Shabir was back in the bathroom with Trinny Woodall over the weekend discussing more common skincare concerns. If you battle with hyperpigmentation, rosacea or have unwanted scarring, it’s definitely worth watching.
The sun has finally come out. Hallelujah! But while it may also be the swimwear season, it is also the ‘sun spot’ season: the time when we all need to be reminded to take some savvy lifestyle steps to guard against a problem which many women find deeply distressing.
Actually, if asked which beauty concern tops women’s list of woes, you might reply ‘lines and wrinkles’ – but you’d be wrong. Because it transpires (and this is backed up by research by none other than Clinique) that what actually bothers women most isn’t expression lines – it’s pigmentation. We might actually not have believed it ourselves if we hadn’t spent some time, a while back, offering back-to-back one-on-one ‘anti-ageing’ consultations with real women, in Selfridges. Read More…
Fact: nobody loves lines and wrinkles. But here’s another fact: recent research has revealed that what bothers women even more than those crow’s feet and laugh lines is uneven pigmentation on face and body. Call them sun spots, age spots, liver spots, dark spots – or, if you want to get technical about it, ‘solar lentigines’. Whichever name they go by, that same piece of research showed that when someone else looks at your skin, uneven pigmentation increases your perceived age far more than laugh lines do. Discolouration, it transpires, makes us look a staggering 10 to 15 years older.
That research is echoed by our own experiences: when we meet readers, most of them seem to accept their lines and wrinkles, but feel very self-conscious about sun spots – because not every single woman does have them. As a result they cause a lot of anxiety.
And the most accurate of those afore-mentioned names for patches of darker pigmentation certainly is ‘sun spots’. The reality is that it’s exposure to the sun’s rays that triggers them – with the current ‘plague’ of pigmentation challenges in no small measure related to previous decades of sun exposure when we were a little less clued-up than we are today about the need for sun protection. (We’re sure we’re not the only ones out there who can remember women in the 70s not so much sunbathing as sun-backing, with tinfoil used to intensify the sun’s tanning action on their faces…!)
The sun link explains why age spots tend to show up on areas of the skin that have been most exposed to the sun – hands, arms, face and especially the décolletage, that area of the neck and chest that seems specifically angled to pick up sun damage. (Don’t confuse them with freckles, meanwhile, which are a hereditary characteristic you’re born with – and whose relationship to the sun is still unclear.) The browner areas you’re seeing are actually visible melanin – the pigment responsible for skin colour – which is produced by skin calls called melanocytes, in the top layer of skin. This ‘hyperpigmentation’ process is essentially the same as with tanning – only it happens more chaotically, and the results last longer. What you see are ‘clumps’ of melanin, if you like. Read More…