Skin contains melanin, a naturally-occurring pigment that gives skin color.
Its purpose is protective, which is why skin becomes darker when exposed to the sun without sunscreen.
Melanin can also be produced in excess as a protective response to insults or attacks on the top layer of skin.
While sun exposure is the primary cause of skin discoloration, a variety of factors can contribute such as genetics,
hormonal fluctuations, acne, localized skin irritation, and other environmental aggressors such as pollution-induced
free radicals. Regardless of the cause, skin discoloration can be present as dark patches, isolated spots, or an overall
darker facial appearance. It is often difficult to treat and prevention is key for managing skin discoloration in topical
skincare. This requires diligent use of sunscreen and an effective topical vitamin C antioxidant.
There are many ingredients that claim or have been shown to reduce the appearance of skin discoloration and brighten the skin’s complexion. Well-studied ingredients include pure vitamin C(l-ascorbic acid) and phloretin, potent antioxidants both featured in Phloretin CF and Phloretin CF Gel. Retinol is another key ingredient shown to be effective in treating discoloration and is often recommended by dermatologists.
Kojic acid and arbutin are two well-documented ingredients that work synergistically
together to improve the appearance of unwanted discoloration. SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 features niacinamide, another important ingredient in
addressing discoloration. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, helps reduce the appearance of discoloration and
Hydroquinone is also a common ingredient used primarily by physicians, but is available at lower percentages without a prescription. Many physicians recommend alternatives to hydroquinone due to its side effects. Sunscreen filters are also essential for discoloration concerns because they protect skin from UV damage.
The most comprehensive solution for improving the appearance of skin discoloration is prevention and correction. Incorporate an effective topical vitamin C antioxidant such as Phloretin CF or Phloretin CF Gel every morning to prevent against UV- and pollution-induced free radicals. A broad spectrum sunscreen is also a necessity to shield skin from the UV rays that can prompt pigment-producing cells to create new (and unwanted) melanin. Lastly, combining with targeted corrective solutions formulated to reduce the appearance of existing discoloration and brighten skin will optimize results. SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector is a daily multi-action lightweight lotion that helps reduce the appearance of superficial discoloration and improves overall skin tone. Retinol creams can also be quite effective in improving the look of skin discoloration. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 is a targeted facial exfoliator that accelerates cell turnover to improve the appearance of skin tone and texture. Reducing the appearance of discoloration takes time, be patient and diligent with a regimen.
Physicians and skincare professionals are invaluable partners in treating discoloration. They offer a variety of treatments that can quickly and effectively reduce the appearance of skin discoloration. Options include lasers, intense pulsed light (IPL), and chemical peels. They will recommend the best course of treatment according to skin tone, discoloration severity, and tolerated downtime. Lasers and IPL treatments use light to target and remove melanin clusters in skin. Chemical peels use a variety of acids to exfoliate and reduce the appearance of discoloration. SkinCeuticals Advanced Corrective Peel is a medically exclusive chemical peel for comprehensive skin texture refinement and improvement of the visible signs of discoloration. Your SkinCeuticals skincare professional will also recommend at-home skincare products to complement your treatment.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a type of dark spot that can occur after an acne blemish injury to the skin. It can also be caused by heat associated with sun radiation, waxing, laser treatments, or other in-office procedures. PIH is more common in darker skin tones.
Skin discoloration includes age spots, sun spots, or hyperpigmentation, and it’s an extremely common skin concern.
The main cause of age spots is unprotected sun exposure as well as incidental exposure such as walking to and from your car, which prompts uneven pigment production deep within the skin. Although diligent use of sunscreen and topical antioxidants help to prevent discoloration, products for hyperpigmentation can make a dramatic difference. To even skin tone, products for hyperpigmentation interfere at various points in the pigment-production process, either by targeting the enzymes necessary for pigment production or preventing pigment from being deposited in the skin. Exfoliation alone (through scrubs, in-office peels and the use of retinol) can also improve age spots by eliminating the top layers of skin where pigment resides. The most effective way to prevent discoloration is with daily sunscreen and topical antioxidant use, and the proper regimen can improve existing hyperpigmentation.