The most common skin concern today is pigmentation, which may occur in the form of melasma, dark spots, blemishes, dullness, uneven tone. These dark patches and spots form as a result of excess melanin production in the skin, and this condition is medically known as “hyperpigmentation.” The pigment melanin (responsible for providing color to the skin, hair, and eyes), is produced by melanocytes. This pigment absorbs the UV light emitted by the sun and protects the skin from sun damage. When melanin is produced in excess, this causes the skin to appear darker or lighter than normal, discolored, and blotchy. Pigmentation spots can occur on the face, hands, chest, arms and so on.
Causes of pigmentation
Pigmentation can be caused due to acne scars, sun damage, hormonal imbalance, bleaching, excess scrubbing, and parlour facials, Addison’s disease, antibiotics, pregnancy, chemotherapy drugs, skin irritation, trauma, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Melanin aids in providing protection to the skin from UV radiation, electromagnetic radiation, and also aids in heat regulation. There are various factors that regulate the distribution of melanin including the endocrine system, genes, and environmental factors.
The diseases associated with hyperpigmentation include:
- Smoker’s melanosis
- Addison’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Liver disease
Too much sun exposure can mutate the cells. As the free radicles cause mutation in the cells, it can lead to malignant melanoma (skin cancer). This cancer begins to occur in form of moles. So, if some spots are present on the skin and they spread and get darker with time, it is advised to seek expert help to detect if the spot is cancerous or not. It is advised to protect the skin from sun damage to avoid the risk of skin cancer.
The skin concern and pigmentation types can vary from person to person. Some home remedies might work, and some may not. It is advised to consult a skin expert, as they can determine the root cause of pigmentation, and provide the best treatment according the underlying concern.
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Pigmentation, if left untreated, can make the skin tone to become dull and uneven permanently, resulting in an older and tired look. Pigmentation spots can become darker and larger over time. Proper sun protection, healthy skincare routine, physical activities, good eating habits can help one to prevent pigmentation. If the skin pigmentation is caused due to genes, proper consultation, medications, and treatment from a dermatologist can help to prevent the worsening of the condition. Pigmentation does not cause any health problems but affects the confidence level of the patient.
Certain medications and treatments help minimize blemishes, correct sun damage, and pigmentation.
The advanced treatment options to correct pigmentation include:
a. Lightening creams
Certain ingredients help to decrease skin pigmentation. These creams work best for melasma, flat spots. They are also useful in correcting patches of discoloration. It is recommended to apply lightening creams only after consultation from a skin expert.
The small molecules penetrate deeper into the skin and treat the pigmentation problem. Safe for all skin tones.
c. Chemical peel
The ingredients and composition of chemical peels are formulated according to specific skin concern. The peels can enter the targeted or deeper layer of the skin to produce the best results. A chemical peel works by treating sun damage, melasma, blotching, age spots, and many more. It also corrects wrinkles, smooth fine lines, and also tighten the skin. Light, medium, deep peels are used to correct skin concerns and involve little to no downtime. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, and trichloroacetic acid are the common ingredients.
Formulations of chemical peels according to the patient’s specific skin concern and skin type helps to minimize the risk of any side effects. One may suffer from irritation, blistering, redness, and irritation after this treatment because of the strength of chemicals but it is only temporary. One needs to take proper precautions both before and after chemical peel treatment and also during the session.
Skin resurfacing treatment that clears skin imperfections and helps restore smooth, bright tone by boosting the skin's natural healing process. The microneedles create targeted micro-injuries in the skin, and these injuries are not visible and promote collagen and elastin production. It treats acne, surgical scars, acne scars, reduces enlarged open pores, corrects sun damage, age spots, pigmentation, rough patches and so on. This method is safe for all skin types and requires no downtime.
e. Laser peel
The laser beam of light targets the pigmentation. Both ablative and non-ablative lasers trigger collagen production, promote skin tightening, and remove the damaged layers of the skin. The wavelength of laser light penetrates into the deeper layer of the skin, and help achieve dramatic results. It removes unwanted pigmentation such as freckles, melasma, age spots, sun spots, and other pigmentation concerns. The laser is absorbed by the dark pigmented cells, and this helps to protect and not damage the surrounding normal skin.
It corrects sun damage, age spots, freckles, hyperpigmentation, texture problem, and spider veins. It rejuvenates skin complexion by eliminating skin pigmentation. IPL also stimulates collagen production and helps restore overall skin radiance.
g. Laser Toning
A short, concentrated beam of light is penetrated in the target layer of the skin to cause controlled thermal injury. This promotes elastin and collagen production, and also breaks the dark pigment causing pigmentation. It corrects birthmarks, dark spots, freckles, rosacea, open pores, fine lines, acne scars, melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, dark under-eye circles, age spots, and many more. Long-lasting results, and also make the skin smooth and rejuvenated.
It exfoliates the skin using a fine spray of “abrasive particles.” The vacuum process helps to remove the exfoliated skin. This treatment is safe for all types and requires no downtime, and provides less risk for side effects. It brightens the skin tone, removes pigmentation, diminishes wrinkles and fine lines, reduces mild acne scars. Effective and gentle treatment.
This treatment helps remove the epidermis and corrects sun damage, age spots, acne scars, chickenpox scars. The procedure removes visible concerns by removing enough layers of the skin and promote new cell growth.
Types of pigmentation
- The most common type of pigmentation
- Appear as flat circular spots that are light brown
- Do not cause changes in skin texture
- Mostly occur in people with fair or lighter skin complexion
- Genetics, overexposure to the sun, are the primary causative factor causing freckles
2. Solar lentigines
- Also known as liver spots or sun spots
- Appear as light brown to black color spots, and are irregular in appearance
- Occur anywhere on the body
- Occur due to the clumping of melanin pigment
- Prolonged sun exposure causes sunspots to darken
3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Occur as a result of injury, burn, acne, allergic reaction, medications, dermatitis, and increased melanin production due to inflammatory response
- Early medication and topical creams respond well to this treatment
4. Melasma or Chloasma Faciei
- Pigmentation occurs in the deeper skin dermis
- Mostly affects face (cheeks, nose, around the lips, and forehead) neck and hands
- Common among people of darker skin tone and pregnant ladies
- Forms patchy brown discoloration, bluish color, light, and dark brown spots
- Pregnancy, hormonal changes, hormone replacement therapy, genetics, birth control pills, genetics can cause melasma
One must protect the skin from the sun, dust, pollution, and apply an antibiotic to keep it free from infection after the treatment. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high SPF value is a must because it protects the skin from both UV-A and UV-B damage. Prevent the skin from sun exposure is also a must to prevent the worsening of pigmentation.
Achieve a smooth, clear, and even skin tone. Renew and revitalize the skin with advanced and safe pigmentation treatments!
*Opinions / Results may vary from person to person.
*Opinions / Results may vary from person to person.