Aging of the skin is a result of many different factors that can be broken into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic or uncontrollable aging is chronological and genetic. Facial wrinkling, expression lines and drier, more sensitive skin may be a result of intrinsic aging.
The extrinsic or more controllable factors of aging refer to exposure to the sun and/or pollutants which cause a breakdown of the skin’s structure, leading to discoloration, wrinkles, skin growths and even cancer.
Many skin scientists believe the extrinsic factors are to blame for 90% of the visible signs of aging. When attempting to correct signs of aging, it is important to use products that not only treat, but also prevent future damage from occurring.
Hyperpigmentation is very common in Asian skin
An uneven skin tone, or hyperpigmentation, is the darkening of an area of skin. It is the result of an over production of melanin.
Melanin is what gives skin and hair its color, helps protect skin against damaging UV light and absorbs heat from the sun.
However, an overproduction of melanin stimulated by excessive sun exposure, hormones fluctuation due to pregnancy or menopause, or skin injuries such as acne scarring, leads to hyperpigmentation and a mottled, uneven skin tone.
1) Sun exposure: When skin is repeatedly exposed to UV light, sun damage occurs. Brown spots appear as a result of too much melanin being produced to help protect skin from UV light.
2) Hormones: Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by increased hormone stimulation. It is most commonly experienced by women who are pregnant (which is why it’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”) or taking contraceptives, but can also be a reaction to cosmetics or medications.
3) Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: This is a darkening of skin that’s the result of scarring, which can be caused by acne lesions or skin injury.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation
Just as any brightening regimen must be approached with diligence to experience results, daily use of sun protection is just as imperative.
Even the strictest of brightening regimens can be counteracted by minimal exposure to UV light. When a hyperpigmented area is exposed to UV light, more melanin production is triggered on a cellular level, causing further darkening. Ironically, this production of melanin is just your skin trying to protect itself from damaging UV light.
Daily application of SPF will help shield skin from UV light to control melanin production on a cellular level. It can even help lessen the appearance of hyperpigmentation triggered by hormone fluctuations (such as melasma) or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (scarring).
Certain skin types can also be more susceptible to hyperpigmentation. It is important to consult with a skin care professional prior to using products to even skin discoloration as high percentages of strong ingredients can cause further irritation and lead to more discoloration.
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