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Keep up to date with the latest research in skin care science and techniques.

26 Sep 2018 | CAPS Clinic

Did my pigmentation get worse during the Summer?

Yes! Pigmentation can absolutely be exacerbated in Summer. We spend more time outdoors when the weather heats up and may notice more spots, shadows, lumps and bumps. Instead of smooth glowing Summer skin, you may end up feeling patchy and wondering why.

Why does pigmentation get worse in Summer?

Your pigment does not need much encouragement to darken, even the slightest UV exposure from sunlight can affect it! Our pigment cells (melanocytes) are stimulated by a hormone – Melanocyte-stimulating hormone.

This hormone is produced in our pituitary gland and when our skin is exposed to the sun, it makes our melanocytes 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 pigmentation?

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

  • Brown and lumpy (raised lesions, moles) –  you need to have these ones checked by one of our 360uv Skin Cancer Clinic Doctors, or your own GP, and suitable moles could be removed by K-Laser with our My Genesis Clinic Dermal Clinicians. Anything brown and lumpy that bleeds, doesn’t heal or is causing you concern needs to be seen by your GP as soon as possible.
  • Freckly (small, sun induced brown spots) – A Dermal Clinician can provide guidance on the right type of treatment for you, which 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, or procedures such as IPL, Chemical Peels or Microdermabrasion. They will also discuss how to prevent more further 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 active skin care, discussion surrounding medication and internal health, and some patience and perseverance.

What is the essential, number one thing to do?

Slip, Slop, Slap, Repeat. If you want to prevent more pigment from occurring and protect yourself from further skin damage and ageing you must use sun protection. This includes wearing a broad brimmed hat, protective clothing and seeking shade where possible, and a good quality sunscreen is essential. Don’t forget to:

  • Re-apply every 2 to 4 hours if outdoors, swimming or sweating
  • Check expiry date on your sunscreen
  • Look for a product that contains Zinc Oxide

If you need assistance to understand and treat pigmentation, book for your skin analysis today!

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