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Your questions answered: pigmentation


A recent question came in to #AYBNI from a lady in her 40’s who has stubborn pigmentation and religiously doesn’t sunbathe but hates being pale and wanted to know what I would advise.

This is an increasingly common concern for the majority of people nowadays. Not just due to increased sun temperatures, overseas holidays etc. but also pigmentation which is caused by hormonal changes or imbalances, side effects of medication, genetics and previous sun burn can affect so many of us. Also, we feel the increased pressure from celebrities, magazines and ad campaigns showing 100% even skin tone as the norm – but this is not the norm!

Even celebrities have pigmentation issues that they camouflage with laser and light technologies, by having a make-up artist 24/7 and not authorising a photo without an airbrush touch up.

For your home beauty routine, use products primarily designed to fall into two categories. Your priority active ingredients must be to lessen the pigmentation with peeling and de-clumping ingredients. If you have a more normal skin choose something similar to Alpha H Liquid gold or if you have sensitive/menopausal skin then Elemis Tri-enzyme, Radical or Gatineau Age Benefit.  We also have a few new products coming up as this is a definite growing need.

The other set of ingredients that you should focus on is protection from the sun to prevent the melanin cells being over stimulated. This can definitely be done extremely successfully now with UltraSun anti pigmentation factor 50. This combines your day cream with anti-pigmentation ingredients which help lighten the look of the pigmentation, as well as your all day non-deteriorating SPF.

So, if you could use a combination of this in the morning and then the fore-mentioned skincare brands at night, that would be your perfect skin routine.

fiaona mc12446 copyIf you want to take this further, currently the Tria Anti-Ageing Laser can work down deeper into the skin to de-clump the over stimulated pigment cells and can give a further result if you wish to use technology and a clinic procedure at home. Also, we have some other handheld devices that can be easily used at home that mirror salon-style treatments launching over the next year.

To give an instant bronzed look to the skin, stay away from strong self-tans as in one application they can often take with a deeper staining on the pigmented area and then you will have to wait a week for it to fade. However, self-tans can be good if you use the gentler, lower concentration DHA formulas which give a progressive tan effect and can be applied over several nights. If you are clever, you can avoid applying them in the more heavily pigmented areas.

Great ones for this would be the James Read, the new launch Utan Night Cream and also Judith Williams has a tanning cream too.

Elemis also have a progressive bronzer for the face. Gel textured tints are an easy quick fix and don’t take any more on the pigmented areas as they have no DHA or self-tan ingredients in them.

A really easy kit that we have at the moment is from Benefit which contains the liquid Hoola which we launched first globally as well as the famous award winning bronzing powder, Hoola.  hoola editSome of the more natural tints such as Perricone’s no foundation foundation, Josie Maran, Stila’s CC cream or, if you need a bit more coverage, especially with a bit of a matte finish, the Benefit Big Easy will just help to soften the look of the pigmentation without going to full coverage, and the easiest blurring product is definitely the Judith Williams Magic Make-up which you can use either on its own or blend it on top of an existing complexion product to keep the skin looking quite natural through the summer.

If you do need full coverage, things like the Laura Gellar Real Deal or Doll10 Conceal it Concealer as well as the Cover FX pallete are great options.
Also if you prefer more of a liquid finish that is not shiny, consider the Tarte Coverage Concealer.


  1. Jacqui Hand May 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    Please could you advise which Philip Kingsley shampoo and conditioner I should use.
    I have natural blonde big curly hair which is on the dry side.
    I use Philip Kingsley Elasticizer .
    I’m currently using Wen which is lovely but would like to try Philip Kingsley.

  2. DAWN JOHNSON May 23, 2015 at 6:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison just a quick question, I have been using hyaluronic acid serum on my skin for a while I love the fresh glow it gives me, but for some reason the area between my nose and mouth looks like a trout pout making my mouth push out and giving me a sad expression, could the percentage of hyaluronic acid be to high for me.

  3. Sara Louise Hodgson May 23, 2015 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison I have red broken capillaries on my chin cheeks and nose. I need something to close my stretched open pores. My skin isn’t wrinkled but I have tiny lines that disappear when I pull my skin up. So slackness is an issue too. I currently cleanse with perricone facial wash and use l’occtitane day face cream ( blue pot) . I use lulu bomb night flash bomb cream with the collagen cream and serum alternated. I use lulu neck and jaw too. I also have milia in the corners of my eyes where the dark line is. Any recommendations please

  4. Helen May 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, for the last 3 weeks I’ve been using Judith Williams Future Skin serum and the results on my pigmentation and pore size are remarkable – as well as texture, clarity, firmness and plumpness!!! So much so that I have already bought a second one. I’m not needing to use as much concealer and foundation, really impressed. Josie Maran foundation with Argan oil and Mally pen concealer, I really do look years younger :))

  5. joan gibson May 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison.I was wondering if you could help me when i was 46 i went through the change i took bad depression Im on medication still I am now 57 also at the time the dentist found white lines in my mouth I am allergic to E numbers which are in the food to prolong the shelf life numbers are 210 to 219 they also found I have a condition called linchen plasma by eating the wrong food it can cause mouth cancer also the ingredients are in perfume makeup shampoo and washing powders and bathing stuff etc lots of things I watch your programs alot I also have broken veins on my chin I was wondering if you could find any makeup which could help me without these ingredients in them also cinnamon Sodium benzoate any kind of benzoates parfum and parbense I would be Gratefull If you could find anything I could use YOURS J GIBSON.

  6. Diane May 24, 2015 at 8:02 pm -  Reply

    Thank you Alison for this great advice on a very distressing problem for those of us with pigmentation and explaining that skin is skin whoever it belongs to & no one is perfect!
    I use Alpha H which has faded my large patches of dark pigmentation on my neck very considerably, I protect with Ultrasun Anti Pigmentation 50+
    I also use James read Sleep Mask Tan for my face & neck, Doll 10 concealer & Tarte foundation or BB & concealer.
    With good products & advice from you the results I have achieved have made me feel much more confident, this combination has been very successful for me.
    With gratitude.

  7. Jennifer Jones May 28, 2015 at 11:19 am -  Reply

    I have been advised that I am suffering with contact dermatitis, and must not us products containing Lanolin. Can you advise what products I should aim for. For make up I usually go for bareminerals, ybf, and Laura Gellar. I am new to this so am peering at labels on products.

  8. Sarah Jordan April 27, 2016 at 2:14 pm -  Reply

    I was just wondering if I can use the Apha h instant facial under my Ultrasun anti pigmentation spf 50 or if I need to put the Ultrasun on first then let it absorb before I go in with the instant facial.
    Thank you

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