Updated: Jul 3, 2020
OK let’s talk pigment because I am getting so many texts lately about pigment spots coming out right now. Hello summer!
Pigment is a stubborn little B to get rid of and must be treated consistently. I explain hyper-pigmentation as our bodies natural sunscreen, it’s our skins way of protecting our skin cells so they won’t become free radicals or cancerous. In other words, if you got a sunburn when you were 10, your melanocytes started reacting immediately. Problem is your skin has memory and knows that there was a trauma to that area and now keeps over producing those brown cells to help protect itself. But you won’t visibly see those ugly cells until later in life. Then BAM one day you are sitting outside in your 20s or 30s having a great time and you wake up the next morning with brown spots all over your skin. It’s not actually from that day; it’s an accumulation of all the days of your life getting sun exposure. Hello Arizona friends, sound familiar? Yeah, we have like 360 days of sunshine. And your skin doesn’t know the difference between sitting poolside or walking from your car to the store, it’s all sun exposure!
So what do we do? We need Tyrosinase Inhibitors! They work by blocking or sedating the production of melanin which causes your skin to have dark spots.
It is advised that all skin undergoing resurfacing or rejuvenating (eg. Chemical peels, IPL, Laser Photo Dynamic Therapy) be prepped with Tyrosinase inhibitors to reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Also, to give faster and safer results!
Because of the complexity of pigment production and the stubbornness to “get rid of it” hyper-pigmentation needs to be treated almost daily. We never truly get rid of hyper-pigmentation, but instead we suppress it back into the dermal layers. Your melanocytes (cells that cause darkened pigment) can be triggered to go into hyperdrive by sun exposure, heat (internal and external), and hormonal fluctuations to name a few. In other words, if you have hyper-pigmentation, it’s a part of you now but it doesn’t have to be visible.
SPF is not optional when dealing with hyper-pigmentation. IT IS A MUST. EVERY DAY. Tyrosinase inhibitors must also be used often as well to help keep those pesky dark cells deep in the skin and not on the surface where they can be seen. Professional treatments will dramatically improve your pigments appearance but cannot be the only source of treatment. I remind my clients that I can only treat them monthly (if they come in) but they can treat their skin daily, therefore making the biggest impact in their skin. It’s almost impossible to solely treat skin conditions of any kind without a proper at-home regimen.
A few products I recommend to keep pigment under control (and slow down the aging process also) would be our most popular PCA SKIN products. Pigment Bar (3-5 times a week), spot treat with Pigment Gel, Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum, Intensive Brightening Retinol at night (3-5 times a week) and daily sunscreen (reapplied often if sun exposure is high).
Chemical Peels and IPL rock at controlling pigment and brightening the skin!!