We all know by now that skin pigmentation and tones vary not only on ethnicity and where you live, but also on the amount of direct or indirect sun exposure on a daily basis. A common assumption though is that people can only do skin depigmenting treatments only during the cooler winter period of the year. Let’s focus on this question, which is one so often asked to all dermatologists and skin care professionals around the world.
In France, Northern Europe and North America the answer is no :
Firstly, in the northern hemisphere we have seasonal variations, in the climate which directly impact on the lifestyle habits and behavior of people and their relationship with the sun. It is a customary habit among French dermatologists and physicians and their European counterparts not to practice depigmentation treatments during the summer season, however the reasoning behind this can be argued to be founded more often social and cultural bias than based on medical evidence.
French people are truly sun-lovers and sometimes even sun-worshippers. There is a pervasive belief in our culture that a tan connotes health, affluence and even beauty. This can be seen in fashion magazines and the entertainment media. French businesses and medical offices all close at some point over the 2 summer months, and the country’s activity definitely grinds to a halt between July 15th and August 15th of each year; offices and companies are totally deserted, production and supply chain stops as well for a month at least. Sixty per cent of the French population go on vacation mainly to the coast and beach at some point between early July and the first days of September. This cultural behavior inevitably has repercussions on patient’s discipline when it comes to abiding to treatment protocols and keeping to appointments with the physician or dermatologist. Not to mention that dermatologists also leave for vacation during this time of year, which impacts on the continuity of any treatment protocol.
The irony is that people appear more worried about the dangers of doing a depigmenting treatment during the summer months than the health dangers of tanning itself. The fact is that there is no such thing as “A safe sun tan”. A tan generated by ultraviolet (UV) exposure offers, has an intuitive appeal but scientific evidence has proved it provides a very low level of protection against sunburn. Scientific evidence that UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer is unquestionable even in dark skin.
Many people do not suspect or realize that many common medications can exacerbate the noxious effect of the sun on our skin any time of the year. Photosensitizing medications such as certain antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications which people maybe taking during their vacation, can unknowingly render their skin more vulnerable to the development of unwanted pigmentation disorders, that will become apparent once their sun tan fades. As many skin disorders can be provoked by or worsen following excess UV exposure, a visit to a dermatologist or medical skin expert, during the summer vacation period therefore is highly recommended as a healthy lifestyle habit.
In Tropical and desert climates, the answer is yes :
Elsewhere in the world in equatorial regions such as Singapore or Indonesia the weather is hot, humid and rainy all year round and temperatures never go below 23°C. In Africa the continent’s northern half is primarily desert or arid, while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains and hot humid jungle. In the Middle East the desert climates comprise of hot summers and mild winters when the temperature averages 24°C, the equivalent to summer temperatures in France.
The point being that in these tropical and desert climates, attitudes towards skin depigmentation treatments and their seasonality is very different. These populations live with strong UV radiation all year around, they have learnt to live in these conditions by adapting their lifestyle accordingly.
Just as tanned skin has cult status in western cultures, in these countries it is the opposite, pervasive cultural belief is that a lighter skin tone connotes health, affluence, beauty and success. This can be seen in fashion magazines and local entertainment and media. These populations avoid exposing their skin to the sun and take maximum precautions not to suntan. Doctors and patients are accustomed to doing depigmenting treatments even when its 30°C outside and the UV radiation is strong. Low season also corresponds to the holiday periods at different time of the year which correspond to local religious or cultural festivals such as the Chinese New Year, when patients and doctors go on holidays making it a low season for depigmenting treatments.
It is clear therefore that the so-called seasonality of when one can or cannot or should or should not do peelings and skin depigmenting treatments is very much based on the local cultural traditions rather than on seasonal contra indications which are relative depending on where one lives.
Nunii’s answer to depigmentation treatments and seasonality :
It is now a known fact that skin depigmentation treatments can in theory be prescribed and performed all year round. It all boils down to the responsibility and behavior of the patient themselves. It is imperative to follow some simple rules when embarking on a depigmentation treatment no matter what temperature or the season. If patients use non-irritating products ; if they avoid unnecessary direct exposure to the sun and can remain indoors in a cool or controlled temperature environment while undergoing the treatment. Or when they do go outdoors if they diligently and regularly apply a broad-spectrum sunblock on their skin, it is possible to do a skin lightening or depigmenting treatment any time of the year. It is all a question of common sense, personal patient discipline and whether patients live and work mostly indoors or outdoors. If patients take the right sun protection precautions and act responsibly, they can perfectly go about their day to day activities which doing a depigmenting treatment without incurring unwanted risks.
Our final piece of advice to patients wishing to undergo such a treatment is to choose a depigmentation formulation and protocol in which the depigmenting agent is applied during night time hours, which is logical when one considers that our skin is regenerated mostly at night, while we sleep. The part of the treatment to be applied during daytime should be designed to strengthen the skin against sun rays. The skin must be protected because as part of a peel based depigmenting protocol involves the exfoliation of the superficial layers of the skin which makes the skin more sensitive to UV radiation: it is therefore imperative that the skin be protected against the harmful effects of the sun during the daytime.
Nunii has developed a treatment protocol that is less aggressive and invasive than that of its competitors. Due to a specific and careful choice of ingredients, the skin of patients using Nunii depigmentation treatment is less weakened and inflamed and therefore there is no social downtime. This makes a significant difference in terms of the tolerance of the treatment even in warmer climates, the skin recovery time and therefore their skin will be less fragilized and vulnerable when re exposed to the sun after the treatment is completed.