Peel off the summer
No matter what beauty companies may claim, long-term pigmentation is only properly dealt with in the doctor’s clinic with laser, IPL or prescription creams. That being said, the right home regimen can certainly improve matters – especially on more superficial pigmentation – and is key after treatment. “Pigmentation is an issue I have personally and it’s something I’m always asked about,” says dermatologist Dr Maryam Zamani, who has her own post-summer skin plan. “First, it’s really important to prep your skin; enzyme peels are great to use a couple of times a week for two to three weeks, as are AHA and mandelic peels – again, used as a dedicated short program. Even a light peel, like Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads, makes a difference, as you don’t have to make the skin visibly shed to treat more superficial pigmentation.”
Brighten up and even out
Vitamin C is the ultimate non-prescription ingredient to brighten and even out skin tone. “Vitamin C is wonderful – I use it in a serum and also in a higher concentration in a face mask,” says Dr Zamani. “Also, look for serums and creams that use ingredients like kojic acid, licorice and arbutin, as these inhibit tyrosinase [the enzyme that triggers the production of melanin] in the skin and so help stop pigmentation re-appearing.”
Reach for the retinol
“Remember the whole new skin cycle takes between 12 to 14 weeks, so you need to stick to your pigmentation plan for at least eight weeks, using the light peels regularly and the vitamin C each morning. Then, after a fortnight, add in a retinol at night,” says Dr Zamani. Depending on which retinol you choose, you may need to acclimatize; applying it twice a week and building it up as the skin gets used to it. Just remember that retinol makes skin extra-sensitive to sunlight: “So if you’re getting some winter sun, stop using the peels and retinol a week before you go,” says Zamani.
Know the triggers
Daily SPF is non-negotiable to minimize brown spots – Dr Zamani wears SPF50 in the summer, and advises to “wear sunglasses to prevent sun spots, as using lasers around the eyes is tricky”. She adds: “Heat also triggers pigmentation, so be aware if hiking or working out on vacation, and always avoid saunas and steam rooms.”
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