07 February 2014

Hyperpigmentation is one of the main skin care concerns affecting those with darker complexions. While the primary cause is overproduction of melanin skin pigment, this itself can be brought on by a number of factors. But, says Miami-based Cosmetic Surgeon Heather Woolery-Lloyd, Hydroquinone is being seen as a miracle ingredient for treating the condition.She went on to highlight a number of combination therapies which achieve the fastest results but stressed that these must be used alongside "a few lifestyle changes", adding that the beneficial effects of these treatments can be reduced if the sufferer doesn't take steps to avoid the sun, or wear a sunblock. "An SPF 30 blocks approximately 97 per cent of the sun's UVB rays, but topical antioxidants prevent free radical damage from the small percentage of UVB that does enter the skin. Plus, they reduce inflammation, which triggers melanin production and often contributes to dark spots in darker skin types," says Woolery-Lloyd. Her recommended 'perfect formula' comprises use of: - Hydroquinone or another substance which suppresses the enzyme responsible for producing melanin - An exfoliator which includes ingredients such as Retinol, Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid, to increase cell turnover, thereby revealing the newer, less pigmented skin beneath, and - An inhibitor which stops the melanin-producing cells from transferring that to the body's other skin cells. Licquorice is one substance which has been proven in this regard. "Some combination therapies also contain penetration enhancers such as Kojic Acid, which help topical treatments penetrate more deeply into skin," notes Woolery-Lloyd. "Combining this three-part formula with botanical ingredients and penetration enhancers is a more recent approach to targeting Hyperpigmentation." Woolery-Lloyd's full article on contains her full list of recommended combination treatments. - Which specific foods or solutions do you rely on to help keep your melanin production in check?