Have you ever been on holiday and instantly felt better with a tan, had a race with friends to see who could go the darkest, or used tanning oils or baby lotion without any SPF? Any colour or tan we have on our skin, no matter how nice it looks, is damaged as it’s the skin’s way of protecting itself.
Pigmentation is the natural colour of your skin and is related to melanin production. Melanin protects the skin cells by absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV). Hyperpigmentation is when excess melanin causes a darkened appearance to the skin in small or larger areas. This can also be called pigmentation and is mainly caused by sun damage.
You’re probably wondering why products or a particular routine isn’t working to remove the pigmentation you have. A lot of the time it’s due to the wrong products being used and the pigmentation not actually being targeted. Or maybe your skin is still not being protected from UV Rays. Or you are covering the issue (with make-up) rather than addressing it and also perhaps not getting correct and professional guidance.
This blog will give you some ideas on treatments for pigmentation and, also, actions you can take at home to prevent further pigmentation.
What causes pigmentation?
External aggressors, mainly UV rays trigger an inflammatory response that activates the cells that produce melanin. Melanin production is made within the melanocytes and tyrosinase is a key enzyme in this process. Melanin is then transferred to the skin cells which accumulate on the surface, the melanin will present as an even colouring or darker spots and patches.
What is pigmentation on the face?
There are a few different types of hyperpigmentation we get in the skin, especially on the face including;
This is usually triggered through a change in hormones like pregnancy or being on contraceptives, certain medications and also genetics. It appears as patches on the skin and can be found on the chin, upper lip, cheeks and forehead. Some people refer to it as a ‘pregnancy mask’.
Found in areas that have been subjected to trauma like inflamed spots or irritation. The inflammation stimulates the Langerhans cells which can cause increased melanin production in the area.
This type of pigmentation can be various forms of a darkened lesion including freckles, age spots and uneven skin tone. It is caused by prolonged or repeated exposure to UV rays from either the sun or tanning beds and not having constant protection on the skin.
How can I remove my pigmentation?
Here at Aeternum Aesthetics, we have a few different treatments for pigmentation removal, the main one being IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).
IPL is now our most popular treatment for treating pigmentation or uneven skin tones. Areas which have a high melanin concentration will easily absorb the IPL light. This light is then turned into heat which is absorbed by the melanin and causes destruction to the cells. Following the treatment, the pigmented area will generally turn darker and form a micro crust which will flake away over a week or so.
If you decide to have the IPL you will be looking at having around 3-6 treatments, each session builds on the last one, giving longer-lasting results. There’s no downtime after the treatment, just some surface crusting of the melanin that may last around a week. Post treatment there may be some redness however we’ve found that this usually only lasts a couple of hours. The treatment itself feels like an elastic band being pinged against the skin, it can feel warm straight after, however, we always cool it down which instantly soothes and calms the skin.
We are all so excited about our new IPL machine and have already had some fantastic results, not just through pigmentation but also redness, thread veins and evening out skin tone.
Homecare is so important as well. A great medical grade skincare routine that will focus on pigmentation will include the following products and ingredients.
- SPF (Factor 30 or above) – protects the skin from further UV damage.
- Vitamin C – An antioxidant to target external aggressors that can trigger discolouration.
- Arbutin – This ingredient is usually in the form of a serum and prevents the on set of new pigmentation
- White Shitake Mushroom – Reduces the appearance of discolouration already on the skins surface.
- Retinol – Increases cellular turnover to slough away at the pigmentation helping to lift it from the surface
All of these ingredients are in our AlumierMD range and are targeted treatments for reducing pigmentation on the surface and prevention of further discolouration. Pigmentation is a skin condition that requires dedication and commitment with homecare and also in-clinic treatments.
Does skin pigmentation go away?
Pigmentation will never usually go away on its own. In the summer or after being away on holiday it will always look darker as the melanin is being stimulated through the UV rays. During winter months the pigmentation will look lighter and possibly ‘disappear’ however it is just lying dormant until new UV exposure.
Pigmentation can go away through in-clinic treatments and also at-home products however it’s imperative to use high-factor SPF post treatments to avoid it recurring and to protect your investment.
If you’re sick of the sight of your pigmentation, or you have any other skincare concerns, contact Aeternum Aesthetics in Ashby de la Zouch to get booked in for a consultation and we can discuss your needs and future skin goals.