Freckles, dark spots and patches on the skin are a common concern these days. But did you know that in addition to the environment which you are exposed to, certain ingredients in your beauty products can also make you susceptible to skin pigmentation? Ironically, some ingredients in the skincare products you apply can make your skin vulnerable to pigmentation on sun exposure. Being blind to the product we use is responsible for a host of pigmentation issues and that is why celebrities with flawless skin, like Drew Barrymore, have their own line of beauty products.
Pigmentation spots are actually the result of our skin’s overactive defense mechanism. When the skin is exposed to the sun, it starts producing a pigment called melanin that acts as a skin defense. Melanin is also responsible for the production of dark colour in the skin. When the production of melanin is excessive or its distribution is faulty, the result is unsightly dark spots. While sun exposure and hormonal changes are unavoidable, what is avoidable with a little attention to fine print is pigmentation from products. This sensitivity varies from skin to skin, and this is where it is important to be careful while choosing your skincare products. If you have sensitive skin, citric acid and retinoic acid-based ingredients will almost always increase pigmentation. These are also ingredients that are commonly found in sunscreens and lotions.
You should also be wary of products that have synthetic fragrances. Some of these chemicals like hormone-disrupting phthalates and synthetic musks may stir reactions which result in darkening. Avoid applying creams or applicants that cause burning sensation on the skin. Also, if an area of your skin is prone to irritation, avoid using too much make-up over it. Make-up may lead to post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation and eruptions. If a product causes an irritation, keep a record of its ingredients and avoid using them again.
There are treatments available today that can help you get rid of beauty product induced pigmentation. The Biluma therapy contains a unique, steroid free formulation that acts scientifically to tackle the problem. This therapy contains many natural skin brightening ingredients, along with anti-oxidants and UVB filters which act synergistically to block the melanin synthesis pathway. Certain cosmetic procedures like lasers can also help get rid of pigmentation without inducing future pigmentation. Laser light breaks down the coloured pigments on the skin, gradually reduces the discolouration and even soothe the skin tone, making it appear less stressed.
— The writer is a consultant dermatologist.