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Meet uneven skin tone: Our skin cells contain melanocyte cells, a cell that produces melanin, a chemical that gives skin its color. Too much melanin leads to hyper pigmented skin – including freckles, darkening of the skin in patches, and age spots. Hyper pigmentation can occur from over sun exposure, trauma to the skin (i.e. laser treatments, peels, etc.) or as a side effect of certain drugs. While hyperpigmentation is not a serious medical condition, it is one of the most common skin conditions and arguably the most difficult to treat and correct. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. G to better understand the root cause of hyperpigmentation and what we can do to prevent and treat this skin condition.

What is hyper pigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is defined as any spot on your skin that’s dark enough to effectively stand out against the surrounding area. This phenomenon is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface.

What causes hyper pigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface and cause the dark spots/areas. Hormones, birth control pills can also cause this and sunlight can increase the severity.

The different types of hyperpigmentation:

  • Age spots or sun spots (sun damage)
  • Melasma : caused by pregnancy, hormones and some birth control pills. Usually appears on the upper cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. In severe cases during pregnancy melasma can appear as a mask, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”.
  • Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentationis usually temporary and can be caused by inflammatory acne, a severe burn or injury to the skin. While anyone can suffer from this, it is more common in dark skin types
  • Scarring : The difference between acne scars and hyperpigmentationcan be very difficult to differentiate. Acne scars can appear dark and be Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which should go away (as it is temporary). However, if exposed to the sun then this may become long-term hyperpigmentation. General rule of thumb, if the acne mark or lesion is still visible after 6-12 months then it is considered a scar

Is there a difference between hyperpigmentation, sunspots and freckles?

All fall under the umbrella of Hyperpigmentation. Sun exposure has a lot to do with the darkness and severity. If you have freckles and have sun exposure the melanin will be activated and the freckle will be darker.

Who is prone to hyperpigmentation, such as different races or skin tones?

Darker skin types are more prone. All skin generally has the same amount of melanosomes, the difference in lighter skin and darker skin is the size. Darker skin has larger melanosomes (what contains/distributes the melanin) hence more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

How to prevent hyperpigmentation?

Wear an SPF at all times when exposed to the sun. Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them. Wearing sun protective clothing, long sleeves and a hat is also preventative.

How to treat and reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation?

Exfoliation can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin. Using proper actives to protect against sun damage and treat sun damage and dark spots. In office micro-dermabrasion treatments and laser treatments are beneficial as well.

What are the most effective ingredients people with hyperpigmentation should look for in daily skincare products?

Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid/Lactic, Alpha Arbutin, and Kojic Acid.

Is there a difference between sun spots and hyper pigmentation?

Sun spots/sun damage is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is defined as any spot on your skin that’s dark enough to effectively stand out against the surrounding area. This phenomenon is usually the result of your skin’s efforts to protect itself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It occurs when overexposure to sunlight causes the melanocytes in the deeper layers of your skin to produce cells that contain a skin-darkening pigment called melanin. These specialized cells known as melanosomes are picked up by your keratinocytes that are constantly migrating upwards toward your skin surface. The different types of hyperpigmentation are sun spots (sun damage), melasma (hormonally triggered), scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Do the best treatments for pigmentation on your face differ to those for your body?

Facial skin is more delicate than the body and therefore. Treatment for the body and face could be the same in some instances. Although the facial skin is more delicate, there are wonderful topical treatments as well as in-office procedures (microdermabrasion, peels and lasers). Rules to follow on the face and body areWear an SPF at all times, exfoliation (can help the appearance as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells fort he surface of the skin), use of proper actives (Vitamin C) to protect against sun damage/dark spots.

Is there a part of the body/face that’s more prone to pigmentation?

The face is extremely prone to hyperpigmentation and particularly melasma. Melasma is caused by hormones, birth control pills, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause. Exposure to sunlight makes melisma darker and more difficult to get rid of.  Facial skin is delicate and needs to be protected properly. The neck and chest areas are also prone to hyperpigmentation as they’re not always properly protected and also very delicate. Always wear SPF and tops that cover the chest area when in sunlight.

