How to tackle pigmentation - from one of Hollywood's top dermatologists

We asked a top Hollywood dermatologist how to tackle pigmentation once and for all...

One thing I’ve noticed after asking Instagram for the beauty questions they want answered? Skin concerns are pretty common… But I am here to help, guys! Keep them coming @alexlight_ldn and I will aim to answer all of them as soon as possible. 

But for now? It’s all about pigmentation. Fran asked me: ‘How can I get rid of pigmentation on my chest? Mesotherapy was a waste and chemical peels at 30 is extreme.’

Pigmentation is quite a frequent complaint, especially for fair-skinned women (like myself). So I turned to Dr Dennis Gross, one of Hollywood’s top dermatologists whose A-list clientele includes Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Olivia Palermo, to help with a plan-of-action that tackles pigmentation for once and for all. 

First up, what, exactly, causes pigmentation? “There are several causes,” says Dr Dennis Gross. “There is one type, called melasma, that is caused by excess hormones - we often call it ‘the mask of pregnancy’ and it is made worse by sun exposure. But pigmentation can also be the result of trauma on the skin - this could be sun damage, acne scars or eve a bug bite. Your body copes with this trauma by producing an inflammatory reaction, which leads to the production of pigment.”

Dr Dennis Gross counts megastar Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as a client

Is there any way of preventing this? “Absolutely - you can prevent pigmentation by using sunscreen and making sure you are covered up with a sun hat or sun-protective clothing. Also be sure you are using an antioxidant with Vitamin C - this will help to neutralise damaging free radicals in skin, which helps prevent trauma.”

If it’s more of a cure you’re looking for, here’s how to treat pigmentation: “I recommend a gentle, daily chemical exfoliation,” says Dr Gross. “It is important that this exfoliation is gentle, as a harsh one can risk causing trauma to the skin which actually creates pigmentation instead of correcting it! 

“I recommend a gentle AHA leave-on product, like my Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peels, which are formulated with a cocktails of low-concentration acids to target multiple skincare concerns without causing irritation.”

And you know the Vitamin C you were told to add in to prevent pigmentation? This has extra bonus points as it doubles as a pigment lightener to reduce pigmentation. 

One last tip from Dr Gross: “Along with the prevention steps listed above, you need to make sure that you are treating the spots you have AND preventing new pigmentation from forming, so SPF is a must!”