The hyperpigmentation that is perched on it, however, NO. We are not friends. We
are enemies, and it is my chief focus in terms of corrective skin care. I wish
it a grisly death many times over.
Hyperpigmentation, also known as sun spots,
age spots, dark spots, brown marks and `the mask of pregnancy`, is so common
among Australian women that my statistic calculator broke when I asked it for
some numbers. We all have it, and while all skin tones suffer from
pigmentation, those with darker Asian, Mediterranean and African skin tones are
particularly prone. Especially if they have a lot of sun exposure.
IT`S REAL EASY TO GET.
Just ask any doll who`s spent a week on a beachy holiday only to
return with brown smatterings across their nose, upper cheeks, upper lip and
forehead and they will tell you just how easy.
hyperpigmentation… Look familiar?
This is because hyperpigmentation is (most often) caused by UV
exposure. Ysee, UV stimulates the pigment cells (melanocytes) in our
epidermis to start making melanin. This is what causes suntans (sooo `80s)
but also hyperpigmentation. Another terrific reason to not to hang out in the
Sadly, most of the hyperpigmentation you`ve got now, you
actually probably actually earned 20 years ago. (It takes an average of 10
years for sun damage to translate into brown spots.) It`s just being encouraged
and worsened by current UV exposure. Cute!
Heat: Environmental heat can trigger your
hyperpigmentation. This is so incredibly shit because even if you are FBI
vigilant about your skin care and physical sun protection and hat and sunnies,
you can still cop discolouration, because thermal heat encourages those naughty
melanocytes to produce melanin.
Hormones: Hormonal hyperpigmentation
looks the same as UV hyperpigmentation, but has a bitchier attitude and eats more
Tim Tams. It`s generally caused by the pill or pregnancy and is further
exacerbated by that big hot witch in the sky.
Injury: Know how when you pick at a
pimple, you get that red-browny scar that won`t piss off, no matter how much
Vitamin E oil you use on it? That`s because it`s not a
scar, it`s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which comes about after trauma
or injury to the skin. It can also happen after needles, injections, burns or
any kind of inflammation.
WHY SHOULD I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT
Because, to be blunt, it`s making you look older than you
actually are. You see, hyperpigmentation creates uneven skin tone, which I
believe is far more ageing than lines and wrinkles.
I`m not alone in my thinking of this. In the last five years or
so, you would have seen a whole bunch of new products pop up that are skin
discolouration targeted. They have names like `Dark Spot Corrector` or `whitening`
or `brightening` and work to fade that excess melanin to the point where your
skin is brighter and in the case of Caucasian and Asian markets, whiter. They
are not bleaching products. Most of the time they simply exfoliate
the skin to remove the layer of skin cells with the brown spots and therefore
give an overall more luminous complexion, and/or they incorporate ingredients
and technology to specifically target the site of the melanin production, and
put up some stop signs.
If you have hyperpigmentation, you should be using these products.
Trust me on this one. If you focus on
removing (or seriously fading) those dark spots, and making your skin look as
bright and luminous as possible, you won`t care about any lines and wrinkles
you have. I promise! I promise. Such is the power of even skin tone. Think
about women in countries that see very little sun: they may have many wrinkles,
many creases, but since their skin tone is free of sun spots, they still
maintain a look of youth and glow. Compare this to a woman who has spent a lot
of her life in the sun, and has a face covered in dark splodges: the skin looks
uneven, weathered, aged, uncared for.
woman has had a series of intense laser treatments for her discolouration. (I
think it was worth it.)
See how even though she has the
same lines and creases in both pictures, she looks far younger in the right?
A study in 2010 brought this to light using photos of
middle-aged women that were Photoshopped into two sets: one version with
extremely uneven skin tone (“hyperpigmentation”), and one version with an
abundance of deep wrinkles. Both sets of pictures were showed to a group of
people who had to rate the attractiveness and youthfulness of the women`s
faces. Almost unanimously the women with uneven skin tone were voted less
attractive (reeeowr!) and much older than their wrinkled compatriots. Clearly
we shouldn`t be judging any woman on her ageing
process, digitally manipulated or otherwise, any dingus knows that, but what we can take away from this is that our brown
spots age us more than our wrinkles.