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Skin tones can range from dark, golden brown to the pale, pinkish-white hues. The term ‘pigmentation’ refers to the skin’s natural colour, irrespective of any sun exposure. Inourskinwehave pigments called melanins that are produced by melanocyte cells to provide natural protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

Dark spots, skin discolouration, blotchiness, ephelides (freckles) and melasma, are all common skin concerns known as ‘hyperpigmentation’.

Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin resulting in darkening of the skin. Often this excessive melanin production forms clusters in localised areas resulting in patchy skin tones or dark spots.

The cause

What causes hyperpigmentation & age spots?

UV damage

The sun is the most common cause of excessive pigmentation production, as ultraviolet rays stimulate the production of free radicals that in turn, stimulate the production of melanin. The excess melanin forms clusters, which result in uneven patches, forming freckles, liver or age spots, or general blotchiness on the surface of the skin. This type of hyperpigmentation is usually located in areas of the skin most often exposed to the sun, such as the hands, face, arms, shoulders and forehead.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause can also cause hyperpigmentation, as the hormones can stimulate melanocytes to produce more melanin. This is known as melasma and manifests with patches of hyperpigmentation on the face including the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and chin. There is often a family history of melasma and it usually first occurs during pregnancy.

How is Hyperpigmentation from UV damage formed?

How hyperpigmentation is formed
  1. Ultra violet rays intiate the formation of free radicals. 
  2. UV light, together with free radicals, triggers biological agents that act on the pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes.
  3. Biological agents act to increase production of the pigment-producing enzyme called Tyrosinase.
  4. Tyrosinase processes the amino acid Tyrosine to form melanin pigments, which can have either a red or brown hue.
  5. Melanin is transferred as granules from melanocytes into surrounding keratinocytes to give the skin its colour. 
  6. Melanin is lost from the skin as cells migrate to the surface layers and are shed through the desquamation process. 

The Treatment

How to treat hyperpigmentation & age spots

  • Hyperpigmentation has a reputation of being difficult to treat. A great place to start is to book in for a professional skin consultation, where a trained Skin Technician can create a customised skincare program of homecare and professional treatments to treat your skin. In-clinic treatments such as peels and microdermabrasion help to target hyperpigmentation.
  • Apply topical products containing melanin inhibitors and exfoliants that work together to achieve the best possible results. This approach aims at decreasing the production of melanin at the source, while also treating the existing melanin in the upper layers of the skin
  • Use a Daily UV Protective Moisturiser to protect your skin from the sun every day and to prevent further damage.

Targeting Hyperpigmentation

KEY INGREDIENTS SPOTLIGHT:

Ultra Brightening System

Brightening range

The award-wining Ultra Brightening System features an advanced complex of surface pigment blockers and skin brightening ingredients to visibly improve the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, to enhance skin radiance. Drawing on the latest scientific research, the Ultra Brightening System uses a synergistic blend of ingredients to target surface hyperpigmentation in five different ways:

5 FUNCTIONS IN ONE RANGE

  • Hyperpigment pathway blockers

  • Bio-exfoliators

  • Chemical exfoliators

  • Skin brighteners

  • Pigment inhibitors

Brightening Ingredients

Naturally derived melanin inhibitors such as oxyresveratrol, bearberry and alpine plant extracts, including Melissa officinalis, have been tested and proven to be highly efficient in fading the appearance of hyperpigmentation. These ingredients work by inhibiting or disrupting production and activity of the enzyme tyrosinase, the main enzyme within melanocyte cells responsible for the production of pigment. 

Melissa officinalis Melissa officinalis, also referred to as balm mint, common balm, or lemon balm, is a perennial plant native to Southern Europe. Melissa officinalis is a member of the mint family, deriving its name from the Greek word for honey bee (Melissa), due to the fact that the small white flowers are like magnets to bees, attracting them to their blossoms regularly because of their sweetly scented nectar.
Oxyresveratrol

Oxyresveratrol is found in some plants such as white mulberry and monkey Jack. 

Bearberry Extract

Bearberry Extract, Also known as Uva Ursi, this botanical extract is rich in natural arbutin (a tyrosinase inhibitor), and is well known for its skin brightening properties. Bearberry helps to brighten the skin and to protect against long-term damage from oxidative stress.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) is shown to be an effective skin brightening agent that works by inhibiting melanosome transfer to keratinocytes.

Exfoliating ingredients

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) - Lactic Acid and Citric Acid AHAs work by breaking down the protein bonds between dead and living skin cells. By acting as exfoliants, AHAs cause the dead cells of the epidermis to loosen and slough off, while increasing cell turnover. Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) - Salicylic Acid Salicylic Acid acts as an exfoliator on the skin and is lipophilic (oil soluble). By being lipophilic, BHAs have the ability to act on the surface of the skin and in addition, the accumulated cells within oil glands, which can build up and clog pores. It also has some anti-irritant and anti-bacterial properties. Methyl Jasmonate Methyl jasmonate, a jasmonic acid derivative, is known to accumulate in the epidermis following topical application, and has been shown to promote the processes of epidermal renewal.

  • Baseline Panellist LF - Before
    ZoomAfter 4 months LF Panellist - After

real visible results

Thirteen healthy panellists, aged between 30-50 years old, with a range of skin types from combination to dry, were selected. They applied the Ultra Brightening product range over the course of 4 months and received professional Brightening Accelerator Mask treatments in-clinic.  All panellists used Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 during the day.

Panellist LF's results are shown here after applying the Ultra Brightening Range for four months. The skin is significantly less pigmented, and more radiant, texture is refined, and overall her skin tone has improved. 

Results may vary depending on individual skin conditions.

Shop products designed to treat hyperpigmentation and age spots

Visibly fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation and enhance skin luminosity with the the Ultra Brightening Range.

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