Environmental factors have rapidly become a major threat to the health and appearance of your skin. Every day our skin is bombarded by blue light, dust, soot, pollen, pollution, UVA/UVB rays, and smoke in the air from various sources, despite our best efforts to avoid them. These particles—collectively referred to as particulate matter—are small enough to penetrate the skin, where they start to generate a storm of free radicals. The ensuing oxidative stress creates an unfavorable environment of inflammation, lipid peroxidation, uneven skin tone, dehydration, dryness, dark spots, accelerated aging, and wrinkles.

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. G to understand more about how all of these external factors and what we can do to protect against the harmful damage.

How does pollution lead to free radicals in the skin?

Pollution releases microscopic particles or free radicals that can go deep into the skin and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. The outcome is loss of elasticity (wrinkles and sagging) and Hyperpigmentation (dark spots).

Can you explain blue light for me – e.g. we get this sort of light from the sun early in the AM, but it’s now threaded through our days thanks to computers/ phones etc?

HEV is primarily emitted from the Sun but also from computers + smart phones + fluorescent lights. All our screens emit High-energy visible (HEV) light and Infrared (IR) light. In some studies HEV and IR light have been shown to penetrate the skin more deeply than the traditionally marketed UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

Can blue light can be damaging for our skin? If so, what are the potential affects (e.g. ageing/ loss of elasticity…).

Blue Light coming from screen time has been proven to breakdown our skin cells which simply just leads to accelerated aging. The affects are similar to those caused by the sun. HEV (high-energy visible light (HEV light) is high-frequency, high-energy light in the violet/blue band from 400 to 450 nm in the visible spectrum. Despite a lack of concurring scientific evidence, HEV light has sometimes been claimed to be a cause of age-related macular degeneration) is emitted from the sun too, just like it is within Blue Lights. Some studies have shown the breakdown of collagen and other similar aging issues such as hyperpigmentation/color changes, inflammation and dehydration.

Does the amount of time that we spend close to blue light (e.g. someone that reads email on the bus/ spends 9 hours at a computer/ looks at a phone on the sofa whilst watching TV, versus someone who works as a teacher and spends less time in front of a screen) come into it? 

Absolutely. Try taking a screen break and always wear protective skincare.

Is there anything a person can do to mitigate the effects? E.g. phone covers for blue light?

Blue blocker glasses and phone and screen covers may help.

Is there anything a person can do, product-wise, to mitigate the effects? 

Environmental aggressors deliver free radicals to the skin, which in turn cause the breakdown of collagen, onset of wrinkles, cell mutation, aging, dark spots, dehydration, inflammation, immune function damage and in some instances cancer.

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke, pollution, smoke and radiation. … Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and carotenoids, may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Anti-oxidants can be found in topical skincare products, vitamins and healthy super foods. Below are my list of anti-oxidants everyone should be ingesting and applying and also ingesting to maximize on the skin’s best natural defense system.

The best way to protect against and repair environmentally or digitally damaged skin is to use an anti-pollution based skin care regimen. Exfoliation + cleanse to remove the dead and polluted skin cells. Then treat the skin by using anti-pollution, anti-aging or brightening serum, then seal the skin with a moisturizer and last but not least protect (SPF 30 or higher). The most potent and highest regarded pollution fighting ingredients are Red Tea/Roobois, Ferulic Acid, Vitamin C, Retinol, Resveratrol, White Horehound and the powerful Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, found in our new anti-pollution Mist RX – that can be applied throughout the day to keep your skin properly protected.

 

How about lifestyle-wise? E.g. screen time breaks, no double screening at home… 

Investing in blue blocker eyeglasses may help the strain and effects to the delicate skin around the eye area.  Try to limit screen time and always remember to wear protective and restorative skincare and sunscreen.

The Sun is the number one environmental damage for skin.  Both UVA/UVB rays are harmful. Protect yourself by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Shielding your skin, head and eyes can help with sun damage and pollution-based aging. Always wash you face to remove the residue and makeup from the day. Remember all the pollution from car exhaust, factories and the weak ozone layer sits on the skin!

Eating healthy can also reduce pollution effects on the skin and the body. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon and almonds). Stay away form foods that can encourage and cause Glycation. The Glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and therefore speeding up the aging process. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, processed fatty meats and alcohol.

