While there are many chronic skin issues that South African women struggle with, the one that seems to affect many of us is pigmentation. And, these brown patches that give skin an uneven look need lifelong management. It’s what’s known as a dynamic or active condition. The medical aesthetic team at Skin Renewal knows treating pigmentation needs to be kept on course, so it’s not a one step forward two steps back scenario. Feeling like you’re always falling behind? Here’s what not to do when you’re reaching for complexion perfection.
ONE: Stop Using Protection
All South African women need to protect their skins from the sun. That goes for black women, too and those with darker skin tones. While these skin types naturally have more melanin (pigment) in their complexions, it doesn’t translate to zero sunburn or the risk of skin cancers. And in the fight against pigmentation, UVA and UVB rays are a stimulant to produce more. Even simply driving your car is a trigger as these skin damagers can penetrate through window glass. That means, even during the winter months sun protection is vital. A broad-spectrum SPF (30 to 50 is recommended), and other layers of sun safety, like a hat that shields your face and neck properly from exposure, is a wise move.
TWO: Ignore Your Hormones
The inconvenient truth is that pigmentation – and especially in the case of melasma (hormonal pigmentation) – is that it’s a skin condition that mainly women are dealing with. And in particular, those with darker skin types. A women’s hormonal balance is everything in this issue; from birth control to pregnancy, the skin is known to mirror what’s happening with your oestrogen levels. This is where the highly knowledgeable medical aesthetic team at Skin Renewal can advise and treat. Fill them on your journey: even stopping oral contraceptives rarely means a complexion free of melasma. And if you have had a baby, after-pregnancy melasma (chloasma) may lessen or clear but can hang around on the skin indefinitely. Treatment options should be strategically planned with your hormonal health kept soundly in check.
THREE: Head for the Heat
We live in a perpetually sunny country, and even in Winter, it’s hard not to shun beach days. Warmth seekers, South Africans need to be aware of the risks involved when intense heat hits the skin. Even just a hot enclosed environment (steam shower anyone?) in your own home could mean inflammation that in turn stimulates melanin production. And that can lead to patches of pigmentation, and yes, you guessed it, uneven skin tone. So think about that next time you’re on the beach – even shaded by an umbrella. If you’re feeling hot and you know your skin is at risk, try to stay out of that enclosed heated space during the time the temperature is at its highest.
Ultimately pigmentation needs activism to be treated and maintained so that skin looks its best. The result of staying on top of your chronic skin health? Looking good means feeling better. And that’s a beautiful thing.