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Know your skin


This month, Michelle shares further wisdom on the issue of skin pigmentation.

I love this – another chance to continue with more skin education! Last month, I taught you about the melanocyte, the cell that was responsible for producing pigment in the skin as a protective measure. This month, I'm going to share with you what factors trigger this cell to go 'haywire' and produce unwanted dark spots and areas of uneven colour on the skin.
Although the melanocyte is responsible for the colour of our skin, its defence mechanisms are triggered by a wide variety of both internal and external factors. When triggered, it produces excess amounts of pigment, resulting in uneven skin colour and dark spots. As skin care sales representatives, recommending a product to improve these conditions can only be possible when you understand what first caused them.

Cause No. 1: UV exposure

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. Clearly, small amounts of exposure to the sun are critical and necessary for vitamin D production, and daily activities like walking to the shops or sitting out of doors during your lunch break are quite sufficient. However, extended time in the sun instantly triggers the melanocytes to produce melanin as a protective mechanism. And this in turn triggers the production of free radicals as well (but we'll save that topic for another time).

Cause No. 2: Hormones

Anything that triggers a hormonal imbalance will simultaneously trigger excess pigment production by the melanocytes. This could be due to a life change (puberty, pregnancy, menopause), medication, illness and – guess what else? Stress! Excess stress alters hormone levels in the body; and prolonged hormonal alterations trigger melanocytes to become activated.

Cause No. 3: Inflammation

Any type of inflammatory response in the skin can trigger excess pigment production. Culprits could be improper skin care, over exfoliation, aggressive chemical peeling, damage to the surface of the skin and a lack of moisture and protection.
These triggers can all result in uneven skin colouration and dark spots. Informing yourself about these causes will empower you with the ability to explain how and why appropriate skin care products and protection of the skin can improve these conditions.

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