A healthy skincare regimen will work to fight against outside pollutants.

 

December’s many indulgences make January an ideal time to detox, both inside and out. Again striving for balance, we put forth our best efforts in January to cleanse both internally and externally (and we know that’s it’s all intertwined), so we asked one of our go-to beauty gals, Cassandra Cadwell, (aka newly appointed head of Customer Relations @ Violet Grey), to capture her journey as she swapped her beauty regime for our Detox Collection for 4 weeks.

Can you describe your skin type (i.e. Is your skin usually oily, dry or normal)?

Combination – I look like an oil slick at the end of the day but my skin is dry and needs moisturizer. At least this is what my esthetician tells me!

What are your skin goals?

Clear skin, of course! No breakouts or dark spots (PIH) mainly. But my number one priority is to clear up this one  trouble spot on my left cheek. Also to stop picking, this is a huge thing for me that I really need to stop.

How do you detox? (tips/rituals)

I drink a green juice every single day and have at least 2 cups of green tea throughout the day. My one tip to detox though, is simply to stay hydrated and eat clean the majority of the time. I also try to take a bath every so often and mask every night.. Yes really, I’m psychotic.

When you need to de-stress, what is your go-to?

Burying my face into my cat, Monet, or going to Moon Juice for a adaptogenic smoothie #soLA. Watching funny videos of cats on Instagram helps too… Did I mention I’m a cat person. If I’m in a situation where none of those things are possible, I just pick one thing to focus on, like a task, and direct my attention on completing that 100%. If my mind is feeling cluttered, I make a list. Typically, I find if I’m stressed it’s because my brain is scattered, if I get it down on paper, my mind is a little clearer.

How did you first hear about Goldfaden MD? What was the first product you used?

I first heard about Goldfaden MD from my friend Sarah in May when I was invited to their lovely brunch. The first product I used was the Skin Balancing Mask, and it’s still one of my all time favorites. It’s not too active but still gives your skin a light exfoliation so it’s a great go to when your skin needs a little love but nothing too dramatic. It’s really the perfect maintenance mask. Soothing, no fuss, and exactly what you want your everyday mask to to.

Tell us about your current regimen before transitioning to the Goldfaden MD “detox” collection?

My regimen prior to the Golfaden MD detox consisted of a double cleanse, a toner, one serum and a lightweight water cream. Also tons of masking, of course. In general, lots of trial and error, I’m always trying something new, it’s part of my job.

When you integrated Goldfaden MD’s Detox Clarifying Facial Wash, Detox Hydrating Gel and Facial Detox into your regimen, what did you experience after the following timeframes?

1 week: Plumping and looking fresher longer throughout the day. No 3 pm dark circles and dullness.

2 weeks: Skin started to look brighter and extra hydrated.

3 weeks: Reduction of dark spots and PIH on my left cheek. (YES!)

4 weeks: Overall balance of oil and dryness. I also saw a significant improvement on the pesky trouble spot on my left cheek in addition to less random hormonal breakouts. The later was particularly nice because when you are dealing with a trouble spot, it’s nice not to have other little blemishes pop up as well, which just feels like it exacerbates the main issue.

Have you always used or been interested/concerned with ingredients and clean beauty?

Always. I am a firm believer in not putting harsh chemicals on or in your body, but I also put efficacy first. I 100% believe that the body can heal itself and that anything we need to assist that process can come from nature. I also don’t believe in sacrificing inner health for outer beauty. Once I stopped drinking things like soda and started incorporating vegan practices into my lifestyle, I started seriously to look at ways I could cut out chemicals. Beauty is a great place to do so and if you find amazing clean product that work, like Goldfaden MD, then it’s really a no brainer.

Who would you recommend this regimen to in the future?

Everyone! Specifically though I think this line is great for the mindful person who cares what they put on their face (and therefore in their body) but also wants to see results. This regimen in particular I think is great for oily breakout prone skin, especially the Detox Hydrating Gel and,  if you have breakouts, the Facial Detox. If you take one thing away from this interview let it be this: Sulfur is the best natural way to clear breakouts – it’s straight off the periodic table! #Facts.

Since it is October after all… trick or treat?

Treat, of course… xx