How to stop pigmentation from plaguing your summer
Summer is awesome – beach days, balmy nights and chilled cocktails are all wins in our book – but the sun damage it brings with it is decidedly not.
But that doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself up in the air con - here’s how you can still enjoy summer to the fullest without having pigmentation plague your skin.
#1 – Actually apply sunscreen
Shocker, we know. Obviously the whole slip-slop-slap is a no-brainer for most of us, but there are still some people who apparently value non-greasy limbs over sun safety. To those people we have a word of advice: do it anyway.
The Aussie climate is ridiculously rough on our skin, and we need to apply (and re-apply) constantly to keep ourselves protected. Opt for a broad spectrum sunscreen to fight UVA (think A for ageing) and UVB (B for burning) rays.
#2 – Keep up the exfoliation
A good exfoliation routine can dramatically decrease the appearance of pigmentation, but you don’t want to go too crazy on your skin during the time it’s facing the most sun exposure.
Instead of reaching for an acid-packed peel, incorporate the ingredients into your routine in a slightly gentler way. A cleanser that combines the powers of alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids is bound to strike the right balance between gentle and effective.
bh loves: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ($62, sephora.com.au)
#3 – Give licorice a go
And not as a snack, no - on your skin! Yep, licorice is a natural skin lightening agent, as its extract contains an active called glabridin, which inhibits yurosinase, the enzyme that actually causes pigmentation.
And there's no need to be concerned about triggering inflammation either; licorice serves as one of the few skin-brightening, tone-evening ingredients that actually soothes sensitivity rather than triggering it.
bh loves: Skin Inc Licorice Serum ($64, sephora.com.au)
#4 – Rely on vitamins
Topically, that is. Vitamin C is the gold standard in glow, and products packed with the stuff can certainly help you on your pigmentation fading journey. Vit-C is highly effective – not only does it increase cell turnover and hinder pigment’s ability to darken, it’s also a powerful antioxidant in itself that defends against UV damage. Show-off.
bh loves: Alpha-H Vitamin C Paste
#5 – Up your fluid intake
Water is always going to be top dog in the fluid department (and upping your h20 intake will only help), but seeing as antioxidants are all pigmentation-fighting powerhouses, there’s no harm in also adding a luminosity-boosting, antioxidant-packed supplement to the equation. Just mix with water and enjoy the glow.
bh loves: The Beauty Chef Antioxidant Inner Beauty Boost ($42, thebeautychef.com)
#6 – Keep a mist on hand
A mist always feels downright delightful (especially after a day of Vitamin D), but by opting for an antioxidant-rich formula, you’ll be hitting skin with a one-two punch of hydration and protection. Mists are also packed with some glorious glow-enhancers, bound to aid in the even skin tone arena.
bh loves: Arcona Cranberry Mist ($42, sephora.com.au)
#7 – Treat patches as you notice them
Now obviously one of the major issues with pigmentation is that you often don’t notice it until it’s too late – but that doesn’t mean you can’t reverse some of the damage if you act fast.
Your forehead, cheeks and upper lip tend to be areas where pigmentation appears most prominent, so keep a close eye on them. If you do spy dark marks, try a treatment serum that works to fade dark spots or discolouration.
#8 – Steer clear of steam
You might think the sun is the only bad guy, but other steamy areas such as saunas, warm pools, and even scalding showers can be culprits too. Any form of hot air or steam overstimulates melanocytes, which can lead to darkening of pigment – so skip the sauna this summer in the name of glowing skin.
#9 – Eat antioxidant-rich foods
Yep, you can actually use your diet to your melanin-boosting advantage too. Look for foods rich in antioxidants, as they show the greatest potential for increasing melanin production – leafy greens, berries, and chocolate (all of the dark variety), and colourful veggies are among the most effective.
#10 – Turn to treatments
Not getting the results you’re after at home? Try a treatment. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) can be ace for erasing sun damage, freckles, pigmentation and brown spots – it hits skin with powerful beams of light which are able to penetrate below the skin’s surface and break down the pigment into tiny particles. These particles then rise to the skin’s surface and generally slough off entirely within about a week.
bh loves: IPL Full Face Treatment ($395, faceplus.com.au)
Main image credit: @zotheysay
Do you have any pigmentation-fighting hacks?