Pigmentation of the skin, like wrinkles, is a give away for aging skin. Daily sun exposure is the catalyst. During pregnancy, the dreaded melasma is referred to as chloasma gravidarum and colloquially, “the mask of pregnancy.” Hormonal changes and stress combined with genetic predisposition can cause melasma, and then you can really have a problem on your hands.
The new Japanese skincare system Equitance is geared for people who have every day hyperpigmentation from sun damage or the skin disorder melasma which can be brought on by pregnancy. “The evidence of hyper-pigmentation is just one way our skin reveals age and sun damage” said Dr. Annie Chiu, board-certified dermatologist and owner of The Derm Institute. “The treatment of melasma is one of the toughest, as you can get it under control but it takes just minutes of exposure without the right products protecting the skin and you are back to square one.”
“Hyperpigmentation is one of my clients’ leading skin concerns. It can affect any skin type. UV rays, stress, hormones, diet and inflammation from any trauma can all cause hyperpigmentation. Regardless of how prevalent, it is still one of the most challenging skin conditions to treat,” says Dr. Chiu.
Melasma occurs in all skin types, but women who are of Latino, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent are more likely to see it occur. Melasma occurs when a group of skin cells that produce melanin, known as melanocytes, are activated and stay that way. As the melanocytes continue to produce more pigment, the skin gets darker.
Dr. Chiu noted that melasma’s only symptom is skin discoloration. So if you also have pain, tenderness or itchy skin, be sure to speak with your dermatologist immediately.
But ultimately you must avoid the sun. Dr. Chiu stresses that if you’ve already had treatment for melasma, sun exposure will reverse any improvement.
Look for sunscreens that say broad-spectrum UVA/UVB, and contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are deemed safe during pregnancy, Dr. Chiu said. Equitance’s Broad Spectrum lightweight lotion “is a combination of mineral and chemical sunscreens so you get the benefit of both”
“I love this particular sunscreen for the quality ingredient deck,” said Dr. Chiu. The Equitance Brightening Skin Care Collection uses a patented microcapsule technology to deliver Linoleic acid to the skin for a maximized brightening effect. “The key ingredient is Shell Ginger Extract which is derived from the Japanese alpinia speciosa leaf. Its intense moisturizing properties help brighten the skin. “Linoleic Acid, extracted from safflower seed oil and purified helps to significantly minimize the appearance of dark spots. It also promotes the exfoliation of the stored melanin that form dark spots,” said Dr. Chiu. Also included are Ascorbyl Glucoside – a vitamin C derivative with skin-brightening powers. In liquid topical skin care formulas, vitamin C derivative is more stable, maximizing its beneficial function better than vitamin C itself. Included also is Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, made from licorice, possesses soothing properties. Dr. Chiu was effusive about the Cherry Blossom Leaf Extract that is in the formulation too. “This is culled from the Japanese sakura tree and possesses properties that sooth and soften rough skin.”
Another item Dr. Chiu raved about was the Equitance Skin Radiance Dietary Supplement ($50) to promote wellness from within and enhance natural radiance was a big hit with her patients. An exclusive blend of herbs, antioxidants and vitamins C & B6 provide nutrition while supporting overall wellness is calibrated to work hand in hand with the botanicals and proven technology found in the Equitance topical formulas. This formulation was one of our favorite beauty finds of 2015 thus far.
In particular, I loved the brand’s “hero” product: The Brightening Serum and Spot Corrector ($125). So smart and perfectly sized for travel too. For oilier skins, you can use this without the cream over it. With 83% of women reporting a diminished appearance of dark spots, patented technology continuously delivers the key brightening ingredient of Linoleic acid to the skin. Seal in all that brightening work with the ultra-light Hydrating Brightening Cream ($70) to protect the skin against drying environmental aggressors — all while continuing to brighten skin.
If you are the least bit curious, you must order the reasonably priced ($30-$125) Japanese skincare brand Equitance online for now. The company has a tight group of six items that work together to address pigmentation issues, whether they be melasma or just garden variety sun damage. The company has built its 18-year legacy discovering the key natural ingredients it takes to promote a healthy and brighter outer skin layer.
The Equitance Brightening Skin Care Collection contains a 6-piece regimen (there’s a very affordable travel kit of smaller sizes, pictured above) modeled after the brand’s innovative scientific discovery of Linoleic acid, a natural ingredient extracted from safflower seed oil, that when purified is shown to have a measurable effect on overall skin brightening and minimizing dark spots.
You’ll begin your skin brightening journey with the rich-lathering Facial Foaming Cleanser ($30), containing cherry blossom leaf extract (to soothe and soften rough skin) and shell ginger extract (to further moisturize) to impart a brightening effect. After purifying your skin, remove remaining dull-skin cells with the Brightening Toning Lotion ($50), as its main ingredient glycosyl trehalose (found in tapioca and potato starch) soothes, moisturizes and tones.