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How Do You Reduce Pigmentation Caused By Sun Damage?

The ESK blog

How Do You Reduce Pigmentation Caused By Sun Damage?

22 July 2021

Why does pigmentation happen?

Melanin, your skin’s brown pigment protects your skin from UV damage. It is made by the specialised pigment-producing cells called melanocytes and is then transferred to the surrounding skin cells.
As we get older, this process can go pear shaped. Blame the sun. Studies have shown that without UV rays, the number of melanocytes (pigment producing cells) actually decreases by 10-20% per decade. Ditto smoking and pollution which both contribute to wrinkling have no effect on pigmentation. On the other hand, skin exposed to UV radiation causes inflammation to the skin (even at low levels) which stimulates the melanocytes to increase in number and clump together. Plus these sun-exposed melanocytes seem to overproduce melanin. Mottled hyperpigmentation, ephelides (freckles), solar lentigines (sun spots/ age spots)  and pigmented seborrheic keratoses (AKA senile warts!!) are the main pigmentation problems you get as you get older. 

How can I get rid of them?

A word of warning. Getting rid of pigmentation is never quick and most dermatologists agree that the best results come from using multiple depigmenting agents together. But left untreated, pigmentation caused by the sun will most likely persist indefinitely and do not go away on their own.  ESK’s Pigmentation Kit, uses ingredients with the strongest evidence for managing pigmentation. 

  • Tyrosinase Inhibitors: Right now, the most effective depigmentation agents available are tyrosinase inhibitors. Tyrosinase is an essential enzyme for the formation of melanin by the melanocytes. The most potent tyrosinase inhibitor available is 4-n-butyl-resorcinol. This is the key ingredient in ESK’s Enlighten

Enlighten

Enlighten

A gentle yet effective tyrosinase inhibitor to fade pigmentation and age spots.

  • Lighten & brighten skin appearance
  • Even out skin tone 
  • Increase skin elasticity 

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide): It inhibits the transfer of melanin from melanocytes to surrounding skin cells (in ESK’s Enlighten, Ultimate A and Ultimate A+).  ***
  • Vitamin A: Really good evidence exists for Vitamin A for pigmentation. It tends to increase cell turnover, and indirectly inhibit tyrosinase. Our Ultimate A and Ultimate A+ is formulated with the most effective and least irritating form of Vitamin A, Retinal. ***

Ultimate A

Ultimate A

Vitamins A and B. High strength. Effortlessly improves skin texture and tone for skin that is soft smooth and supple. Also effective in managing acne. 

  • Rebuild collagen
  • Increase skin elasticity
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation
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Ultimate A+

Ultimate A+

A Vitamin A (Retinal – 0.1%), B3 (Niacinamide – 4%) and AHA (Glycolic Acid – 2%) based night cream. Vitamin A is the ingredient with the strongest anti-ageing evidence and Retinal is the most effective and least irritating form of Vitamin A. 

  • Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid seems to inhibit melanin production as well as preventing inflammation in the skin which limits the inflammatory pathway in overproduction of pigment. Use ESK’s Reverse C Serum (or C Serum Lite for oily skin) to have this powerful antioxidant help with your pigmentation. 
  • Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol): Anti-inflammatory properties as well as indirectly inhibiting tyrosinase (also in Reverse C Serum in addition to Vitamin C). ***

Reverse C Serum

Reverse C Serum

A powerful anti-oxidant serum that hydrates, repairs the visible signs of ageing and protects the skin against further damage.

  • Repair sun-damage
  • Repair & prevent the appearance of ageing
  • Smooth any skin roughness

C Serum Lite

C Serum Lite

Vitamin C in its most potent form to repair the visible signs of ageing, and to protect the skin against further sun damage.

  • Brighten the skin's appearance
  • Reduce fine lines, wrinkles & pigmentation
  • Smooth skin roughness

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): They are helpful in treating pigmentation by increasing cell turnover and studies show they inhibit tyrosinase. This is the key ingredient in our Smooth Serum, getting rid of pigmentation through increasing skin cell turnover. ***

Smooth Serum

Smooth Serum

An Alpha Hydroxy Acid exfoliating serum for daily night use.

  • Smoother skin
  • Evens out skin texture
  • Promotes skin cell turnover


  • Hydroquinone: Best evidence sits around 3-4%. Downsides – tends to be slow and can cause hypersensitivity. Ochronosis (an uncommon side effect) turns skin a bluey-grey colour. Banned in many jurisdictions around the world due to safety concerns. 
  • Ablative therapies (e.g. chemical peels, liquid nitrogen- AKA cryotherapy, laser) Long term data is a bit thin but evidence seems to suggest pigmentation tend to come back

Don’t forget that it is NEVER TOO LATE to start to prevent more pigmentation from happening. A day cream offering broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays should be an essential part of everyday skin care. 

 

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15773537

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/479104

https://jcs.biologists.org/content/121/24/3995

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769151/ ***

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0115/p109.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163216/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283838/