Hyperpigmentation is a term that encompasses a wide range of skin issues, with the common link that they all involve darkened spots of patches. Skin pigment concerns rank at the top of the list when it comes to issues our clients have with their appearance. Whatever the causes, loss of luminosity plays a big part in conveying an “aged” appearance. Young skin is generally clear and even-toned. As we age, for a variety of reasons, our complexions lose that evenness. Even though these separate issues share a common name, the appropriate treatments vary.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigment (PIH):
This is most often caused by scarring, acne, burns and friction. Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin following inflammation of the skin.
Post- inflammatory hyperpigment generally fades itself slowly over time, but the process can be sped up with regular use of products like retinols, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and vitamin c serums. Retinols and AHAs encourage more regular exfoliation, which ultimately leads to undamaged skin making its way to the surface. Topical vitamin C encourages collagen synthesis ,prevents further free radical damage/ inflammation, and has also been shown to fade sun damage.
Melasma is a darkening of the skin caused by hormone fluctuations. A common nickname for melasma is “the mask of pregnancy,” but hormonal birth control can also trigger it. Hydroquinone is the most common form of treatment for melasma, but some success has been shown with botanical and peptide-based alternatives. The most effective treatments for melasma combine a number of elements, such as retinols, antioxidants, and hydroquinone or peptides. In specific cases IPL/BBL treatments might be indicated. Melasma is a frustrating condition that is “coming from inside the house” as it were, and as such until the hormonal issues are addressed will usually keep occurring. Additionally, any melasma treatment regimen must be accompanied by daily SPF usage and avoiding extended exposure to sunlight.
What are often called “age” or “liver” spots are actually caused by sun damage, not age. The scientific term for these spots is “lentigines” and they are commonly found on the hands, chest, and face. Light therapy treatments like BBL are excellent at targeting pigment caused by UV damage. A combination of light therapy, hydroquinone, and tretinoin can achieve fantastic results in a short period of time.
If you have skin pigment questions- or skin questions in general- please feel free to call City Aesthetics to schedule a complimentary cosmetic consultation. One of the things I love most about my job is helping clients empower themselves through knowledge of skin function, ingredients, and the latest scientific findings. We can help you come up with the regimen that works most effectively for you to achieve the results you are looking for.