Freckles, sun spots, melasma, pregnancy mask, in one word - hyperpigmentation!
Traces of summer after increased exposure to the sun often follow us all year round in the form of brownish spots on the face. These are visible hyperpigmentation changes that occur as a result of photoaging and damage caused by UV radiation. Hyperpigmentation changes (as well as the tan itself after sunbathing) actually represent a defensive reaction of our skin that starts to produce more melanin in response to the negative effects of UV radiation. Melanocytes, cells that produce melanin and thus try to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, are responsible for this hyperproduction of melanin.
Apart from UV radiation, hyperpigmentation also occurs due to a genetic predisposition, and we sometimes call them a "pregnancy mask" because they can occur as a reaction to hormonal changes in pregnancy, but also during the use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
Hyperpigmentation is distinguished by light brown to dark brown spots of a larger area that mainly occur on both sides of the face, but can also appear on only one part, most often the forehead, cheek and area above the lip. Does "brown mustache" sound familiar to you?
How to treat them at home?
The most effective ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation changes are vitamin C (we choose sodium ascorbyl phosphate), glycolic acid, bakuchiol and retinoids.
Vitamin C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate): As a powerful antioxidant, it reduces the oxidative stress of the skin caused by UV radiation, leading to microscopic damage that accumulates in the skin over time. In addition, it acts as a melanin inhibitor, which is why it is especially important against hyperpigmentation changes and helps to lighten and even out skin tone. In combination with it, the UV protection product has a stronger photoprotective effect. Also, vitamin C can be used complementary to more potent active ingredients to treat this problem.
Glycolic acid: An ingredient from the group of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), which is used for chemical exfoliation. It works by chemically softening dead skin cells, ie gently removing them from the skin, leaving the skin refreshed and smoothed. It has the smallest molecular structure among AHA exfoliants, which allows it to penetrate deeper into the dermis, so this type of acid is intended to even out skin tone and treat hyperpigmentation.
Retinoids: A name that encompasses powerful vitamin A derivatives, but retinol and retinal are most commonly used in over-the-counter cosmetic products. These ingredients decrease hyperpigmentation with regular use and accelerate the process of cell turn-over, resulting in a even skin tone and reduced hyperpigmentation changes. Although they provide excellent results, retinoids can dry out and have a higher irritant potential, so gradual introduction into the routine with the use of lower concentrations is recommended when starting with them.
Bakuchiol: a compound derived from the plant Psoralea corylifolia, which has been confirmed by clinical studies as a functional plant analogue of retinol without the side effects that retinoids can cause on delicate skin. It is not photosensitizing and has a better safety profile, ie it is a suitable ingredient for sensitive groups - pregnant and breastfeeding women. With a strong antioxidant effect, it reduces hyperpigmentation changes, evens out skin tone and acts synergistically with acids and vitamin C.
Prevention of photoaging signs
In addition to the regular use of products with these ingredients, prevention of hyperpigmentation changes and consequent photo-ageing, is the most important step, ie daily application of a high protective factor that protects the skin from a wide range of UV radiation (UVA + UVB) and responsible behaviour in the sun. It is important to use a product with a high protection factor throughout the year, apply it abundantly and reapply as needed, and find one that is comfortable enough on the skin that you really want to wear it every day.
Spring / summer routine suggestion:
In the evening: Architect
Summer is a period when you are looking for a quick solution to this problem so that you don’t need to cover it with foundation, but it’s important to emphasize that treating melasma is a long-term process and must be addressed throughout the year. During the summer, it’s important to stay away from the sun as much as possible, which means that sunbathing is not desirable. Of course, it’s obligatory to apply a high protection factor every day and use other methods of photoprotection, such as sunglasses and hats.
In the summer, our recommendation is to include Superba C into your routine, a powerful antioxidant serum with a high protection factor, which, in addition to 10% vitamin C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate), also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid for a potent antioxidant effect. In the evening routine you can use ingredients that don’t make the skin more sensitive to the sun, but successfully even out skin tone, such as bakuchiol from Architect serum emulsion which is a great alternative to acids and retidnoids in summer, but also suitable for more sensitive skin that generally doesn’t tolerate such strong active ingredients.
Fall / winter routine suggestion:
In the evening: Lumion + hydration
In the fall, you can start with the introduction of Lumion, a night chemical exfoliant that contains an effective complex of 5% AHA (glycolic + lactic acid) and 1.58% PHA acid (gluconolactone). Lumion exfoliates dead surface cells, including hyperpigmentation, refines skin tone and also restores freshness and radiance.
It is important to remember that all care is in vain if you do not protect your skin from the sun during the day and you are exposed to its harmful effects.
Arm yourself with patience because treating hyperpigmentation is a long process and includes not only fading them, but also preventing new and darkening existing brown spots.