Did my pigment get worse during Summer?

Yes! We all seem to become a whole lot more colourful during the warmer months. We spend more time outdoors when the weather heats up and all seem to notice more spots, shadows, lumps and bumps…. WHY though? Is it because we are showing more skin? Spending more time out doors? The suns intensity increases?

I thought I had it under control… What did I do wrong?

Your pigment does not need much encouragement to darken up all over again with the slightest exposure to sunlight! The stimulation from UV exposure has it bursting onto your skin with very little encouragement! Our pigment cells (melanocytes) are stimulated by a hormone – Melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Its produced in our pituitary gland (the same hormone that’s responsible for appetite and sex drive!) and gets our melanocytes very busy when exposed to the sun, they go into ‘protection mode’ to try and stop our skin from becoming sunburnt or damaged. The catch is though that they are often not organised and uniform with their distribution of colour, hence uneven pigmentation occurs. Even with the use of some sun protection your melanocytes can still become stimulated and over produce – which leads to an excess of pigment in your skin.

Will pregnancy make it worse?

Different hormonal shifts can certainly make our pigment cells behave differently. For most people their skin will return to normal not too long after their sweet baby arrives!

What can I do about it?

The type of pigment presenting on your skin will impact the type of care you require.

  • Brown and lumpy (raised lesions, moles); Ideal to have these ones checked either by one of our Doctors here at the 360UV Skin Cancer Clinic at CAPS or your own GP.
  • Freckling (small, sun induced brown spots); A Dermal Clinician can provide guidance on the right type of treatment for these – may include medical grade skin care (think Vitamin A, Vitamin C, peptides and Zinc) will help to restore your skins health and can help manage pigment issues, IPL, Chemical Peels or Microdermabrasion. They will also discuss how to prevent more freckling.
  • Brown shadows (Melasma, Mask of Pregnancy); Again, a Dermal Clinician can educate you on why this pigment may have occurred and, also guide you through the process of treatment and management. This process will include medical grade skin care, discussion surrounding medication and internal health and some patience and perseverance.
  • Brown, lumpy AND bleeding; Get to a Doctor ASAP! Anything that bleeds, doesn’t heal or is causing you concern needs to be seen by your GP as soon as possible.
  • SPF – I hope this is a no brainer for all of you!! If you want to PREVENT more pigment occurring and PROTECT yourself from further skin damage and ageing you MUST wear Sun Protection. While we all immediately this of slapping on some sun block you should also be wearing a hat, protective clothing and seeking shade where possible.
    • Re-apply aver 2-4 hours if outdoors, swimming or sweating
    • Check expiry date on your SPF
    • Look for a product that contains Zinc Oxide

Can men have treatment too?

Absolutely!!! Some of my most favourite results I’ve achieved are with my male patients. I’m not sure if it is because the lads are a little more lax with their skin care regime in general (sorry for that massive generalization!) or if they are more likely to have more surface freckling from time spent in the sun due to outdoor career choices or time spent playing sport outdoors. Either way, generally speaking, the change that we achieve is immediately more impressive.

Ask a friend, partner, family member to check your back for anything lurking that you may not see.

Sal xxx

To start your journey call the clinic on 6282 1177 or email info@capsclinic.com.au.