Gill South: On the face of it

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In a bid to tackle pigmentation Gill South goes for a therapeutic facial with mixed results.

Ultraviolet rays can cause much skin damage such as hyperpigmentation - dark spots. Photo / Thinkstock
Ultraviolet rays can cause much skin damage such as hyperpigmentation - dark spots. Photo / Thinkstock

After another summer in the blazing sun - well let's face it, it's only recently that we've had blazing sun, but remember I am a cricket mum - I'm taking myself off for a pigmentation reduction treatment. The Arya Day Spa in Mt Eden has a UV doo-dacky able to spot any pigmentation that may be lurking under the skin.

Apparently pigment melanin gives our skin protection against harmful ultraviolet rays. The overproduction of melanin, or hyperpigmentation - dark spots, is caused by sun exposure among other things.

I have this pigmentation mark, in fact two, it turns out, on the bridge of my nose, handily hidden for most of the time by my glasses or sunglasses. I am curious to see how bad this is. According to Michelle, my beauty therapist, the pigmentation on my nose is quite dark and deep and I should have it checked by my skin cancer specialist. I also have some spots lurking beneath the skin around my right cheek bone. I was vaguely aware that the pigmentation appeared on my nose around my second pregnancy.

Pregnant women are more prone to developing increased facial pigmentation I find, researching this online. It occurs when pregnant women are more exposed to sunlight, apparently. Well I certainly wasn't when I was pregnant in Pennsylvania, it was either snowing and freezing or too hot to go outside. It's likely the sun exposure happened in my youth, Michelle tells me.

I look up some pictures of pigmentation conditions on the NZ Dermatology Society website and I see my nose is really pretty piddling in the scheme of things. People don't run screaming when they see me, I more likely having to point it out to them.

Still, I make an appointment to see Dr Sharad Paul, my skin cancer doctor, for my annual check. I see he is up for New Zealander of the Year, so there's a bit of a queue to see him.

Meanwhile, my pigmentation reduction session at Arya promises to soothe and moisturise while delivering lightening and brightening to my skin to help diminish age spots and sun damage. A minimum of four treatments is required for optimum results.

Michelle uses a variety of unguents on my nose and face including Osmosis StemFactor and Catalyst, which is good for skin damage and DNA repair. She also uses Vede & Crede Soothing Facial Serum, which is rather lush and contains Bulgarian Rose Absolute Oil, ideal for nourishing sensitive, neglected and/or mature skin. I remember another cream that smelled like mushed-up vegetables. My car smells of this for a good 24 hours afterwards.

I give my son a fright when I pick him up from school straight from the treatment. My face looks like I've been playing squash for three hours. He's a boy, he doesn't say anything, just gives me some odd looks and I decide not to stop by at St Lukes on the way home, just in case I scare small children.

I always have some side effects after a facial. I have a couple of lovely spots a couple of days later but my skin feels nice and moist.

Michelle gives me some practical tips - like special eye and neck creams are really unnecessary, just using the same stuff all over is fine. Vitamin C is also great for the skin, she says.

Next week:

The search to do some kind of regular exercise continues. As my waist has well and truly disappeared from sight over summer, I thought I'd have a stab at swimming. I'm attending an adult's class at the Trent Bray Swim School.

- NZ Herald

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