What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation presents as brown, irregular patches on the skin with little surface change.
How does Hyperpigmentation develop?
Inflammatory mediators are released during the inflammatory process in the epidermal layer which stimulates melanocytes to increase the production of melanin.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation.
There are three main types of hyperpigmentation, each of which is categorized by their cause.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This occurs following skin injury e.g. from acne lesions or laser. PIH generally responds well to treatment.
- Melasma. This is caused by hormonal fluctuations, common for example, during pregnancy, or the use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
- UV Damage. As the body ages, melanocyte distribution becomes less diffuse and it’s regulation less controlled by the body. UV light stimulates melanocyte activity, and produces hyperpigmentation. People with darker Asian, Arabic or darker skin tones are most prone to this.
Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options.
Extreme care must be given when treating Hyperpigmentation, especially in darker skin types, as this skin is particularly prone to PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation). The safe and effective options offered by Advanced Skin Solutions are discussed below.
After you have visited our premises for an assessment, the therapist will discuss treatment options with you and advise which products will best be able to assist you. Not all products are suitable for all skins, but our qualified and experienced therapist will assist you in finding the right combination.
1. Medical Needling.
MEDICAL NEEDLING is simply the best and safest choice for Hyperpigmentation and, now that we have tested the safety and effectiveness of certain products we can seriously make a significant improvement to your challenging skin tone issues.
Hyperpigmentation will require long term treatment with about 4- 6 sessions needed. It is best to use needling in conjunction with correct aftercare products for resistant hyperpigmentation. It’s essential to ensure your therapist specialises in hyperpigmentation and has a suitable qualification in professional skin care. An extensive understanding of product ingredients and skin conditions will work in your favour and ensure no nasty surprises.
2. Chemical Peel.
A mandelic acid-based peel (with Tyrosinase inhibitors) is the peel of choice for hyperpigmentation. Because mandelic acid is a large molecule, it penetrates the skin slowly and more gently, with minimised risk of excessive inflammation or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The penetration through the skin is even, with no problem of under-peeling in some areas and over-peeling in other areas.
3. Correct Aftercare Products
At Advanced Skin Solutions, we avoid laser, aggressive peels, hydroquinone, and a few other treatments we regard as high risk.
There are many products available to treat hyperpigmentation, however, you should know the ingredients to look for and what they do in order to choose the best product for your type of hyperpigmentation.
The treatments we use have a number of Tyrosinase inhibitors. Tyrosinase inhibitors treat the new cells being formed on the basal layer, in order to reduce the activity of the over-producing melanocytes. Since the results obtained using this revolutionary de-pigmenting system have been visibly dramatic, we have specialised in the technique to offer this treatment to you.
We use four different products, depending on your type and level of hyperpigmentation.
The most important tip is to wear a zinc containing sun block, even if you are staying indoors, as UVA rays penetrate through glass and will always encourage hyperpigmentation. Wearing sun glasses, wide brimmed hats and using sun visors in cars will also reduce UV damage to the face. Wearing corrective creams that reduce the enzyme tyrosinase will also slow down Melanin formation.
Be aware of dangerous and risky options.
1. Microdermabrasion (Crystal or Diamond peel)
This is the mechanical removal (rubbing) of the superficial layer of dead skin cells. This can irritate the skin causing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and cannot be used in acute inflamed acne. Although microdermabrasion will give you a smoother and clearer complexion, it is temporary, as Tyrosinase inhibiting agents are needed to reduce hyperpigmentation. Overly aggressive microdermabrasion may well result in too much inflammation and result in a worsening of the pigmentation problem
Lasers work by photothermolysis. This means a particular laser wavelength is attracted to pigmented areas. However, it is not ideal for darker skin types where there is little difference between the dark lesion and the surrounding skin. It leads to spreading of heat (Scatter) and can cause burn hyperpigmentation which is always deep dermal and resistant to treatment. Laser should always be used with extreme caution especially in darker skins.
3. Aggressive Peels
Certain peels carry a high risk of damage and strong possibility of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Ingredients to avoid and why:
- Hydroquinine– this is a powerful Tyrosinase Inhibitor which will lighten the skin; unfortunately it can lead to rebound hyperpigmentation where the pigmentation comes back worse than before. With long term use, extensive damage may result in the epidermis. We strongly advise against this treatment!!!
- Glycolic/ TCA peels– These ingredients can lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation after the formation of ‘Hot Spots’ on the skin.
- Retinoic acid(Retin A)-This skin hormone speeds up skin cell turnover but makes brown skin very sun sensitive and can worsen pigmentation.