Sun spots, age spots, dermal pigmentation, post inflammatory pigmentation, freckles all have one thing in common. They all revolve around melanin – the pigment that gives our skin its colour. People with fairer skin have less pigment in their skin than people with darker complexions.

Pigment or melanin is produced from cells in our skin called Melanocytes. When our melanocyte cells produce pigment this process is called Melanogenesis – the making of pigment. Melanin is a wonderful thing, it protects our skin from DNA damage from the sun. This explains why people with fairer skin will burn quicker than those with more olive complexions. I like to think of melanin as an umbrella that always hovers over our skin protecting it from the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and free radical activity along with blocking UV damage to our skin cells.

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Sun Spots also have another name: solar lentigines. Sun Spots are caused from UV exposure and will appear on areas where the face or body is exposed often to the sun such as the sides of the face and décolletage. The Melanocyte cell in this case is producing more melanin in a cluster. You do not have more pigment cells or melanocyte cells you are simply producing an excess amount of melanin.

Freckles are also cluster of pigment that along with sun spots can darken with UV exposure. Generally freckles will appear on fair and lighter skins. Freckles are harmless, natural, genetic and beautiful in my opinion. I love a fair skin that is well looked after with beautiful natural freckles – stunning! Freckles reside in the upper layers of the skin the epidermis.

Dermal pigmentation and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or (PIH) can come from both the epidermis or the dermal layer of the skin. Most other pigment will reside in the top layers of the skin, making these types of pigment tricky to treat as most skin brighteners cannot reach the dermal layer of the skin. If you are using a skin brightener and are sun conscious (not tanning, wearing spf daily) then you will require laser treatments to remove the dermal pigmentation.

However over the years there is a topical combination that has worked well with my clients over the years that one could try before heading down the laser path. If this does not remove all pigement then you can move to laser therapy.

• Use Vitamin C and Vitamin B3 – niacinamide in the AM to protect against further UV damage and to remove free radical activity in the skin, in the right doses these are also skin brighteners. You can use these whilst pregnant or lactating. Our Skin Matrix IQ Serum is the highest dosage available today of Vitamin B3 and C together, otherwise you can grab the Aspect Extreme C and Extreme B

• Use Vitamin A in the form of Retinol or Retinaldehyde of a PM to encourage cellular turnover, so that your brightening serum can penetrate further in to the skin. Remember we need to get the brightening serum as far in as possible. Best Vitamin A Serums are Osmosis Renew, Skin Matrix Rebuild, SkinMedica retinol serums or Cosmedix Refine

• Make sure you exfoliate the skin, there is no good stimulating cell turnover and then not removing the dead cell build up on the surface – remember we need effective entry for our brightening serum. My choice is the Skin Matrix AHA Exfoliator or the ASAP Exfoliator

• Wear SPF daily – NOT chemical sunscreen as this style attracts UV rays then neutralizes the rays. We do not want to attract UV, we want to reflect. The active spf ingredient should be only Zinc Oxide. Be aware though that this will come off the skin when swimming or heavy exercise. My choice is the Osmosis Protect. When swimming go for the Invisible Zinc.
• Use a Brightening serum such as the Osmosis Enlighten or the SkinMatrix EnlightenMe.
Once you have successfully brightened your skin, if you go back out sun baking, your melanin will cluster again. If you had dermal pigmentation whilst pregnant, wait a few months after bub is born as this pigment can go away on its own with no intervention.

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