Today we’re taking a look at the root causes of pigmentation, the ideal ingredients to counteract it, as well as the best K-Beauty products for pigmentation.
Pigmentation can be caused by a wide range of factors – acne, exposure to the sun, hereditary conditions, hormones, medications, allergic reactions, and other forms of skin damage. Hyperpigmentation is essentially caused by the excess production of melanin by the melanocyte cells in the body. Melanin is the pigment in skin that gives our skin its normal colour.
Acne is one of the key causes of pigmentation.
Once the skin is damaged, it may not be able to reproduce its original skin pigments, leading to darker pigments forming over the damaged area of the skin. Immediately post-acne, the skin is characterised by flat, red scars that can take many months to fade. Deeper acne scars usually remain permanently, and are characterised by depressed white scars.
Exposure to the sun causes the skin to tan, which is a reflection of the trauma that has occurred to the skin’s cells.
When our skin is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it responds by becoming inflamed. The activation of melanocytes is one of the responses to this. Once the melanocytes are activated, the production of melatonin begins.
Even though the skin darkens in colour and tans with exposure to the sun, this doesn’t mean the tan will be uniform or even. Pigmentation is a reflection of this.
A wide variety of medications contribute to and cause pigmentation, including the pill, antibiotics, anti-malarials, anti-topical retinoids, anti-seizure medications and more. Sometimes, pigmentation will remain even after the course of medication is complete.
One of the leading causes of pigmentation is changes in hormones, particularly in pregnant women. Hormonal changes often leave the skin with dark, blotchy patches. Pigmentation on the upper lip is another classic symptom of hormonal imbalance, particularly in women.
In addition to other practical ways of avoiding pigmentation, there are a wide variety of ingredients that can help improve it.
Many ingredients commonly found in Asian beauty products are perfect for treating pigmentation. Some of our favourites include Vitamin C, niacinamide, rice, galactomyces and more.
Vitamin C and its derivatives have been shown to be effective against pigmentation. This is because they inhibit the skin from producing melanin, which causes discoloration in the first place. Our Korean beauty picks include:
Purito Pure Vitamin C Serum – featuring 10% L-Ascorbic Acid. This effective but gentle Vitamin C serum helps to reduce signs of aging, restore skin’s youthful glow, and help minimise existing wrinkles.
iUNIK Propolis Synergy Serum – this serum combines Propolis (70%) and Vitamin C (12%) for skin brightening for sensitive skin. It targets skin damage, pigmentation and inflammation with instant calming benefits.
Snail mucin is one of Korean Beauty’s favourite ingredients for repairing skin. It is great for skin afflicted by acne, acne scarring, aging and sun damage. Renowned for its ability to tighten and regenerate skin, snail mucin also reduces the appearance of acne scars and firms the skin. Our favourite snail-repairing Korean beauty products include:
APLB Healing Moisture Snail Cream – this repairing moisturiser addresses a wide range of skin concerns, from pores and dull skin to acne and fine-lines.
COSRX Snail 96 Mucin Essence – this treatment essence repairs sun damage. It is helpful for acne, uneven skin tone and scarring.
Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream – a repairing gel-type moisturiser that helps improve the look and texture of skin. It is ideal for pigmented, aging, scarred and acne-prone skin to give it a healthy, radiant glow.
Rice can assist with discolored skin cells by helping to slough away dead skin and brightening dull skin.
Korean beauty’s best-selling rice product is Skinfood Rice Mask Wash Off, a pH 5.5 balanced wash-off face mask. It instantly brightens a dull complexion with rice extracts. It also works to slough off dead skin.
A byproduct of the sake brewing process, this wonder beauty ingredient is produced when fermentation breaks the yeast down into smaller components. This allows it to effectively deliver antioxidants directly to the skin. It protects skin from environmental and UV damage, which cause premature aging.
Our favourite K-Beauty products featuring galactomyces include:
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence – enhances the skin’s natural renewal process to deliver anti-wrinkle and anti-aging benefits.
Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence – delivers 8 benefits – soothing, smoothing, balancing sebum levels, moisturising, improving skin tone, firming, wrinkle repair and boosting.
iUNIK Rose Galactomyces Serum – this is an ultra hydrating serum that nourishes and cares for the skin.
Licorice has skin-soothing properties and may be effective in improving the look of uneven skin tone. It is often indicated for people with a reddened complexion. Try:
Tosowoong Spot Whitening Serum
Niacinamide is a type of Vitamin B3 that has several benefits for aging skin. These include:
Niacinamide is widely found in Korean beauty products, but one of our favourites includes:
Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream – this K-beauty favourite contains niacinamide along with a host of other nourishing ingredients to brighten the complexion, firm skin and target the appearance of wrinkles.
For more tips on treating pigmentation, click here.
What are the best K-Beauty products for pigmentation you’ve found? Let us know in the comments!
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