Last week I spoke about Medical Grade Peels and I had someone ask me what peels they should use for pigmentation. So I thought it would be fit to discuss pigmentation this week as I know from living in Kuwait it is a major concern and now that I am back in Australia I have noticed that people here in Australia do have a lot of sun damaged skin and pigmentation not only on their face but their hands, neck and décolletage. So there are a few treatments for this and I will discuss them this week and again please do your research when going to clinics and you will need to ask the right questions when treating pigmentation and you need to be realistic about your program. You also need to be patient as sometimes whilst we as therapist will recommend a treatment that does work you will need to have a minimum of 6 and you may need a combination of treatments, ie Medical Grade Peels, Skin Needling with Mese therapy, Laser and IPL as there are different types of Pigmentation.
Lets firstly discuss what is Skin Pigmentation so in order to understand pigmentation we need to understand how skin works. It is the melanocytes – pigment producing cells in our skin that determine our skin colour. The production of melanin depends on UV sun exposure and is a natural protective mechanism of the skin. Therefore excessive skin pigmentation is a result of abnormal production and deposition of melanin by the melanocytes.
There are different types of pigmentation that we will look at :
The most common type that we can all identify with is “Freckles” also known as ephelides. More common in vary fair people they will appear darker with sun exposure and will lighten during winter genetics also influences freckling.
Sun spots or Liver spots also known as “Solar lentigines” are spots that tend to stand out with a defined edge to them they can be light brown and at times almost black. These are usually caused by UV sun damage. These can turn into skin cancer/melanoma and if you will need to see a Skin Cancer specialist as they can spread very quickly and no chances should be taken.
Melasma is found deep in the skin’s dermis so it’s a little harder to treat but can be treated but initially from the naked eye it can be hard to assess. This type of pigmentation can be caused by hormonal changes with UV exposure, medications, pregnancy and stress. (My dear step mum when my father suddenly passed away literally developed Melasma all over her face within a month of his passing)
Hyperpigmentation are areas that are darker than the rest of the skin, resulting from excess melanin production and deposition, this can be caused by burns, acne scares, UV exposure, hormones(melasma), skin trauma ie physical trauma, skin peels, medication and invasive treatments performed too often, laser, IPL
Superficial pigmentation is found in the epidermis whilst deep pigmentation is found in the dermal layer of the skin and is a little harder to treat.
When treating pigmentation we firstly need to establish what is causing the pigmentation, how long it has been there and it is possible to have a combination of different types of pigmentation ie one person can have superficial, deep and hyper pigmentation. A variety of treatments can assist. As a therapist I always tell my clients that are suffering from pigmentation that they need to be committed to a minimum of six treatments and to invest in ongoing treatments and skin care to prevent it from coming back.
I have worked with high end laser machines that can treat pigmentation in as little as 3 treatments but of course the skin had to be prepared initially for at least a two week period. Realistically it can take up to 12 treatments to treat pigmentation. It is also very important that the correct skincare is used and sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are recommended as some have harsh chemicals and actually do very little for the skin.
The best treatments that I have seen work for pigmentation are pico also known as enlighten as it is quite an advanced laser system which shatters the pigmentation and it will make your skin appear lighter, brighter and more even. A combination of this, skin needling with meso and medical grade peels should all help. The most important thing you will need to remember whilst having these treatments is to stay out of the sun and if you are you need to re apply your sunscreen every two hours and even then I would not recommend you sun bake at all whilst you have these treatments and to stay out of the sun even when you have finished your treatments.
I do not recommend any of the home remedies that you may find people talking about online as they may end up causing you more damage. Pigmentation needs to be assessed by a skin specialist/therapist don’t risk it and don’t purchase something that you have read about online as you need to establish what type of pigmentation condition you have.
Feel free to send me an email finding firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Most clinics in Kuwait use medical grade IPL and skin laser devices but again do your research and ask the right questions.
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