How to Prevent Pigmentation This Summer
Hyperpigmentation is an incredibly common skin complaint for Australian women, thanks to our climate and outdoorsy lifestyle. While a number of factors can trigger an overproduction of pigment – including hormonal changes, skin trauma and intrinsic ageing – UV exposure is inarguably the most common cause of patchy, uneven skin and sun spots. Daily sun protection is, therefore, always your best defence against pigmentation, particularly during the long summer.
To discover how sun-induced pigmentation is formed, read on. You’ll soon understand why sunscreen is not negotiable in any anti-pigmentation action plan.
What is Pigmentation?
Occurring when the body produces an excess of the skin pigment known as melanin, hyperpigmentation (often referred to simply as pigmentation) is a problem for over 200 million1 women worldwide. Characterised by unevenly dispersed colour on the skin’s surface with darkened spots or patches, it can be as ageing to the appearance as fine lines and loss of elasticity.
In both men and women, UV exposure is the leading cause of solar lentigos, or sun spots. Flat, brown and freckle-like, these spots occur as cells called melanocytes create an excess of melanin to help shield against DNA damage caused by UV radiation.
Sun spot free? That doesn’t mean damage hasn’t occurred, as it can take decades for past UV damage to come to the surface. Also known as age spots, sun spots are more common over the age of 40, and tend to darken during the summer months with increased UV exposure.
Sunscreen: Your Not-So-Secret Weapon
While there are products and professional treatments available for pigmentation management, prevention is more effective (and infinitely easier) than treatment. To prevent sun spots from forming or darkening, seek shade, wear protective clothing and a broad-brimmed hat, and be vigilant with applying and reapplying sunscreen.
The ultimate anti-ageing product, a high-level, broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential to prevent not just sun spots, but all signs of premature ageing caused by UV exposure. A broad-spectrum sunscreen keeps the skin protected by shielding against both UVA and UVB rays. While UVB rays are known to be responsible for burning, UVA rays – which account for up to 95% of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface2 – have a longer wavelength, and are the primary cause of photo-ageing. In addition to the formation of sun spots, they contribute to collagen breakdown and premature lines and wrinkles.
Preventing Pigmentation with La Roche-Posay
Formulated for sensitive skin prone to sun intolerance, the La Roche-Posay Anthelios sun protection range equips sensitive skin with the tools to minimise pigmentation. Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Ultra Light has a light, non-greasy texture that’s ideal for everyday wear for normal-to-combination skin. Non-comedogenic, fragrance- and paraben-free, it offers the highest* level of protection from UVA and UVB rays to help prevent long term cell damage and keep sun-induced hyperpigmentation at bay. For extra radiance, try Ultra Light Tinted.
Oily and acne-prone sensitive skins will enjoy the mattifying benefits of Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch SPF 50+. This lightweight, non-greasy daily sunscreen, also available in a tinted version, is formulated with Airlicium™ – an anti-sweat molecule that can absorb up to 150 times its volume in sebum, sweat and oil. Leaving the skin matte, comfortable and protected.
Dry, sensitive skin types can nourish and protect their skin with Anthelios Ultra Cream SPF 50+. Moisturising yet light, Ultra Cream delivers non-greasy, broad-spectrum protection without leaving white marks. Glycerin hydrates the skin, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water soothes, and antioxidant Baicalin protects against free radical damage. With universal micro pigments that adapt to all skin tones, Anthelios Ultra BB Cream SPF 50+ is a great everyday option for drier skins.
For more information on the La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen range for sensitive skin, visit the website. Or click here to read about pigmentation management.
1 TNS Sofres – Top 10 Studies
*Tested to AS/NZS 2604:2012, “very high”