The first of my long-overdue skincare reviews is Bioderma’s Pigmentbio range. I tested and this way back in June and July, and was really impressed with the results.
Pigmentation is something that pretty much all of us in South Africa struggle with at some stage, thanks to our harsh sun. While sunlight is the main cause of pigmentation, it isn’t the only one. Genetics, hormones, medication, cosmetic sensitivity, inflammation and friction all cause pigmentation, too.
Our skin colour is made up of three components: melanin, blood and keratin. Interestingly, both melanin and keratin are protective agents. Keratin is a structural protein that protects epithelial cells (the epidermis contains epithelial cells), and melanin is the skin pigment that protects our DNA.
This is further split into two types: eumelanin is the darker coloured melanin that is most common in darker skinned people, and pheomelanin is the red/yellow melanin that is found in lighter skins. There is a third called neuromelanin, which is found in the brain. People with more eumelanin have better UV protection than lighter skinned people, but it doesn’t mean they are immune to sun damage. It is important for all skin types to be protected from the sun to prevent pigmentation and other skin concerns and diseases.
When our skin is exposed to UV radiation (the sun, or FAR worse, sunbeds), a process called melanogenesis is initiated. This is basically our body’s way of protecting itself – it produces melanin to absorb the UV radiation; helping to prevent it damaging cells. While it can do this effectively for a short while, there is an increased risk of a skin cancer called malignant melanoma, which is a cancer of the melanocytes (those are the melanin cells). South Africa has the second highest incidence of melanoma in the world, after Australia. According to CANSA, there are over 20 000 recorded cases, with 700 deaths each year. This is an incredibly high number considering the disease is almost completely preventable.
Basically, just wear sunscreen, kids.
Dr Jonathan Smith, the President of the Dermatology Society of South Africa was the guest speaker at the launch of the Pigmentbio range, and he explained the science behind the actives.
In 1975, a dermatologist called Dr Albert Klingman came up with a combination of ingredients to fight pigmentation. Until fairly recently, the Klingman’s Trio was the gold standard in treatment pigmentation. But due to it’s aggressive nature and the many side effects it often caused, it has now been banned in the EU and Australia, and can only be gotten with a prescription here in South Africa.
The trio consisted of hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation, retinoic acid to accelerate cell renewal and hydroquinone to decrease melanin.
Bioderma was inspired by this protocol, and developed something called Lumireveal Technology that mimics the 3-step process of the Klingman’s Trio, but without the harmful side effects.
There are 5 products in the range and it is indicated for all skin types – if you have pigmentation, this will work for you whether you have oily, dry, normal or sensitive skin.
First up is the Pigmentbio H2O Brightening Micellar Water (R221.99), which just the same way as the other Bioderma Micellar Waters, but this has the added benefit of reducing the appearance of dark marks.
The Pigmentbio Foaming Cream Brightening Cleanser (R209.99) contains AHAs to gently exfoliate the skin and active hydrators to replenish any lost hydration. It does foam, but not an excessive amount, so it won’t dry out the skin.
My favourite product is the Pigmentbio Daily Care SPF50+ (R359.99). This lightweight sunscreen absorbs quickly, leaving no residue, and it works wonderfully under makeup.
The Pigmentbio Night Renewer Brightening Overnight Care (R 399.99) comes in a close second. The gel-like texture is a dream and the formula visibly brightens the complexion overnight.
And finally, there is a very clever product – the Pigemntbio Sensitive Areas Targeted Brightening Care (R199.99) is for those areas that darken from friction from clothes and hair removal. I haven’t tested this because I don’t have any areas that need it. But I know a lot of people suffer with dark patches under their arms, on their bikini lines and behind their knees. This is designed to target pigmentation in these areas – remember that this is for external use only!