Hyperpigmentation usually presents itself as age spots, uneven colour, freckles and sometimes melasma (mask of pregnancy), due to excess melanin production and deposition in the skin.
The main cause is sun damage or photo-ageing but pigmentation can also be aggravated by other factors, including hormones such as during pregnancy or the contraceptive pill, certain medications and also inflammation following trauma or acne.
How much you can reduce the appearance of pigmentation depends on what is causing the problem and also how deep into the skin the pigmentation extends.
Non invasive skincare approach
– Skin brighteners are a safer approach for brightening the skin, and are effective when used consistently in a professional brightening regime.
Products that contain kojic acid and phytic acid helps correct melanin pigmentation and are suitable for melasma, chloasma, age/sun spots and pigmentation etc.
Studies indicate that Kojic acid shows greater effectiveness than Hydroquinone based bleaching preparation with less sensitivity, side or long-term complications.
– Avoiding sun exposure and use of high grade sun blocks such as the a full spectrum (UVA, UVB and UVC).
SPF 30 sunscreen to help minimise future sun damage and pigmentation.
UV protection/sunscreen is paramount in the treatment of pigmentation.
Apply it daily and all year round, not just in the summer.
– Apply antioxidant once a day after cleansing. Environmental Protection Vitamin C and other antioxidants help to neutralise ageing free radicals. Antioxidants also have a brightening effect on the skin.
– Use cleansers which contain lactic acid, fruit acid or Glycolic acid. They are great exfoliants to slough off dead, pigmented skin cells and to expose fresh new skin.
– Microdermabrasion works deeper by exfoliating away superficial pigmentation marks and thus stimulating the growth of new skin.
– Medical peels can significantly help by causing the layer of skin to separate and peel off. The new regenerated skin underneath is usually smoother and more even in both tone & colour than the old skin. It requires and course of treatments and may cause some discomfort and recovery time and also cost.
– Lasers can produce a faster and more effective results in most cases. There are however, more risks with the use of lasers as opposed to lightening agents, and these risks include worsening of the pigmentation, loss of normal skin pigmentation (hypopigmentation) or scarring of the skin (rare). Also, with laser treatment there is usually a period of recovery post-treatment and not to mention the cost.
Cosmetic Nurse Practitioner