marie claire fixes

MANY SOUTH AFRICANS SUF­FER FROM SKIN HY­PER­PIG­MEN­TA­TION, A CON­DI­TION THAT AF­FECTS ALL SKIN TYPES BUT IS MOST PREVA­LENT IN BLACK PA­TIENTS. WE CHAT­TED TO DER­MA­TOL­O­GIST DR NCOZA DLOVA TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RE­SPON­SI­BLE WAYS TO TREAT SKIN PIG­MEN­TA­TION

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BEAUTY - WORDS MATHAHLE STOFILE

HY­PER­PIG­MEN­TA­TION

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Ncoza Dlova, there are sev­eral causes of skin hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion. Melasma, a com­mon, patchy dis­col­oration of the skin usu­ally seen in preg­nant women, is one of the big­ger cul­prits. Acne, eczema, drug re­ac­tions and con­tact der­mati­tis are other known fac­tors. Life­style choices also play a role: ex­po­sure to UV rays be­tween 11am and 3pm, sun tan­ning and in­cor­rect use of cos­metic prod­ucts, which can ir­ri­tate the skin. ‘In a re­cent study we con­ducted, look­ing at 900 African and In­dian women in Dur­ban, we found that 67 per cent of pa­tients who used skin light­en­ers had gen­uine prob­lems with pig­men­ta­tion. More than 30 per cent had skin dam­age purely as a re­sult of us­ing skin light­en­ers.’

‘If you are white, pale skin means healthy skin [so] us­ing tan­ning booths and sun tan­ning is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous for your skin. If you are black,you have the best skin to pro­tect you against dan­ger­ous UV rays, so do not try and change your skin colour,’ says Dr Dlova. ‘Do not use prod­ucts that are rec­om­mended by your friends, fam­ily or even a phar­ma­cist, as these may not be the cor­rect prod­ucts for your skin prob­lem.’ She rec­om­mends vis­it­ing a qual­i­fied der­ma­tol­o­gist in or­der to get the cor­rect di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment.

Be­sides melasma, which can be ge­netic, other con­di­tions that can lead to this in­clude post-in­flam­ma­tory hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion (PIH), the most com­mon skin con­di­tion be­fore acne, eczema, con­tact der­mati­tis, drug re­ac­tions and lichen planus (a skin con­di­tion that causes itch­i­ness and pig­men­ta­tion on sun-ex­posed ar­eas). Black women and men are more prone to melasma and PIH be­cause they have more ac­tive melanocytes than those with light skin and so pro­duce more melanin.This is a pig­ment pro­duced by cells called melanocytes found on the lower lay­ers of the skin that pro­tects us against the dan­gers of UV rays.

There has been much de­bate on whether top­i­cal prod­ucts alone can make any dif­fer­ence in treat­ing skin pig­men­ta­tion. Dr Dlova ex­plains: ‘Treat­ment would de­pend on the ex­tent and depth of the pig­men­ta­tion. Some­times der­ma­tol­o­gists are able to re­duce the pig­men­ta­tion but are un­able to clear it com­pletely. Some­times, if the pig­men­ta­tion is due to in­flam­ma­tion of the skin, it is just a mat­ter of time be­fore it clears on its own.’

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2 1 EUCERIN EVEN BRIGHTER DAY CREAM SPF 30,50ML, R250; EUCERIN EVEN BRIGHTER NIGHT CREAM, 50ML, R250. 2 CLAR­INS BRIGHT PLUS HP IN­TEN­SIVE BRIGHT­EN­ING SMOOTH­ING SERUM, 30ML, R575; CLAR­INS BRIGHT PLUS HP BRIGHT­EN­ING RE­PAIR­ING NIGHT CREAM 50ML, R570. 3 REVLON AGE DE­FY­ING TAR­GETED DARK SPOT CON­CEALER IN MEDIUM BEIGE, 7.4ML, R138. Eucerin’s Even Brighter range di­min­ishes and con­trols skin dis­col­oration while boost­ing its nat­u­ral ra­di­ance. Some prod­ucts need a doc­tor’s pre­scrip­tion while oth­ers may be bought over the counter. Prod­ucts with hy­dro­quinone may only be used un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a der­ma­tol­o­gist.

TIP: Use a broad-spec­trum sun­screen that pro­tects against both UVB and UVA and avoid the sun be­tween 11am and 3pm.

NOTE: Skin cancer may re­sult af­ter pro­longed use of skin light­en­ers. Un­su­per­vised use of skin light­en­ers is very dan­ger­ous and may re­sult in ir­re­versible dam­age to the skin.

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