Pigmentation – a top concern for South African skins

pigmentation a top concern for south african skins

If you’re interested in good skin care, you’re most likely looking for a safe and effective way to treat dark spots or uneven skin tone. Known as pigmentation disorders, these issues affect so many South Africans, regardless of their skin tone.

Chronological or photo-induced ageing, hormonal disorders (from contraceptives, pregnancy, menopause etc.), repeated sun exposure and inflammation (caused by acne or eczema) can all lead to the appearance of skin pigmentary problems. Stress-induced or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure and/or inflammation while melasma is the scientific term for hormonal-induced pigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation in dark skins

Though hyperpigmentation can affect everyone, people with darker skin tones are more prone to it because they have more reactive melanocytes. These are the pigment-producing cells. The darker your skin type – Fitzpatrick skin types 3 or higher – the more likely an inflammatory process such as irritation or injury will result in the development of excess pigment during the healing process. This is also why hyperpigmentation is more severe and more difficult to treat in darker skins.

Keratinocytes are the most prevalent cells in your epidermis. They react to reactive oxygen species by producing stress signals which subsequently stimulate melanogenesis (the darkening of melanocytes), resulting in hyperpigmentation. In the case of sun burn or overexposure to UV light, melanogenesis is induced through two distinct pathways:

  1. directly activating the melanocyte
  2. indirectly by generating reactive oxygen species in surrounding keratinocytes.

This is why it is so important to wear a broad-spectrum high SPF sunscreen and to reapply it regularly in order to prevent hyperpigmentation. There are also products and treatments on the market to safely and effectively treat dark spots and uneven skin tone for those already affected by this issue. Some of our favourites from Uriage are listed below.

Safe and effective treatments

Uriage Dépiderm Brightening Corrective Serum provides a boost of radiance to revive dull, tired skin. Formulated with effective complexion-correcting active ingredients, this ultra-light serum delivers a luminous even tone and will help your skin appear smoother and more radiant.

If you have sensitive skin, reach for products that not only brighten dull skin but also repair the barrier. Dépiderm Brightening Eye Contour Cream is a fresh gel-cream that is suitable for sensitive skin and will help restore your skin’s radiance by reducing eye contour blemishes. 

For a more intense pigment-correcting treatment, opt for Dépiderm Anti-Brown Spot Targeted Care. This ultra-concentrated skin-safe formulation is rich in anti-dark spot active ingredients. These actives work synergistically to effectively correct blemishes by reducing their size and intensity. The formulation is also enriched with alpha hydroxy acids to boost cell turnover through mild chemical exfoliation. 

Always remember that hyperpigmented skin is generally harmless, though it can cause emotional distress and have an impact on your self-confidence. Treating pigmentation should never involve lightening the colour of your skin, but rather address your concerns holistically to prevent or reduce dark spots and restore your skin barrier. This will ultimately result in your skin looking brighter and more radiant, which derms call ‘even tone’. 

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