Marie Claire Australia
THINGS TO KNOW
Studies have shown that clarity can make you appear younger, despite other issues such as fine lines or wrinkles. Experts agree it’s easier to prevent pigmentation than tackle it once it’s an issue. Having said that, there are products that can do both – that is, fade the spots that are already there and get to skin-cell receptors to shut down pigment production. Clever. Usually dosed with ingredients such as vitamin C and niacinamide, they will help clarify and unify skin with regular use.
“Every time we put cells through stress of some description, [we make] little DNA changes at a cellular level in the skin,” says Rodrigues. These accumulate so that by the time we hit our
30s and 40s we can start to see pigmentation rising to the surface of the skin. “It adds up and increases the risk of sun spots, skin cancers, sun damage.” To keep spots at bay, wear a hat and sunglasses as much as possible.
The neck and décolletage are areas where pigmentation often crops up. “Treat your neck and décolletage with the same care and active products as you do your face, to protect and prevent ageing,” says facialist Ingrid Seaburn, who looks after such A-listers as designer Pip Edwards. Seaburn recommends always applying your face actives past your jawline. “Bring your vitamin C and retinol serums right down over the neck and chest area to protect and prevent damage.” And SPF is a must. “Use a zinc-based sunscreen and apply [liberally] at the beach. For daily activities, an SPF applied from the face down to the chest is paramount.”
To brighten dull chest skin, Seaburn recommends her bespoke OsmosisMD Vitamin A Infusion Treatment ($220 for 60 minutes). It involves high-dose vitamin powder massaged into skin, followed by ultrasound to boost penetration. “It’s my go-to treatment for pigmentation,” she says. See ingridseaburn.com.
Before you tackle your pigmentation, it pays to check your spots with a professional. “I would stress that if a freckle or a sunspot looks funny or is not behaving like the others, then you ought to get that seen to,” says Rodrigues.
Non-melanoma skin cancers are far more common than melanomas, says Rodrigues, but if you see a spot that is asymmetrical it’s time to get it looked at. “They have funny borders, they’re sometimes multiple colours. They tend to be six millimetres or more in diameter and tend to elevate, grow or evolve over time,” she explains.
Book in: Bondi Junction Skin Cancer Clinic; skincancer.net.au.
There is a lot of debate about this ingredient, but according to experts it is one of the best for lightening pigmentation. “Hydroquinone is the gold standard,” says Rodrigues. “When we look at scientific research on certain kinds of hyperpigmentation – in particular melanoma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – we are yet to find an ingredient that is more effective in treating skin.”
Rodrigues advises its use at night only. “It’s better absorbed at night and is deactivated by sunlight,” she says. But she also stresses that the ingredient is not a year-round addition to your skincare routine. “It takes eight to 12 weeks to potentially see a response ... Also, pair it with a good sunscreen [to boost effectiveness].” And use it only where you need it, she says.