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We all go to great lengths to keep our skin looking it’s best, clear with a luminous glow. Whilst we focus on the end result and managing the health of our skin, pigmentation is one of the most common and unwanted skin conditions.
Pigmentation in all forms can lie unnoticed in the lower layers of the epidermis for sometimes years before appearing on the face.
What is pigmentation
Pigmentation refers to changes in the melanin or pigment of skin. Pigmentation is the colour of a person’s skin and can in some cases be indicative of the person’s state of health. Excessive sun exposure may be responsible for structural changes in the skin that will not be obvious for many years, this is a major contributing factor to pigmentation.
Different types of pigmentation
Hyper-pigmentation – or the darkening of the skin in certain areas such as the forehead, around the eyes, around the cheeks and lips. This is the appearance of brown spots which are caused by the overproduction of melanin by melanocytes in the dermis.
Hypo-pigmentation – is a loss of skin pigment where the body does not produce sufficient melanin. It can often appear after an infection, burn or ulcer heals and the skin then may lose some of its pigment in that area.
Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation or PIH – is caused by trauma to the skin such lesions, acne, excessive cosmetic treatments. They are dark spots that remain long after the initial inflammation has healed.
Melasma or Chloasma –In a more symmetrical pattern, hormonal melasma is caused by overstimulation of melanocytes in response to increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Most common in women, hormonal melasma can occur after pregnancy, in women with a history of taking oral contraceptive pill or in those undergoing hormonal therapy. The condition can become worse with UV exposure, overheating the blood, stress, and medications. In some cases this can appear after harsh cosmetic treatments.
Ephelides or Freckles – are flat circular spots that generally develop on fair people after repeated directed exposure to sunlight. Freckles are also genetic and benign.
Solar Lentigo or Lentigines – are pigmented spot/s with clearly defined edge. They can occur anywhere over the body and vary in colour from a lighter brown to very dark almost black. Lentigines are caused by UV sun-exposure and must be monitored and checked by a physician annually.
Regardless of the cause, pigmentation is treated with a similar approach.
Topical treatment incorporating vitamin A to normalise cell function
Vitamin C to protect DNA and niacinamide the active form of vitamin B to inhibit the melanin and lighten existing pigmentation
Protection from UVA/UVB rays with a sunscreen consisting of SPF30 plus. The sun’s rays actually speed up how active your skin cells, or melanocytes are. Melanocytes produce melanin which is the pigment that gives your skin it’s colour. The more direct exposure to the sun’s radiation means more pigment in the skin. Investing in a good pair of sunglasses, hat and umbrella will also assist with protection.
Do not pick acne spots and blemishes so that they have the opportunity to heal
Treatments can help to break down the pigmentation such as skin peels that are vitamin A based and in some cases IPL or intense pulsed light.
Fighting the appearance of pigmentation is involves multiple aspects to be successful.
To learn more about how our tailored skin treatments can help your pigmentation, call us today on 1300 437758