Hyperpigmentation and pigmentary irregularities can make skin appear older and less healthy. Studies show that someone looking at another person will perceive their age to be ten (10) to twelve (12) years older if that person’s face shows uneven areas of increased pigmentation. Pigment occurs in skin through a sequential process of five (5) steps:
Step 1: Trigger
The process must begin with a TRIGGER. This could be sun exposure, stimulation from estrogen in melasma, a surgical procedure or a laser treatment. Although a variety of stimuli may set off the sequence of biochemical reactions leading to visual pigmentation, sun exposure is by far the most common. Any regimen for hyperpigmentation is doomed to fail without consistent use of a good of a good sun care product and strict sun avoidance.
Step 2: Inflammation
INFLAMMATION follows the trigger. Inflammation tends to perpetuate more inflammation and the process perpetuates itself. Since nature uses the inflammatory processes for additional purposes, including immunity and cancer surveillance, they are preserved or “highly conserved”. Once started, inflammation can be difficult to quiet down.
Step 3: Synthesis of Melanin
The SYNTHESIS OF MELANIN is then begun within the melanocyte. This is a multi-step process in itself and occurs within the tiny melanocyte, the pigment-producing cell found in the basal layer of epidermis.
Step 4: Transfer
The melanocyte, after packaging the pigment within a melanosome, TRANSFERS the pigment to its neighboring keratinocyte. Strangely enough, this is really the first time the pigment becomes visible.
Step 5: Transit
Then, as the keratinocyte TRANSITS UPWARD during the normal cell turn over and exfoliation process, the pigment is carried along with it and collects on the skin surface.
Designing skin care products such as iS CLINICAL’s WHITE LIGHTENING COMPLEX or WHITE LIGHTENING SERUM requires complex formulating science that addresses all steps in the pigmentation process while still improving skin health. A complete skin care regimen for hyperpigmentation should include all four (4) steps to great skin – CLEANSE, TREAT, HYDRATE, PROTECT.