Our skin, hair and eyes get colour from a pigment called melanin, which is present in varying degrees depending on how much a population has been exposed to the sun historically. Melanin plays a significant role in protecting the skin through blocking UVR (ultraviolet radiation) and visible light from penetrating the skin, and by exhibiting antioxidant effects by scavenging free radicals.
Special cells in the body are responsible for making melanin, and when these cells are damaged through the likes of sun exposure, injury, hormonal changes or certain medications, the production of melanin is affected and visible signs of pigmentation occur.
Pigmentation can be a result of too much melanin which results in darkened skin, age spots and freckles, or a result of too little melanin which would result in the likes of albinism and vitiligo.
Chronic exposure to the sun can cause an increase of melanin, resulting in hyperpigmentation leaving the skin darker in appearance and long lasting dark spots. Although sun exposure is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D, and for the release of necessary neurotransmitters, without the correct protection it can result in a suppressed immune system, premature ageing, DNA damage and a reduction in both collagen and elastin resulting in sagging and toughened skin. It is thought to take up to 7 years for sun damage to become visible, so it’s crucial to look after our skin now as protection for the future.
So, how do we help this? It is vital to support pigmentation from the inside out. Antioxidants have an incredible ability to scavenge and stabilise free radicals to prevent oxidative damage and inflammation. They can work on preexisting cellular damage already caused by free radicals, and reduce the risk of further altered DNA. Antioxidants are important through both diet and skin care routine for ultimate protection and repair.
Our Nutritional Therapy Team can support with all aspects of diet, including how to increase your daily antioxidant intake. Hormonal conditions can also affect pigmentation, as can digestive health. If you need any support in any of these areas please get in touch.
Antioxidants are an essential part of any diet due to their ability to scavenge free radicals, support the immune system and repair damaged DNA from oxidative damage and protect from further exposure. There are specific antioxidants which play an important role in preventing and repairing pigmentation: Antioxidant Nutrient Complex
Carotenoids: Precursors to vitamin A, a key antioxidant in helping to normalise the appearance of pigmentation. This can be found in yellow and red foods such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, peppers and tomatoes. Beta Carotene Complex
Vitamin C: Thought to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase which helps to prevent melanin production. This can be found in citrus fruit, kiwis, broccoli, leafy greens, peppers and berries. Vitamin C 500mg + Zinc
Vitamin E: An important fat soluble antioxidant which has powerful photo-protective properties. When combined with vitamin C, it’s creates incredible protective benefits. Can be found in nuts, seeds, spinach, olive oil and whole grains. Vitamin E - mixed tocopherols
Green tea: Contains EGCG which possesses incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. EGCG also has the ability to fight off DNA damage in skin cells by promoting repair, whilst reducing the appearance of dark spots and blemishes. Organic Matcha powder is more potent than green tea teabags, however either will show some benefits. Green Tea 500mg
Viridian Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin, also know as the internal sunscreen which has the ability to block UV rays and inhibit the overproduction of melanin. It doesn’t shield or absorb light, so alone it’s not enough for protection, but alongside a good sunscreen this is the perfect choice for minimising the risk of pigmentation and dark spots. It’s also a very powerful and stable antioxidant which doesn’t become pro-oxidant once in the body like some other antioxidants.
The Beauty Chef Antioxidant Inner Beauty Boost: A fruity elixir which contains key antioxidants for protection and repair of skin and pigmentation. Consists of green tea which has the ability to reduce DNA damage in skin cells, vitamin C and pomegranate extract which inhibits the enzyme responsible for excess melanin production and some additional supportive gut bacteria which ensures all the toxins gathered by the scavenging antioxidants are excreted properly and neutralised.
Viridian S.P.F Skin Pro-Factors: Containing just 4 powerful antioxidants astaxanthin, superoxide dismutase, natural beta carotene and grape seed extract. Astaxanthin is known as the internal sunscreen, superoxide dismuatse prevents free radical damage to the skin, natural beta carotene normalises the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots and grape seed extract has been known for its ability to lighten skin, even out skin tone, enhance brightness and minimise the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage or hormonal changes.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum: A more effective, cleaner and more natural version of this cult classic, Caudalie have reformulated their best selling Vinoperfect Serum, and we love it. This serum corrects the appearance of existing dark spots and evens the complexion, making it brighter. It is effective on all types of dark spots (sun, acne, melasma, age) and is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive. Many years ago, Caudalie patented an ingredient found in the grape vines called Viniferine. Viniferine is completely natural and has been shown to be 62 times more effective than vitamin C, in inhibiting tyrosinase, and enzyme which contributes to melanin production.
The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen: The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen comes in both SPF 30 & 50, for all year protection. Made with the highly effective titanium and zinc oxide, two naturally occurring minerals which have the ability to protect from the sun’s UVA & UVB radiation. Also contains rose hip which is rich in provitamin A for antioxidant protection.
The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Gel & Serum: Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and herbal extracts such as grapefruit, MSM, lemon and carrot, which work synergistically together to support the reversal of sun damage. Also found in the duo is alpha lipoic acid which has shown to improve UV-induced pigmentation and skin permeability, along with rosehip which is used to reduce severe pigmentation and improve the appearance of scars.
Oskia Renaissance Brightlight: Clinically proven to help target hyper-pigmentation, fade the appearance of dark spots, sun damage and uneven skin tone. The combination of bio-available actives and nutrients such as glutathione, MSM, vitamin C, zinc, prebiotics, niacinamide and Swiss cress liposomes, have shown to work synergistically together to reduce hyper-melanin content by 14% in just 28 days. One of the key ingredients, glutathione, is considered to be the body’s master antioxidant that inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase which stimulates hyper-melanin production.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.