Problem skin pigmentation – which products actually work?
Women are particularly susceptible to sudden and noticeable changes in pigmentation on the face
Lixir Vitamin C Paste Morning Mask (€39 at fetchbeauty.com)
Erratic or problem pigmentation is an issue that most of us will come up against at some point in our lives. Women are particularly susceptible to sudden and noticeable changes in pigmentation on and around the face, since a combination of sun, damage and or hormonal fluctuation is all that’s needed to bring on a bout of melasma. Particularly common during pregnancy, it appears as a large patch of pigmentation which will be browner than whatever your base skin tone is. While melasma is quite an obvious issue, most of us (particularly those with paler skin) will have blotches or small patches of dark pigmentation. I have a patch on one cheek, which makes itself obvious every summer.
The unfortunate reality about both this sort of pigmentation and melasma is that once it is there, it is there to stay, and will resurface each year in the sun.
However, you can fade it significantly with very good products – minimise the depth of the resurfaced pigmentation by using a high sun protection factor which provides both UVA and UVB protection, and use the highest quality vitamin C product you can afford. Incredibly effective vitamin C products do work, and are available.The catch is that hey tend to be more costly.
Less intense pigmentation will respond to slightly less intense quantities and concentrations of a good vitamin C product.
Clinique Fresh Pressed 7 Day System (€34 at Brown Thomas) will leave skin visibly brighter after a seven day period, and even more so after a month, but it will not have a significant impact on melasma. The same goes for The Ordinary vitamin c suspension 23 per cent & HA spheres 2 per cent (€5.80 at theordinary.com), which is so affordable, it’s an excellent introductory vitamin C product. Similarly, Lixir Vitamin C Paste Morning Mask (€39 at fetchbeauty.com) is a lovely everyday quick-fix skin brightener for the long term treatment of dullness and minor pigmentation issues.
Unfortunately, the heavy hitters come at a heavy price. DCL Skincare C Scape High Potency Night Booster (€137 at Space NK) is the single best product for pigmentation that I have personally used, and comes at the recommendation of many knowledgeable industry figures like Caroline Hirons and Sali Hughes. It is not a lovely product to use. Slightly filmy, gluey and gritty, with its 30 per cent vitamin C concentration, it sensitised even my skin, which has become increasingly hardy from years of product testing. It may sting, and caused me a mild breakout. However, I persevered (apply it to clean, dry skin at night, and use it alone). After just one week, the difference was visible, and it showed continual improvement over the following month. This really works, and is the gold standard in vitamin C skincare.
For an easier to use serum-based product, Dermalogica Biolumin C Serum (€95.50 at authorised Salons and dermalogica.ie) is also very effective but slightly less hard going on the skin. It brightens pigmented areas effectively without causing discomfort or temporary redness.