One of the more puzzling changes that comes with skin ageing is a process called hyperpigmentation. This is where seemingly random, darker patches appear on the skin. One of the most common places to find these is on the backs of the hands, where they have been given the nickname ‘liver spots’ despite having nothing to do with the liver!
On the backs of the hands, these spots can pass unnoticed. However, they also present on the face, which for some people can sadly result in a loss of self-confidence. So what causes these dark patches?
Discolouration can be an indication that there is an overproduction of melanin, the pigment present in skin that gives it its colour. People with darker skin may be more prone to hyperpigmentation which manifests itself as an uneven skin tone, freckles, age spots and dark patches. Melanin is stimulated by UV rays, meaning prolonged exposure to the sun or sunbeds could play a part in causing patches. UV ray exposure, plus exposure to pollution, can generate oxygen molecules known as Reactive Oxygen Species, commonly known as free radicals which are responsible for small biochemical triggers which attack the molecules in healthy skin, conspiring to eventually degrade it over time – hence skin slowly loses its youthful feel.
Hyperpigmentation can also occur as a result of acne, inflammation or skin injury, and in a small number of cases may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Anyone with doubts or worries should visit their doctor.
So, what can you do to help your skin under these circumstances?
Most importantly, you need to wear a broad spectrum spf30-spf50 daily. Key ingredients which can be found in cosmeceutical skincare such as Image skincare and Deciem’s NIOD will contain vitamin C which brightens and supresses melanin production, synovea which again supresses the chemical reaction to produces pigmentation and retinol, used at night time only to help rejuvenate the formation of new skin cells, again helping to give your skin a brighter and more youthful complexion.