Getting rid of dark spots and pigmentation

Skin pigmentation

Pigmentation issues affect more than 40% of women in the UK, and over 90% have some form of skin blemish issue. Skin blemishes can be caused by everything from sun exposure and skin ageing to genetics and even hormonal imbalances. In fact, even some skincare products that you use can cause some blemishes so its always important to test products on a small area to test the effects.


What exactly is skin pigmentation?

Freckles, sun spots and dark patches, also known as skin pigmentation issues, are a major concern for women in the UK (and men of course!). From a dermatologist’s point of view, wrinkles and sagging make up the most pressing issues, with pigmentation issues a close third. But you may be asking yourself what or how does skin pigmentation occur. Well, within the deeper layers of the skin are cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is what causes skin to have a specific colour, and the more melanin you have in your skin, the darker your skin appears to be. Basically skin pigmentation occurs when the melanin cells which colour your skin become damaged.

So although pigmentation is the term used to describe general discolouring of the skin, it really should be considered as damaged melanin cells within the cells and not a superficial issue, but even though the damage is occuring at a cell level, there is still hope in the form of skin pigmentation repair product.s. In fact, there are numerous skin pigmentation repair products in the UK that are now helping people repair the damaged skin cells and reduce these skin pigmentation issues for good! But before you go and buy any form of skin pigmentation repair product, you need to understand the underlying cause of the pigmentation.


Causes of skin pigmentation

Treating pigmentation can be very difficult as it is caused by two conditions. The first cause is from the sun. Radiation in sunlight stimulates melanocytes in the skin, causing the skin to brown. The second cause of pigmentation is hormonal. In hormonal-caused pigmentation, oestrogen and glucocorticoid receptors in your skin react to stress and other hormonal changes by triggering production of melanin.


Treatments for skin pigmentation

Building up and maintaining a strong immune function will help support the skin and may reduce the chances of hormonal pigmentation. Some nutrients, such as vitamin B3, as well as paper mulberry, cherry bark extract, licorice and vitamin A, are very good in naturally treating pigmentation at the skin surface. However, treating pigmentation correctly and effectively takes a little time as you need to work with the renewal cycles of the skin. However, if you also ensure that you treat the cause of hormonal pigmentation, the results will be much better. To prevent sun-damaged pigmentation, make sure you wear sunscreen every day.

There are some clinical procedures as well as skin repair products that are also suitable for the treatment of certain types of skin pigmentation issues:

  • Laser treatment for pigmentation

Many people do decide to consider laser treatment for pigmentation, but if you go down this path, make sure you’re assessed thoroughly beforehand. Get some testimonials from past clients and make sure you are comfortable with the therapist. Laser treatments are not suitable and/or effective for all skin types, and it is imperative that your therapist check your medical history to ensure you are not taking any medications that may cause photosensitivity.

  • Intensed Pulse Light (IPL) treatment for pigmentation

IPL uses light to deliver energy to melanin (the dark pigment in your hair and skin) and haemoglobin (red colour in your vessels) to treat dark hair, pigmentation and capillaries. The light converts to heat, which destroys the targeted cells without damaging the surrounding skin. IPL is also very effective in treating sun damage, broken capillaries, pigmentation and uneven skin tone. IPL is ideal for people with freckled and sun-damaged skin as the treatment will rejuvenate the skin and lift any pigment. IPL treatments for pigmentation and skin rejuvenation should normally only require approximately three to six sessions every four weeks.

  • Microdermabrasion treatment for pigmentation

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical process that removes outer skin cells and can give a smoother and fresher appearance to the skin. Combining this microdermabrasion treatment with a professional peel will result in an even greater result.

  • Beauty creams and serums for pigmentation

Some of the latest beauty creams and serums on the market include the latest researched technology in treating a wide variety of pigmentation whilst also enhancing overall skin lightening and brightening. These products are researched and proven to treat serious skin concerns including skin pigmentation and other skin discolouration, and are often a much cheaper alternative for consumers looking for an alternative to surgery or clinical treatments.

  • Mask the pigmentation

Often pigmentation can result in the skin looking quite dull and flat and you might not have the need to go and clinically treat it. Rather, invest in a good illuminator, as this will help to promote light reflection and give the appearance of glowing youthful skin. Use a correctional concealer to counteract any visible spots or markings. The trick to effective concealment is to use a foundation brush and to make sure you pat your foundation on over the top of your concealer.


While treatments for pigmentation and skin discolouration are available all year round, winter is the ideal time because the treatments require people to avoid sunlight as much as possible in the days following.


Pigmentation and Skin Issues – FAQ

[sections] [section title=”How can I reduce pigmentation along my cheekbones?”] To reduce the pigmentation on your cheekbones, you need to find out what has caused it in the first place. It may be sun damage, pregnancy, trauma to your skin’s melanocytes, poor nutrition or oxygenation causing the problem. To start improving your skin’s health, check your diet and remove foods that reduce your nutrient uptake such as processed foods, alcohol, sugary drinks and dairy.


[section title=”What exactly is Chloasma?”] Hormones can sometimes be to blame for pigmentation and other breakouts, and this is especially prevalent in pregnant women. In fact, pregnant women can develop chloasma — a brown, blotchy discolouration often appearing on the cheeks and temples. And although the contraceptive pill is sometimes thought to be at fault, the problem is more than likely sun exposure.


[section title=”What exactly is Melasma?”]

Hormonal pigmentation, or melasma, is caused by increased melanin levels and is one of the most difficult types of pigmentation to remove.

[/section] [section title=”I have a yellow pigmentation of the skin – what can this be caused by?”] If you eat an excessive amount of carrots, it can cause carotenemia, a condition characterised by yellow pigmentation of the skin and increased beta-carotene levels in the blood. While carrots are the usual cause of carotenemia, many other carotene-rich foods, such as squash, and sweet potatoes, can cause the benign condition, which can often be confused with jaundice.


[section title=”What natural treatments can I try to fade pigment spots?”] Apply papaya topically to the skin. It acts as a natural exfoliant and can help fade pigment spots naturally.






[info]As much as we relish the sun, it’s also the prime cause of premature ageing. Sun damage resulting in pigmentation, uneven skin tone and discolouration can add years on to how old you look. So take care when exposing your skin to the sun and always wear a sunscreen[/info]



Hi, I'm Claire, the Editor-in-Chief at Refresh Your Health online magazine - the largest UK based online magazine dedicated to healthy living, skincare and beauty.