British Vogue - 11.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

eventy per cent of my patients have
hyperpigmentation – people are far
more aware of it now than they
used to be,” says Dr Dennis Gross,
founder of the eponymous skincare line
and a practising dermatologist in New York.
And, with so many types of pigmentation,
the first port of call is to identify which
you have. “Discolouration can include post-
acne marks; melasma from going through
the menopause, pregnancy or taking
contraception; and age spots or freckles
caused by UV exposure,” explains Dr Alexis
Granite, a consultant dermatologist at
Mallucci London and the Cadogan Clinic.
So, how can we treat the problem without
exacerbating it? “The most important thing
to remember is to never throw your skin off
balance,” says Dr Gross. “When you use
harsh products, the skin’s pH balance can
be disrupted. This can lead to bad-bacteria
flourishes, and natural oil level fluctuations,

Pigmentation 101

If you’re concerned about patches of skin
discolouration, Kathleen Baird-Murray has
the products and treatments to turn to

which will weaken the skin
barrier.” The answer? Avoid
stripping cleansers and instead
turn to moisturisers that
contain hyaluronic acid and
ceramides. This is a strong
start, but what follows next
needs to be targeted.
In cases of post-inflammatory
hyperpigmentation (let’s say
you squeezed a spot and –
more likely if you have dark
skin – are paying the price with
a heavy blotch), Dr Yannis
Alexandrides, the cosmetic-
surgeon founder of 111Skin,
suggests a hydrating spot
treatment. On the other hand,
for melasma and solar lentigines
(better known as liver, age or
sun spots), topical solutions,
such as vitamin C and retinol,
are more effective.
Finally: skincare alone cannot
fix this. If you want a flawless
complexion, you’re going to
need professional treatments.
But here’s where it gets complex, with no
two practitioners agreeing on the same
course of action. IPL laser is favoured by
some, frowned on by others. “This laser is
not the best solution for every patient,” says
Dr Gross. “Those with darker skin tones
should avoid IPL treatments – they can
actually cause too much trauma to the skin,
which could result in post-inflammatory
hyperpigmentation, making the problem
worse. Opt for a serum with active
ingredients instead.” Dr Granite, meanwhile,
favours a Dermamelan peel, though, again,
for some darker skins, this isn’t suitable.
(It also requires a week of downtime, during
which skin is red and flaky.) London-based
doctor Dr Michael Prager prefers to treat
discolouration with radio-frequency (suitable
for all skin tones), peeling, dermarolling
or mesotherapy – during which micro
punctures are made in the skin to induce a
healing process that can help pigmentation.
One thing all specialists do agree on is
that embarking on any course of treatment
means hypervigilant sun avoidance for your
face, whether you’re on a beach or basking
in a beautiful blast of sunshine on a winter’s
day. And, perhaps, learning to love our
imperfections a little more. n

Right, from top:
Defense Serum, £85.
Eucerin Sun
Protection Pigment
Control SPF50+,
£20. 111Skin
3-Phase Anti
Blemish Booster,
£85. RéVive
Perfectif Even Skin
Tone Serum Dark
Spot Corrector,
£225. Dr Dennis
Gross Professional
Grade IPL Dark
Spot Concentrated
Serum, £99. Sisley
Sunleÿa GE
Age Minimizing
Global Sun Care
SPF50+, £180



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