Pigmentation: Know the causes and the cure

Pigmentation: Know the causes and the cure

Treating pigmentation can feel like a losing game that never ends. After all, an entire month’s work of progress can be undone with just one day of unprotected sun exposure. Still, it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With the right products and in-office solutions as well as a little knowledge about the type of pigmentation you’re dealing with.

Know your type

One of the most common types of pigmentation is caused by unprotected sun exposure. UV-rays can stimulate the overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its colour. This excess melanin is created in your melanocytes (your skin’s melanin factories) in the deeper layers of your skin and travels up to the surface where it’s visible as a darker patch, often referred to as an “age spot” or “sun spot”, that creates an uneven-looking complexion.

Another type of pigmentation that can be a little trickier to treat is the hormonal kind. Again, this is aggravated by the sun, but your hormones are a driving factor too, so you can be religious about wearing sunscreen but if you experience a hormonal flux, be it due to pregnancy or new contraception, this can send your melanocytes into overdrive. Chloasma is another type of hormonal pigmentation that affects pregnant woman specifically. While it can manifest during pregnancy, it doesn’t necessarily go away post-partum.

Last, but not least, there’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This occurs when your skin suffers some type of “assault” that can be as innocuous as a pimple or dermatitis. Even though the inflammation this causes is barely perceptible, it can trigger an overproduction of melanin. Darker skin types are typically more prone to this type of pigmentation, but it can affect anyone.

Create a targeted skincare regime

The first step to treating pigmentation is to get very serious about wearing sunscreen. No depigmenting regime will ever work if you’re continually stimulating new excess melanin in the bottom layers while removing what exists up top. If you struggle with any type of pigmentation, we suggest you wear a high sun protection factor of 50 every single day.

Next, you can invest in a good depigmenting skin regime to use at home. Any of the highly-skilled therapists and doctors at Skin Renewal will be able to help you create an effective regime using medical-grade products that will be much more effective than anything you could find in the skincare aisle of a pharmacy.

One of our favourite ranges is Lamelle’s Luminesce collection that contains a potent mix of skin brightener’s such as AHAs, retinol and niacinamide. Another great option is NeoStrata’s Enlighten range. The brand’s Enlighten Pigment Controller also contains retinol as well as and melanin-inhibiting ingredients like vitamin Cand alpine plant extracts to help fade existing pigmentation and prevent excess new melanin from travelling up to the surface of your skin.

Step into our office

If you’re dealing with stubborn pigmentation, make an appointment to see one of our doctors for an in-office treatment. They’ll be able to diagnose what type of pigmentation you’re dealing with, assess its depth and recommend the best course of action.

If you’ve got epidermal pigmentation, the most common type in which the uppermost layers of your skin are affected, this will be easy to treat using one of our less intensive but very effective Pigmentation& Sun Damage Solutions. Many of them make use of exfoliating treatments like superficial peels, microdermabrasion and lasers such as Laser Genesis. The latter is a “colourblind” laser, so it’s suitable for all skin colours, including dark skin.

If, however, your pigmentation has leached into your dermis (the deeper layers of your skin) or is hormonally drive, it will be more stubborn to treat. In this case, we’d suggest one of our Melasma& Deep Pigmentation Solutions. Many of these also include Laser Genesis as well as more intensive peels like our MesoBrite™ treatment. The latter is essentially a high concentration in-office peel performed by a doctor that guarantees improvement but with a high safety margin. It’s accompanied by a skincare regime that you’re to use at home to see continued improvement after which you’ll go onto a maintenance programme. If you stick with it, you’ll get to enjoy great results!

The bottom line

Keeping pigmentation in check can feel like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. Make an appointment to see one of our Skin Renewal doctors so they can diagnose the type you’re dealing with and prescribe the correct treatment.

In any case, this will mean getting serious about sun protection and using the correct products at home, but this is something we can help you with. You might also be prescribed one of our highly effective treatment solutions to suit the severity of your pigmentation as well as the type. In just a few sessions, you’ll be sure to see a visible improvement and will soon be on the path to enjoying a more even-toned, confidence-boosting complexion.

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