That summer glow: flawless, tanned skin; a dusting of freckles; a look that says ‘just stepped out of the surf.’
Yet however fresh and healthy your skin looks in the mirror, the reality is that – in the deeper layers – all that carefree sun exposure has wreaked havoc with your cells. In fact, your golden tan is evidence of your skin’s attempt to protect itself from harmful UV rays.
Here’s the science.
Ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light from the sun (and computer screens, FYI) causes an inflammatory response at the bottom of the epidermal layer of the skin.
Present at this level are melanocytes – cells whose function is to produce melanin. The inflammatory message causes the melanocytes to kick-start a process of oxidation, whereby an amino acid called tyrosine stimulates production of the enzyme tyrosinase, which in turn creates melanin.
That melanin is transferred through dendrites (finger-like structures) that connect the melanocyte to the keratinocytes (skin cells). There, it is deposited to create what we refer to as a tan.
There are a few complications that can occur as part of this transfer process. Each one of us experiences a different inflammatory response, which can be altered by internal factors such as hormone changes. This leads to varying outcomes in the production and distribution of melanin.
Secondly, continued UV and infrared exposure over time, or trauma (sunburn), can affect the melanocytes’ ability to produce melanin and transfer it to the keratinocytes. It can also impact on the quality and overall structure of the skin cells themselves.
To demonstrate, let’s look at younger, oil-free skin without acne. The melanocytes here are in tip-top condition; the dendrites distribute melanin evenly to fresh keratinocytes; and the result is an even, flawless tan.
But as we age, we lose collagen and elastin. We may experience hormonal changes or suffer from breakouts from excessive sebum, and the skin’s ability to renew itself slows down. This often leads to thicker skin that is less efficient when it comes to producing and distributing melanin during sun exposure.
Typically, as your skin ages and is exposed to more UV light, you’ll start to see areas of visible pigmentation and uneven skin tone. In some cases, where the melanin to keratinocyte distribution is deeper due to hormonal or long-term changes, you might notice darker patches of discolouration known as melasma (or chloasma, when it occurs during pregnancy).
So when the clocks change this autumn and you start dreaming of next year’s summer holiday, or even some winter sun, take the time to invest in your skin and help rebuild its defences. Treat this year’s pigmentation and uneven tone now, to help prevent long-term damage and future pigmentation problems.
Wondering Where To Start?
We’ve discussed a number of options in previous skin health posts on the Paul Edmonds London blog, so settle down with a nice cup of tea (full of antioxidants!) and enjoy reading through them.
At both our London salons we offer a range of cosmeceutical products (such as Skinceuticals), as well as medical, prescription-only options including ZO Skin Health Products. These can help to reduce and remove pigmentation whilst significantly improving the condition of your skin as part of an on-going maintenance programme.
Want To Make a Real Change?
Ask the Paul Edmonds London skin health specialists about tailored treatments that help reduce and redistribute pigmentation to create a more even skin tone and a flawless complexion.
They might recommend our new Skin Bright Facial or Illuminating Facial. Both target specific signs of pigmentation, whilst amplifying the efforts you put in at home to care for your skin.
ZO Skin Health Skin Bright Facial
The Skin Bright Facial uses ZO Skin Health Products in conjunction with state-of-the-art, non-surgical techniques like microdermabrasion and transdermal mesotherapy to create an instant, flawless and illuminating finish.
Your therapist will start by combining glycolic and lactic acid with microdermabrasion to remove dead skin cells and prepare the skin to absorb all the wonderful ingredients to follow. This step delivers powerful anti-inflammatories that help reduce the signs of redness or sensitivity, and Rosa Canina Fruit Extract to tighten and smooth pores.
Next, the skin bright formula is applied using needle-free transdermal mesotherapy. This unique blend of skin brighteners blocks the production of melanin, whilst at the same time restoring and replenishing the skin with a surge of hydration.
With melanin creation blocked, the formula can get to work to distribute any existing pigmentation more evenly across your complexion, exfoliating and removing upper layers of dead skin and discolouration as part of the process.
Finish with optional LED Photo Dynamic Therapy to treat any acne or circulatory problems, and leave the salon with skin that is radiant, refreshed and ready for your next trip to the sunshine.
90 mins £250 with LED
SkinCeuticals Illuminating Express Facial
This speedy, 30-minute treatment incorporates SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum, a triple-action formula that inhibits melanin production. Ingredients such as niacinamides help remove and reduce existing pigmentation; whilst HEPES work to continually remove dead skin cells.
Your skin health specialist will also incorporate a Vitamin C masque to help brighten and illuminate, which blends light glycolic and lactic acids with powerful antioxidants, such as phloretin, to help remove oxidation and pigmentation.
These perfect partners work hand-in-hand to treat uneven skin tone and leave skin with a true ‘healthy glow’ – and all on your lunch break!
30mins – £60
Both of these treatments are great for pigmentation concerns. Before your facial, your aesthetician will assess your pigmentation type and guide you through the best treatments to tackle, manage and improve your skin concern.
Book an appointment and look forward to making a real difference to your skin’s health.
Want To Start Your Journey To Flawless Skin At Home?
The aestheticians at Paul Edmonds London recommend:
All of these products and more are available to purchase online and from Paul Edmonds London salons. Please call our team for further advice on keeping your skin in flawless condition.