3 Effective Treatments for Pigmentation
Updated: Aug 20
The truth is that we all desire to have strong and healthy bodies, lustrous hair, beautiful cheekbones and full lips, but somehow, in our quest for these features most of us tend to neglect our skin. As we all know, the skin is the largest organ and most visible part of the body; thus, the first thing people notice when they look at you.
According to the American Association of Dermatologists, how you take care of your skin greatly affects your appearance. Similarly, studies suggest that poor skin health can affect us mentally and emotionally- it tends to promote poor self-image and low self-esteem.
Therefore, as you carefully plan your diet and workout routine, ensure that you also develop a suitable skincare plan for you. That said, one of the most common skin problems we face today is hyperpigmentation.
What is hyperpigmentation? Below is a brief elucidation of everything you should know about hyperpigmentation, including a list of three effective treatment options for this condition.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition where patches or spots of the skin tend to become darker than the normal surrounding skin. This is often caused when an excess of melanin (the pigment that gives the skin color) is deposited on various spots on the skin- often on your face, but also on the neck and chest and other sun-exposed areas
Some of the common types of hyperpigmentation include:
Age spots: These are small, dark spots that are often caused by sun damage. They usually appear on body parts that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as your face, chest, legs, and arms.
Melasma: This pesky condition causes brown or blue-gray patches or freckle-like spots on cheeks, nose, chin, along the jaw line, above the upper lip and forehead. It sometimes affects the arms, neck and back. It’s often called the “mask of pregnancy" as it is common during pregnancy and can be exacerbated by hormonal fluctuations. People with this condition are super sensitive to sun and even heat, both of which can make the skin discoloration worse.
Post-inflammatory: This type of hyperpigmentation usually occurs after Irritation or damage to the skin. Skin of color has more pigment (melanin) so there is more of a chance of PIH with certain skin problems, including acne, burns, eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic reactions, infection, insect bites, and psoriasis.
What Causes Hyperpigmentation?
Experts insist that the cause of hyperpigmentation often depends on the type. Some of the causes of this condition include the following:
Exposure to the sun: Age or "liver" spots are a common form of hyperpigmentation. They occur due to sun damage, and are referred to by doctors as solar lentigines. The body usually produces melanin to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays from the sun. Therefore, prolonged exposure to the sun usually leads to the production of high amounts of melanin, causing hyperpigmentation.
Skin inflammation: Once the skin is inflamed, it tends to leave dark spots, or so called Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Skin inflammation is usually caused by conditions such as burns, acne, and eczema.
Hormonal changes: This is often one of the main primary cause of melasma hyperpigmentation.
Genetics: Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face and arms. Freckles are an inherited characteristic, and can be common on fair skin types and red heads.
Reaction to drugs: Certain medications, such as antimalarial drugs and tricyclic antidepressants, can cause hyperpigmentation. In these cases, patches of skin may turn gray. Similarly, Chemicals in topical treatments can also sometimes cause hyperpigmentation.
Medical conditions: More serious causes of hyperpigmentation include Addison’s disease, Lupus, Hyperthyroidism, Lichen planus and hemochromatosis.
How do I get rid of hyperpigmentation?
Although experiencing hyperpigmentation can be quite frustrating, there are various treatment options available for you. Aside from skin care and sun protection (another topic on its own), some of these include:
1. IPL Treatment
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. Also known as photo facial or photorejuvenation, this skin treatment option uses quick and powerful flashes of broad band light to treat the skin.
During an IPL treatment, your skin is exposed to light energy, which penetrates below the surface to where the excess melanin resides. The heat then breaks down the melanin into tiny particles, which is then sloughed off over the next few days. Each time these particles rise to the skin's surface and break off, more healthy, glowing skin appears. However, a series of 3 monthly treatments are initially required to slowly bring up and remove the deeper melanin content in the skin, leaving your skin clear and blemish-free. The advantage of IPL is that it can also target and remove the broken capillaries, red spots and rosacea that often goes hand in hand with hyperpigmentation and sun damage. IPL is a fantastic and effective treatment with minimal down time; however, it is not suitable for darker skin types or melasma.
2. Chemical Peels
This is a treatment option that significantly enhances the appearance of your skin. It involves the application of a chemical solution that contains various acids on your face, chest, or any affected area, which is then removed or neutralized. After a few days, the dead, dull and hyperpigmented skin, is slowly peeled off, leaving it skin feeling rejuvenated, softer, and healthier. Chemical peels can treat any type of facial hyperpigmentation by removing the epidermis, thus reducing the appearance of the spots, but also allowing your skin care ingredients to penetrate better and deeper into the skin, further improving your skin quality, tone, and texture. .
There are many different chemical peels available on the market, with down times varying from none to a few weeks. The beauty of chemical peels is that depending on your skin type and condition, and your Lifestyle, they can be completely tailored to your needs, and administered accordingly. In other words, there is a chemical peel for everyone!
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation procedure that helps minimize the signs of aging, improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and aging skin. The SkinPen® microneedling device causes controlled micro-injuries that stimulate the body’s natural wound healing process. The micro-injuries trigger the release of cytokines and growth factors that lead to remodeling of collagen and elastin. The benefit of microneedling is that it not only improved hyperpigmentation by exfoliating and collagen stimulation, it also improves skin texture, fine lines and wrinkles, stretch marks and acne scarring, In addition, it is a minimally invasive procedure performed in-office with easily manageable recovery time, is safe for all skin types, light to dark, and is effective on all body parts, including face, neck and décolletage
Similarly, there is a new micro-needling technique known as Microneedling RF. This is a treatment method that promotes skin rejuvenation by using radiofrequency energy applied to the needles that prick the skin during the procedure. Besides pigmentation, this procedure also treats deeper wrinkles, fine lines, severe acne scarring, and helps tighten the skin.
To learn more about this condition and treatment options the best thing to do is set up a complimentary consultation at my office. Call (561)357-2020 to schedule.
Meet Dr. Vanden Bosch!
Dr. V - Neda Vanden Bosch is an highly-trained physician and sought after injector of dermal fillers and neurotoxins. With over 15 years of experience in aesthetic medicine, she is a faculty member of the prestigious Galderma Injection Training Network (GAIN) and trains physicians how to perform cosmetic procedures. Dr. V was recently named to Galderma's Top 100 Injectors. She has had extensive training and experience with collagen stimulators, laser and radiofrequency treatment, as well as skin care. Dr. V is licensed in 10 states. She is board certified by the American Board of Radiology.