"My history in skin cancer research and study in cell biology is what drives my innovation," says board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon, Dr Dennis Gross. "When I first started out as a skin cancer researcher, I was completely focused on research in the lab – I didn’t have a practice or see patients. I knew I wanted to be more hands on and actually see and help people, so I opened my dermatology practice. I started seeing patients regularly and began to notice the lack of efficacious skincare. There were a lot of products on the market, but they were mostly moisturisers and didn’t do anything for skin beyond hydration. The market was really lacking clinical skincare with active ingredients."
Determined to fill that void, he founded an eponymous skincare line alongside his wife, Carrie Gross in 2002. In the last two decades, his skincare products have achieved global popularity for its impressive efficacy. "To this day, Carrie and I are still inspired by my patients and using their feedback to create at-home skin health solutions," he adds.
In this e-mail interview with Tatler, the highly respected dermatologist shares his tips on how to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation.
"Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that is a response to sun exposure or injury of the skin. It can be triggered by hormones like melasma, environmental aggressors like sun exposure or pollution and skin injuries like eczema or acne," he says.
Is it true that Asian skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation? Does the heat and humidity of our climate play a part in this?
Darker skin tones in general are more prone to hyperpigmentation. Darker skin tones have more melanin (the natural skin pigment that determines skin tone). Because darker skin tones are already producing more melanin, when there is an over-production of melanin as a result of sun exposure or skin injury, they are more likely to develop hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Warmer climates generally means there is greater sun exposure and UVA/UVB intensity. Remember: the sun is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation!
What is the best way to prevent hyperpigmentation?
Prevention is key because hyperpigmentation is notoriously difficult to treat.The most important factor is always going to be wearing your SPF. You do not need to reach the point of redness in order for there to have been damage done.
- Do not pick at pimples or scars, this can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Do not use any irritating products if your skin is sensitive – this can also lead to inflammation and hyperpigmentation.
In addition to that, you want to be sure that you are incorporating a gentle chemical exfoliation into your daily skincare routine, like my Alpha Beta Daily Peels. My peels are a gentle chemical exfoliant that removes the top layer of dead, dull skin, helps to speed up cellular turnover and get rid of dark spots to reveal the vibrant skin underneath.