Uneven pigmentation of the skin can be triggered by a wide variety of causes including (but not limited to!) the sun, hormonal changes, medication, trauma to the skin and blue light from our devices. Hyperpigmentations of all types are caused by an increase in melanin, the pigment that creates colour for our skin. Melanin is created by the melanocyte cell, which gets it’s signal from the enzyme tyrosinase. Hyperpigmentation can be found in either the deeper dermal layer of the skin or the more superficial epidermal tissues. Some hyperpigmentation can show up quickly, like sunspots and freckles after UV exposure. Others can take much longer to appear, such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and age spots which can come to the surface of the skin over the course of many years.
All pigmentation problems are not the same and there is no “one size fits all” approach to reducing or eliminating unwanted pigment on the skin. The four main types of hyperpigmentation are melasma, sunspots from aging, freckles and PIH. Although these types of hyperpigmentation all require somewhat different approaches to treatment, all pigmentation can be helped with the following interventions.
The most important step is to block tyrosinase production. This can be done with products but must be done regularly and diligently to work effectively. Ingredients such as licorice root, arbutin, hydroquinone and Vitamin C will reduce the tyrosinase response, thereby reducing the amount of pigment that the body would be able to produce. Exfoliators can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and patches by keeping the epidermis free of excess build up of pigmented cells. Retinols, acids and enzymes are all effective but beware that over-exfoliating can cause inflammation of the skin and potentially PIH. The epidermis should always be respected.
Treatments can include Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Photo Facials and Laser Peels. IPL is best for brown spots and freckles, using the intense light to break up the pigmented spots and bring them to the surface. Erbium Yag Fractional Laser is best for heavy sun damage. In some cases, a combination of both approaches is indicated for best results. No matter what your case is, we always consult with our clients before taking any action. A comprehensive home care routine using the correct products and the correct treatment approach using IPL or laser go hand in hand for long term gains.
Dark spots are common. Living in a climate where the sun is often sneaky (think high UV on a cold or dark day) can wreak havoc on unprotected skin. UV exposure is the number one cause of skin damage. And, as we use our devices frequently, blue light is a major concern for our skin. Hormonal changes and aging are also big contributors. What to do? Book an appointment for a FREE consultation at About Face and Body Laser and Wellness Clinic to speak to one of our experienced and knowedgeable technicians. We have the affordable technology and products to help you with your particular type of pigmentation issues and will ghuide you through the process of treatment and home care interventions.
We look forward to helping you achieve you goals!
The team at About FAB – Sarnia’s original laser clinic