Pigmentation, Skin Concern

Pigmentation and What to do About It

Pigmentation Products

Understanding Hyperpigmentation

Pigmentation, dark marks and blemishes affect over 40% of us and tend to become a major concern from our thirties onwards. Read on to find out what pigmentation is, how you can manage it and which products will tackle this widespread skin condition.


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What is pigmentation?

Melanin is brown pigment that creates the various shades and colours of human skin. Your colouring is determined by the amount of melanin in the skin. Without melanin, the skin would be pale white with shades of pink caused by blood flow through the skin. Fair skinned people produce very little melanin; darker skinned people produce moderate amounts, and very dark skinned people produce the most. People with albinism have little or no melanin and thus their skin appears white or pale pink. Usually, melanin is fairly evenly distributed throughout the skin, but sometimes people have spots or patches of skin with more melanin. Examples include freckles, age spots (lentigines), and melasma. Melanin is produced by specialized cells, melanocytes, that are scattered among the other cells in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. After melanin is produced, it spreads into other nearby skin cells.

Pigmentation Products

Pigment disorders

Pigment disorders can be widespread and affect many areas of skin, or they can be localized and affect only certain areas of the skin. The pigmentation changes these disorders can result in are depigmentation – a loss of pigment leaving the skin white, and hypopigmentation – an abnormally low amount of melanin leaving the skin or areas of the skin lighter than expected.

These issues are most often caused by the following:

  1. Albinism, vitiligo, or previous injury like blisters, ulcers, burns, chemical exposure, and skin infection
  2. Inflammatory conditions of the skin, like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis
  3. Rare hereditary conditions.


is usually caused by an abnormally high amount of melanin, but sometimes it is caused by other pigmented substances that are not normally present in the skin. The skin is darker in colour and sometimes is a different colour than expected. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by:

  1. Exposure to sunlight
  2. Disorders that cause inflammation
  3. Certain medication and drugs
  4. Pregnancy and other hormonal changes: Melasma or Chloasma.

Treatments and therapies for hyperpigmentation:

  1. Chemical peels
  2. Laser therapy
  3. Topical products


Most important is a good SPF, preferably SPF 50 or higher that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These literally block and reflect harmful UV rays that lead to damage, pigmentation, and oxidative stress within the skin.

This is the main reason why we dispense both at our practice and on our site: skinmiles.com Heliocare and SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defence SPF 50, and Physical Eye UV Defence SPF 50.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A has been shown to help increase collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines, improve the texture of the skin, and most important for pigmentation sufferers, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Take a look at Neoretin’s amazing ingredient properties  (vitamin A, Kojic acid, and retinoate).

SkinCeuticals RETINOL 0.3 one weekly application (pure vitamin A).

To lighten and reduce pigmentation

There are a number of ingredients to look out for that help to reduce pigmentation:

  • Alphahydroxy acids (glycolic, kojic acid)
  • Vitamin C
  • Liquorice extract
  • Bearberry
  • Mulberry extract
  • Salicylic acid, Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic acid, Ellagic acid

Of the number of skin pigment topical treatments out there, SkinMiles have brought you products that are backed by science:

  1. SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector
  2. Neoretin Gelcream SPF 50 for daytime use, and Neoretin Booster Serum for use at night

For more information and solutions, go to Shop by Skin Concern -> Pigmentation


About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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5 thoughts on “Pigmentation and What to do About It

  1. Belinda says:

    i have always wondered if retinol was an option for me, now I know

  2. estelle says:

    thanks dr alek for video and information which helps me

  3. Diana says:

    thanks for the great video, looks like an easy skin regime to follow

  4. shirley says:

    thanks dr alek for informative info – i will also visit your website http://www.skinmiles.com

  5. sam101 says:

    Thank you for the great info on pigmentation. Can’t wait to try the SkinCeuticals Retinol

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