I recently attended the beauty West Africa conference and exhibition… as an exhibitor!!. I really enjoyed myself and had a chance to interact one on one with prospective clients. This afforded me a unique opportunity to find out first hand what their most pertinent skincare concerns where.
It surprised me to discover that most women were more worried about the fact that their faces looked darker when compared to their necks more than anything else.
I actually thought acne would top the list, but it didn’t in this case.
I feel this is the “challenge” that the “whitening” skincare industry is capitalizing on, to sell their products, and likewise, the reason why so many women tend to fall prey to skin whitening products.
Today, I intend to discus this topic sharing from my personal and professional experience.
Let’s start by talking about the causes of skin darkening…
REASONS WHY THE SKIN ON THE FACE DARKENS>
- Environmental factors
The most exposed parts of our skin are our faces, hands and legs. These parts of our bodies most times interface directly with the environment.. Sun, wind etc.
Unfortunately for us, the sun is not getting any kinder, if you live in Nigeria for instance, you know exactly what I mean. When any surface of the skin is exposed directly to the sun, it darkens, and this is just the way nature protects our skins from being damaged by the sun. Excessive sun exposure causes melanin cells to be deployed to the particular area of the skin having the most exposure causing the skin to be darker.
Most times, this affects the face, hands and feet which are the most exposed parts of our body.
Another common environmental factor responsible for melasma especially in the tropics is “Heat” I hear some people complain that they don’t overexpose themselves to the sun and yet, the are getting darker. Well, its also worth noting that direct sun exposure is not the only contributory factor, however excessive body heat may lead to inflammation which can also stimulate melanocyte production which can cause skin darkening.
- Hormonal issues
Our hormones play a very important role in the health of our skin. This can be seen very clearly in some women who suffer from melasma commonly called “pregnancy mask” when they are pregnant.
This is a result of an increase in “estrogen” in the body. and when it comes to melasma, research has found that elevated levels of estrogen and to a lesser degree progesterone levels can lead to increased skin pigmentation.
This explains why pregnant women and women using oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy usually have issues with skin darkening.
Apart from Estrogen, there is another hormone that can cause skin discoloration called “cortisol” cortisol is the hormone produced in the body when it is stressed (whether physically, emotionally or mentally) to help the body cope with the stress.
Increased cortisol levels will create estrogen imbalance in the body and elevated estrogen levels will in turn increase melanin production causing skin darkening.
Also individuals with thyroid disorders are likely to have melasma .
- Irritating skincare products
Most times, we use certain skincare products that are excessively harsh for the skin or contain certain components that make us more susceptible to being darkened even faster in the sun, other times, its certain skin procedures or practices which either generates excessive heat or friction on the skin resulting in trauma, that can eventually cause our skins to darken, such as intense pulsed light therapy, microdermabrasion and some chemical peels.
We simply can’t change the fact that “genes” play a significant role in the way our skin looks and feels. You are likely to have melasma if most people in your family also have melasma. Knowing our genetic dispositions can help us better manage our skin conditions.
Now that we know why our skins darken, we can now discuss what to do to avoid or reduce this..
HOW TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE SKIN DARKENING
- Avoid overexposure to sun and wear a good broad spectrum sunscreen when out in the sun. The simplest and easiest way to get rid of dark spots is by wearing a sunscreen, and I have heard so many tell me their “sunscreen got them darker”, (so I will discuss this in the next post). Apart from wearing sunscreens, also wear a broad brimmed hat, use umbrella and sunshades when out in the sun to protect your skin.
When the sun is out in the sky, the atmosphere heats up and our body temperatures can get really high, hence the sweating etc. We can further help our bodies to stay cool by taking lots of cold drinks, finding cooler spots to stay or using fans, and taking frequent cool baths/showers.
- Hormonal imbalances caused by pregnancy will eventually normalize after the birth of the child and the dark spot will eventually fade away, so no need to fret if you suddenly notice your face is getting darker during pregnancy. Its only a temporary issue that will correct itself soon.
If you are taking contraceptive pills and you notice that your skin is getting darker, you might need to talk to your doctor about a possible replacement.
Managing your stress level will also make a difference if your skin darkening is caused by increased stress or worry.
- Choice of skincare products
Due to the harsh climatic conditions that we find ourselves exposed to mostly all year round in the tropics. Its important that our skincare products be mostly “protective in nature” Certain skincare ingredients are too harsh or can cause the skin to become more susceptible to sun damage. Such products should not be the main products that we use on a daily basis, especially if we want to have beautiful , even skin tone. Certain lightening and bleaching products fall in this category as well as excessive use of AHAs and BHAs.
This is why most BSN skincare products are infused with Antioxidants. Antioxidants can help reduce damage of the skin by external factors such as sun, heat, pollution etc. Internally when ingested in the form of food and supplements, they can help with hormonal or internal imbalances within the body.
Constant application of skincare products formulated with antioxidants will help ensure that you have an even, bright and healthy skin tone.
Finally avoid excessive and constant friction or rubbing of your skin, either while washing or exfoliating and avoid harsh, aggressive skin procedures that can cause trauma or inflammation to the skin. It certainly pay to be gentle to the skin.
Some products filled with Antioxidants you can try:
This light non greasy face cream contains Niacinamide and Vitamin E as well as other skin moisturizing ingredients. Great antioxidants for improved skin complxion
Extra nourishing Face cream that offers a mattifying look to the skin when rubbed in, hence the name “Shine Face cream” is a rich antioxidant cream that contains COQ10, VitaminE, Mango and Pawpaw extracts to make it a very potent , rich protective face cream. Continued use leads to brighter more even healthy skin tone.
Solution Serum with Trans Resveratrol, Ferulic acid and Vitamin E is sure to give your healthy a very good quick start to healthy complexion in a short time.
https://bareskinnaturals.com/item/vitamin-c-with-tranexamic-acid-serum/ Vitamin C combined with Tranexamic acid will give your skin an excellent combination to deal with melasma and protect the skin from further damage.
Lovely write-up. Very informative
Thank you so much