keep scrolling.
But first, back to the basics …
What is melanin?
Melanin is often negatively associated with hyperpigmentation but did you know its primary function is to keep you protected?
This special pigment is a substance produced naturally by the body to give colouration to your hair, eyes and skin and the amount of melanin your body produces is genetically determined.
Melanin also absorbs harmful UV rays, and protects your eyes and your skin from sun damage. The more melanin you produce, the more protection you’ll have from the sun.
A special shoutout to people of colour, we’ve some good news for you: you’re at a lower risk of skin cancer!
Moving on to the not so good news…
Nature is always in balance.
Though it’s meant to protect your skin from UV rays, your skin may be triggered to produce excessive melanin when your innate defences have hit their thresholds in neutralising the damaging effects of the chemical reactions caused by prolonged sun exposure.
Excess melanin levels can also be a result of hormonal fluctuations or inflammations of wound or acne breakouts.
Different forms of hyperpigmentation
Freckles may come and go from changing seasons or it may stay put. They are found together in groups, prominent in sun-exposed areas and will develop especially during the summer season.
2. Sun spots
Also known as liver spots though they have no correlation to liver. Sun spots typically surface on people with lighter skin after the age of 50 or they may also appear earlier on people who are much younger but are always under the sun without protection.
They appear as a single spot and are much larger than freckles. If you’re someone who loves to sunbathe, engage in outdoor activities or water sports, keep in mind that after years of prolonged exposure, melanin may gather to form highly concentrated sunspots.
3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
Do you wonder why your face is filled with reddish or brownish marks after an acne breakout? This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). During a breakout, inflammation is happening underneath your skin. This inflammation causes trauma to skin tissue, leading to scarring and discolouration.
Its severity could be exacerbated from DIY extractions, so keep your hands to yourself!
If you’ve a darker skin tone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completely safe from hyperpigmentation.
Cue the dreaded melasma!
Melasma is commonly developed in people with darker skin tones. Though the exact reasons are unknown, it can be genetic or caused by sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy (that’s why it’s a.k.a the “pregnancy mask”) or birth control pills.
This natural “face mask” may appear in odd shapes on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose and chin. These patches are much darker than your natural skin colour and can be symmetrically matching on both sides of the face.
How to reduce hyperpigmentation?
One of the factors that can trigger excess melanin production is free radical damage. Introduce antioxidants in your skincare routine to neutralise free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) to fortify your skin barrier and shield your skin from environmental damage.
Try ést.lab’s VitaLift A+ Intensive Youth Restoring Capsules that’s powered by fullerene (a Nobel Prize-winning antioxidant) that boasts up to 250x more powerful than Vitamin C in neutralising pesky free radicals. Each pod contains a blend of nourishing oils that also helps to keep your skin bouncy, supple and line-free.
For an indulgent treat, experience Estetica’s Skin Shield Oxygen Facial, a powerful anti-pollution facial treatment that repairs and strengthens your skin barrier and reverses signs of photo-ageing (including spots!) for a healthier and more radiant complexion.
To lighten existing dark spots and marks on the skin’s surface, exfoliate regularly to break up the pigment cells and slough them off to reveal a brighter and renewed complexion underneath.
If you’re looking for a good exfoliator, look no further than our LumiWhite Exfoliating Scrub that contains biodegradable jojoba beads to gently buff away dead skin cells, leaving your skin soft and silky.
For a more intense exfoliating treatment, try the AquaGlow Peel Therapy, a next level 4-in-1 treatment that cleanses, exfoliates, extracts impurities and infuses serums deep into your skin. It is gentle yet effective to revive dull complexion and lighten hyperpigmentation.
3. Melanin inhibitors
To stop hyperpigmentation at its roots, one of the best ways is to block melanin transfer and inhibit tyrosinase activity, which is an enzyme that controls the production of melanin.
Introducing ést.lab’s latest innovation, the LumiGlow TXA Brightening Cream that is formulated with Tranexamic Acid (TXA) to inhibit the key interactions of melanin synthesis pathways. It is also infused with anti-blue light technology and faraday shield to protect the skin from digital-ageing.
Alternatively, opt for our Enzymacid Facial that uses Ascorbic Acid 2-Glu-coside (AA2GTM), a stabilised form of Vitamin C to suppress melanin synthesis and prevent the formation of hyperpigmentation.
4. Light therapy
Saving the best for last, different forms of light therapy have been proven to be effective in evening out skin tone and eliminating hyperpigmentation completely.
The calming, anti-inflammatory green light helps reduce hyperpigmentation and sun damage, revealing a brighter complexion. This can be found in ést.lab’s LumiGlow SmartSkin Buddy (Mode 4), which utilises LED Green Light and Sonic Vibrations to correct discolourations and improve uneven skin tone.
Those with severe hyperpigmentation may consider Estetica’s Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Face Therapy, which uses high energy light pulses to break down melanin into small particles that can then rise to the surface to flake away or be removed naturally by the body’s lymphatic system. It is completely safe, non-invasive and painless.
However, even if you’ve successfully gotten rid of your hyperpigmentation, it is important to know that the possibility of recurrence is high.
So, always apply sufficient sunscreen and reapply every 2-3 hours especially if you’re going to be under the sun for prolonged periods. Also, incorporate brightening products into your skincare routine to keep your existing hyperpigmentation under control to prevent it from worsening.
Early prevention is the key!
In good hands,