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How to Prevent & Treat Pigmentation

Read on for your go-to guide for every type of pigment problem. From sun spots, to post-acne red marks and scarring, and the ‘mask of pregnancy’, hyperpigmentation – a condition where certain areas of the skin exhibit an excess of pigment – is a common complaint.

How to Prevent & Treat Pigmentation

From sun spots, to post-acne red marks and scarring, and the ‘mask of pregnancy’, hyperpigmentation – a condition where certain areas of the skin exhibit an excess of pigment – is a common complaint.

Experienced by over 200 million1 women worldwide, UV exposure, intrinsic ageing, inflammation and hormones all play a part in this complex condition. While difficult to treat, there are simple and effective steps you can take to promote an even looking complexion, and help prevent hyperpigmentation from taking hold. Read on for your go-to guide for every type of pigment problem.

Pigmentation Explained

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the body produces an excess of melanin – the pigment that gives skin its colour – and it is unevenly dispersed on the surface of the skin, resulting in darkened spots or patches. This may occur for a number of reasons, outlined below.

Sun Spots

UV exposure is a leading cause of pigmentation in both sexes, resulting in telltale sun spots. Scientifically known as a solar lentigo, these flat, brown spots resemble large freckles and are a sign of sun damage.   Vigilant about sunscreen but still have darkened spots? Think back to your youth, as sun spots may appear decades after the sun exposure occurs. These patches will also darken with increased UV exposure, commonly during the summer months, so daily sun protection is essential.

Age Spots

It’s not only wrinkles that signify ageing – hyperpigmentation is often part of the natural ageing process. From age 30, the sun, skin ageing and genetics can cause disruption to the production and distribution mechanism of melanin, resulting in uneven pigment and age spots.


Hormones are a central part of the pigmentation puzzle, particularly for women. Melasma – typically characterised by blotchy brown patches on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip – often occurs as a result of a combination of UV exposure and hormonal changes brought about by the contraceptive pill, HRT, fertility treatment, or pregnancy. Hence the reason it is often referred to as ‘the mask of pregnancy’.   Melasma is more common in women with darker skin tones, and its hormonal nature makes it the most difficult to treat.

Post-Inflammatory Pigmentation

When inflammation or injury occurs to the skin, it can trigger excess melanin production, resulting in a localised dark mark that remains after the skin has healed. Psoriasis, burns, eczema or injury can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation, but acne is the most common cause.

To avoid unwanted skin discolouration, it’s important to target inflammation while treating the root causes of acne (such as with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo(+)), always maintain good hygiene, and resist the urge to pick at the skin and cause further trauma.

Preventing Pigmentation

Without argument, daily application of a high-level, broad spectrum sunscreen is the most beneficial step you can take to help prevent most forms of pigmentation. With a light, non-greasy texture that’s perfect for everyday wear, La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Ultra Light is specially formulated for sensitive skin prone to sun intolerance. Non-comedogenic, fragrance- and paraben-free, it offers the highest level of protection from UVA and UVB rays to help minimise the occurrence of sun-induced hyperpigmentation.

La Roche-Posay’s Pigmentation Solutions

Depending on the severity, clinical treatments for hyperpigmentation may be recommended, such as laser therapy, peels and skin needling. However, a targeted home-care regime is the crucial first step to visibly reduce pigmentation and help unify and brighten the complexion.

Applied morning or evening, La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum helps to visibly correct dark spots on the face and neckline, and even out the complexion. The light, hydrating fluid unifies the skin with powerful pigmentation-fighting active ingredients. A high concentration of LHA delivers a gentle surface exfoliation to instantly combat dullness, while an anti-dark-spot complex of PhE-Resorcinol + Ginkgo + Ferulic Acid reduces the appearance of dark spots and pigment irregularities.  

Upon application2, 76% of women have a fresher skin tone, and with two weeks’ use2 82% find their complexion more radiant, and 80% find their skin more even. With lasting efficacy, Pigmentclar’s anti-dark-spot efficacy is maintained for up to 3 weeks after ceasing use3.

For the ultra-sensitive eye contour, Pigmentclar Eyes targets both brown and blue circles, and general dullness. Formulated with concentrated PhE-Resorcinol + Caffeine, Pigmentclar Eyes visibly reduces the appearance of blue circles caused by poor circulation, and brown circles caused by melanin overproduction. With a cooling applicator and light-reflecting pigments, eyes look instantly refreshed and more vibrant.  

For more information on La Roche-Posay’s pigmentation solutions, visit the website.

1 TNS Sofres – Top 10 Studies
2 Cosmeto-clinical studies on 51 subjects
3 Cosmeto-clinical study on 30 subjects

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