It’s a growing concern in South Africa, and at the same time there is a lot of confusion around the causes and treatment of uneven-looking skin.
Before we started our Pigmentation Journey with Environ Skincare, we were all confident in the fact that we had pretty even skin. I was under the impression that I’d managed to get through my pregnancy unaffected by the feared melasma, or “the mask of pregnancy.” Tasha, meanwhile, boldly claimed that she had freckles but not pigmentation. Right?
“Just come for a skin analysis,” we were urged. And with that one analysis, our eyes were opened. Intricate scans showed that while I had fairly even skin on the surface, there was a whole mess of underlying pigmentation to worry about. Without proper preventative treatment, this could surface over the years. Tasha, meanwhile, was dead wrong about freckles. Similarly, her skin needed special attention.
Then we asked you to send your questions around pigmentation and we realised there’s a lot to learn around this skin concern. So we met up with Sole Joubert, Environ Lead Educator, to get our facts straight.
Q: We had a couple of questions around pigmentation that occurs because of pregnancy or hormonal treatments. Can you explain how hormonal pigmentation works and what you can do to treat it? Can you ever get rid of it completely?
A: Dr Des Fernandes, Environ Founder and Scientific Director, recently explained that the difficulty with “hormonal” pigmentation that becomes apparent during or after pregnancy, is that one would not know what would have happened if you weren’t pregnant. There is no doubt that the hormonal changes during pregnancy raises the levels of MSH (Melanin Stimulating Hormone), which is one of the main stimuli for melanin formation, but sun exposure still remains the biggest cause of pigmentary problems.
The best way to treat this type of problem is by using vitamin A, eventually in high enough doses to help normalise the discolouration. Added to this is the new Environ Radiance+ Range, which targets every one of the six complex steps involved in the process of melanogenesis. This combination gives you the very best chance to improve the problem.
(Note, you are able to use the Radiance+ Range during pregnancy, but remember that the hormonal influence is very strong during this time and the results will depend on this).
Sun damage and pigmentation
Q: How does sun damage influence pigmentation?
A: UV rays, emitted by the sun, enter the skin and stimulate the melanocytes (pigment forming cells) to produce melanin through a series of complex steps. But it’s not only the sun that emits UV rays! Your cell phone screen, your computer screen and UV lights, for example, do the same thing. You are continuously exposed.
Acne, scarring and pigmentation
Q: Many of our readers asked about pigmentation that is caused through scarring and acne. Can you explain how this type of pigmentation works? How is it different from hormonal pigmentation? Can you prevent it and can you treat it?
A: Post inflammatory pigmentation is due to inflammation in a specific area, which may have been caused by the localised infection in the acne spot, or perhaps you squeezed the spot and caused bruising and further infection or inflammation. This is known to cause dark marks and areas of pigmentation in the skin.
Your best prevention weapon… don’t squeeze! Don’t spread the infection by touching the skin. If you have these marks, know that they will take their time to fade, but that they will fade and improve. You can assist the healing process by using vitamin A to normalise the skin in these areas, and of course you can also add the Environ Radiance+ Range to assist this process.
Aging and pigmentation
Q: Will pigmentation worsen with age? Can you prevent that from happening?
A: There is no doubt that using vitamin A from a young age is the very best approach to preventing sun damage. Realistically, you are going to be exposed to UV, so in terms of prevention, what else can you do?
This first thing that comes to mind is using sunscreen. The next question is which sunscreen? Make sure that you use one that contains both UV-A and UV-B protection, as well as antioxidants as this will give you the best protection. You don’t need to use anything higher than SPF 15.
Also, buy a beautiful wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and stay out of direct sunlight (summer and winter) during the midday.
And remember your hands are exposed too!
Using the Environ Radiance+ range
Q: How does the Environ Radiance+ range work? How is it different? And how will you incorporate the products into your skincare regime?
A: Dr Des has passionately researched pigmentation for many years and after going back to the drawing board a few times he has now revolutionised the way pigmentation is treated. We proudly call it the #RadianceRevolution!
The first step is understanding exactly how pigmentation is formed in the skin. He has taught me that understanding WHY something happens is the best way to find a solution for it.
Dr Des has created a system that targets each step in the melanogenesis process, cleverly interfering and inhibiting with the process in every way possible. This, along with eventually using the highest levels of vitamin A, is the best combination to use.
Environ believes that using skin care products should be easy and therefore created a step-by-step system of 4 products that are applied in 3 easy steps:
- First apply the Mela-Prep Lotion, with fingertips, by massaging it onto the dark patches.
- Next, mix and apply equal amounts of the two Mela-Fade Serums to the same areas after which you can lastly, apply the Mela-Even Cream.
- You simply add these products into your existing Environ routine after toning and before moisturising with your vitamin A enriched moisturiser.
Of course, you can still continue to use all your other serums – you simply add this range to target the appearance of pigmentation.
Do you have any more questions around pigmentation? Pop them in the comments section below!
*This post was sponsored by Environ Skincare