It has been a lovely few week’s although the weather did a U turn and we are back to having good old British weather rain. Remember from last week’s blog to still wear your SPF every day.

This week we are going to be starting a skin condition blog and looking deeper into the different skin concerns we see and what we can do to combat them or minimise them.

As we are now into summer we are starting with pigmentation. Many people know what pigmentation looks like but may not know what can be done to help reduce it.

What is Pigmentation?

Your body contains a pigment called melanin, which determines the colour of your skin, hair and eyes. People with darker skin types tend to have more melanin in their skin cells than those with lighter skin, but imbalances and disorders of the skin can lead to inconsistent colouration, patterning and ‘blotches’.

When skin cells are healthy, your skin will appear normal and even. However, when skin cells become damaged or unhealthy, extra melanin is produced to help protect your skin. These are produced by a cell called melanocytes.

Types of Pigmentation

There are different types of pigmentation, ones we can treat and others where we are unable to treat if the melanin has died or snapped. Let’s take a look at the different types.

  • Hyperpigmentation- very common and relatable. This is where you have darker colouring in an area. This is where the more colour pigment is produced because the cell thinks it needs more protection.
  • Solar Lentigines- These are dark spots are also referred to as age spots or sun spots.
  • Melasma & Chloasma – Melasma and Chloasma is the form of irregular pigmented patches and is commonly found on the sun-exposed face in the period during or after pregnancy or in women who are on the contraceptive pill. It is thought to be caused by increasing levels of both oestrogen and progesterone, which stimulate melanocyte cell resulting in increased production melanin. If this has occurred during pregnancy it can at times go away by itself after having a baby. Melasma is aggravated by the sun, so wearing SPF is very important.
  • Post-Inflammatory Pigmentation – This pigmentation is caused when the skin has been damaged or undergone some form of trauma. It is commonly found in people have had acne but can also be caused by sunburn, surgery.
  • Freckles- Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the face and body. Freckles are an inherited characteristic and are most common on fair skinned people. Millions of people around the world have freckles and are less likely to seek cosmetic treatment for them than those who have other forms of pigmentation as they often regarded as ‘a mark of beauty’. However people with freckles can be susceptible to other forms of skin pigmentation, such as spots, when exposed to the sun and the prevalence of freckles also increases with sun exposure.
What causes Pigmentation?

The sun is by far the most common cause of hyperpigmentation. When ultraviolet rays enter the skin, the body responds by producing more melanin to protect it from damage. People with darker shades of skin are most prone to hyperpigmentation resulting from sun exposure, which can damage skin both on the surface and at a cellular level. Spending time in the sun over the years leads to accumulative tanning. This will not show straight away at a young age but as the years go by you will start to notice pigmentation as your melanocyte cell will keep thinking it needs to protect the skin and lead to darker pigments. A massive 80% of pigmentation is defined by the time you reach 18. You will generally will not see it at this age but if you do not protect your skin, in 20-30+ years you will notice pigmentation occurring. Remember a tan is a scar and over stimulating the melanocyte cell by being exposed to UV rays will make the cell work hard constantly that one day it will just stop as it is overworked. A bit like us as humans, we can work to full capacity but one day we will burn out and not be able to work the same.

Certain types of medication can lead to pigmentation as it makes the skin photosensitive. This means that when skin is exposed to the sun without and SPF protection the skin will get damaged by the UV rays. Some medications also stimulate the melanin stimulating hormone. What this does is it stimulates melanin production which gives us our colouring and then over produces it. Then bingo we have our pigmentation.

Pregnancy can also cause pigmentation. This is due to hormone levels changing during pregnancy. This triggers the melanin stimulating hormone leading to pigmentation. This can go away after having a baby however it is really important to protect your skin with SPF to avoid hyperpigmentation as this type of pigmentation will not go away.

Lastly stress can also cause pigmentation. Stress has an impact on our cortisol level and when these are heightened it can stimulate the melanin stimulating hormone. This can lead to inflammation of the skin. One common type you will notice is dark circles around the eyes.

What can we do?

The most important thing we can do is protect our skin from day 1. Using a good broad spectrum SPF will protect our skin from UV rays. This will also protect us from Blue Light rays which are emitted from our electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones. Protecting our skin is much easier to do then treating pigmentation. This is as when we have pigmentation the cell is damaged. You cannot really get rid of pigmentation but you can treat it and minimise the colour, control the pigmentation and protect your skin that it does not get worse. Skin supplements from Advanced Nutrition Programme also help to reduce pigmentation. Take a look below at a result from IIAA


Pigmentation is quite a complex skin concern and I always recommend having a consultation to discuss your home care and treatment options. To find out about treatment and home care options book a free consultations in the salon.

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Ana Harmony

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