We have all dealt with some form of unevenness or patchiness in our skin tone. But what exactly is pigmentation? Why does it happen? What can be done? Let’s take a closer look!
What is Pigmentation?
The colour of our skin, hair and eyes comes from a pigment called melanin that is produced by special cells called melanocytes. While we all have the same number of melanocytes, it is the production of melanin that varies. The more the melanin, the darker our hair, skin and eyes.
What are the different types of Melanin?
There are three types of melanin:
Eumelanin:This type is responsible for adding dark colours to our hair, skin and eyes. Brown and black hair is a result of a mixture of the two types of eumelanin-black and brown. But what about blonde hair? Well, an absence of black eumelanin and small amounts of brown eumelanin is responsible for blonde hair!
Pheomelanin:This type of melanin is responsible for pink-tinted parts of your body – such as the lips. When the amount of eumelanin and pheomelanin is the same, you get red hair. Brown eumelanin and pheomelanin result in strawberry blonde hair!
Neomelanin:This pigment is responsible for controlling the colour of neurons and is found only in the brain.
Melanocytes produce eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Pigmentation refers to any changes in the production of melanin of your skin. Since there are different types of melanin, it is vital that you understand what the root cause of the problem is so you can address it effectively!
What are the different types of pigmentation?
As the term ‘hyper’ would suggest, hyperpigmentation is a result of excessive production of pigment. This could be in the form of small patches or larger areas. It can even extend to your entire body. Hyperpigmentation can be a result of numerous factors such as sun damage, hormonal changes, heat, inflammation and medication.
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that is more common in women. It is generally associated with hormonal changes and is characterised by large brown patches that have a non-distinct border.
Sun Spots, also called liver spots, are a result of excess sun exposure. These spots could vary in colour from light brown to black and can occur anywhere on the body.
How Does Vitamin C help with Pigmentation?
Now, where does vitamin C fit in with all this? As it turns out, it fits in perfectly. Vitamin C is a nutritive powerhouse and does wonder for your skin – even when applied topically on your skin! Vitamin C is
- A powerful antioxidant that helps neutralise the effect of free radicals. For this reason, it helps in the skin’s natural regeneration process, which aids in repairing damaged cells.
- An excellent anti-inflammatory that helps reduce redness and soothe inflammation.
- Also known to slow-down melanin production, making it effective in fading away scars and dark spots.
- Well-known for boosting collagen production. Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in the body and depletes over time. Lower collagen levels can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C promotes bright and even skin, adding radiance and glow to the skin. Since it accelerates the turnover rate of skin cells, vitamin C is able to effectively counteract pigmentation and helps fade dark spots and patches.
What are the Do’s and Don’t of using Topical Vitamin C?
Today, vitamin C is available in a wide variety of formulations – cleansers, toners, serums, moisturises and face masks – so it can get very confusing which you should opt for. So here are some tips to help you!
What are the different formulations of Vitamin C?
Whichever type of formulation you may choose, the order of products is from thinnest to thickest-
- Toner/Face mist
- Sunscreen (during the day)
What Concentration of Vitamin C should you look for?
Vitamin C concentration in products can vary from 5% to 30%. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you want to stick to 5% so as to not irritate the skin. People with more oily skin generally tend to have more resilient skin so you can opt for a higher concentration but be sure to introduce it slowly into your routine.
Should you use Vitamin C in the morning or at night?
Serums are generally the best way to add vitamin C into your skincare routine. While you can use it morning and night, most people prefer using vitamin C in the morning because, as a result of its antioxidant properties, it can provide added sun protection.
What should you know before you start using Vitamin C?
Be sure not to apply vitamin C right after an exfoliating acid as your skin can get very irritated. Instead, use vitamin C in the morning and your acid at night on an alternating basis!
Slowly incorporate vitamin C into your routine and be mindful and aware of how your skin reacts to the product. Start with once a week and gradually build up to twice, thrice a week and then to alternate days before using it every day. Everyone’s skin is different so it will take everyone different time to adjust to an ingredient and product!
Here are some popular and well-loved products for you to try!Vaunt- Vitamin C Brightening Water
Vitamin C, amla extract and liquorice diminish pigmentation and dark spots and humectants like hyaluronic acid and geranium water keeps the skin moisturised.
Coccoon- Hydrating Night Serum With Kakadu Plum (Vitamin C), Shea Butter & Vitamins
Kakadu plum, a superfruit with 100 times more Vitamin C than an orange, and liquorice evens skin tone and reduces pigmentation while shea butter, Vitamin E and Vitamin A give the skin the hydration it needs at night.
Ilana Organics- Brightening Skin Serum (Papaya + Lemon)
Papaya oil, lemon extract and geranium all come together to hydrate and fight pigmentation, reduce acne scars and brighten skin.
Dear, Klairs- Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drops
Pure and concentrated Vitamin C drops composed of 5% ascorbic acid, anise fruit extract, grapefruit extract and orange oil give this serum its well-deserved cult status.
Martiderm- Photoage 10 Ampoules with 15% Vitamin C
These heavy-duty ampoules contain 15% Vitamin C, which is the suggested formula to target hyperpigmentation. They scientifically boost collagen production, even skin tone and reverse sun damage.
- By Gauri Sindhu