Skin pigmentation means the color of the skin. And when this pigmentation is triggered by certain factors, it causes disorders that affect the color of the skin. When the skin cells become damaged, this affects the production of melanin. Melanin produces pigmentation for the skin, hair, and body. The more melanin when produced, the darker the eyes, hair, and skin. The amount of melanin in the body depends on a few factors that include genetics and how much sun exposure the ancestral population had accordingly.
Pigmentation can cause unevenness that is hard to camouflage with make-up. It may be apparent as melasma or as sun spots due to too much exposure to the sun.
Hyperpigmentation refers to patches of skin that become darker than the surrounding areas of skin. It is very common on the skin of color, as darker skin tones already have a higher melanin content. Some other abnormal pigmentations and disorders include,
- Albinism: This is a rare group of genetic disorders that cause the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no color. Albinism is also associated with vision problems.
- Melasma: This is a common skin disorder characterized by gray-brown discolored patches of skin on areas of the face exposed to the sun. Melasma can be due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or from sun exposure.
- Vitiligo: This is a skin disorder in which the skin loses its color in patches. They don’t stop but only get bigger with time. This happens when the melanin cells die out or stop functioning.
- Pigmented birthmarks: These are caused by an overgrowth of the cells that produce color in our skin. There are three types of pigmented birthmarks:
- Café-au-lait spots,
- Mongolian spots.
- Some of these will eventually fade away as one grows while some need treatment.
- Port wine stains: This birthmark happens when swollen blood vessels create a reddish-purplish discoloration of the skin. This birthmark is permanent and will only fade with treatment such as laser therapy.
- Hemangiomas: This bright red birthmark looks like a rubbery bump and is made up of extra blood vessels in the skin which show up at birth or a few weeks later. This usually fades over time but treatment is needed if ever it causes any health issues.
- Macular stains: These birthmarks are the most common vascular birthmarks that appear anywhere on the body as light, flat, red marks. These marks can come in two forms known commonly,
- Angel’s kisses
- Stork bites.
- Pigmentation due to sun damage: Sun tan is most commonly faced by everyone in tropical areas. The sun causes an uneven increase in melanin production, which produces irregular coloring of the skin. The sun can also cause permanent stretching of small blood vessels, giving the skin a mottled, reddish appearance.
Hyperpigmentation is often harmless, but many people may choose to remove or reduce it. Options include avoiding sun exposure and using removal techniques such as cosmetic treatments, creams, and home remedies. Topical creams would include ingredients that can lighten the skin such as,
- Face acids like alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, or tartaric acid
- Azelaic acid
- Cysteamine cream
- Kojic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Vitamin C
Pigmentation is usually a cosmetic concern rather than a medical one. It can be treated with the above remedies to lighten the patches. But these remedies take longer periods to show changes. Also, not all people find any difference when they use home remedies. In these modern times, everyone wants to see immediate results. Thus, it is best to get a consultation with a dermatologist and start an effective treatment immediately.
1. Laser Therapy: This treatment uses targeted beams of light to reduce hyperpigmentation.
There are two types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative.
Ablative lasers are the most intense, and they involve removing layers of your skin. Non-ablative procedures, on the other hand, target the dermis to promote collagen growth and tightening effects. Laser treatments are the fastest way to remove hyperpigmentation, but it still takes time to see results. Pigment will darken for 1-3 weeks following the treatment, then will begin to fade.
2. Chemical Peels: Here acids are used at stronger concentrations to treat the desired area of skin. They reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by removing the top layer of your epidermis (skin). The results of a chemical peel treatment plan will depend on the time and commitment to consistent treatment and at-home care.
3. Mesotherapy: This is a rejuvenation technique that uses micro injections of vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, and plant extracts to rejuvenate and tighten the skin. Dramatic improvement can be seen after 4 sessions.
4. Laser Peel: The laser removes the outer layers of damaged skin to reveal the softer and smoother underlying skin. It involves applying a layer of liquid carbon over the face, which penetrates deep into the pores. Carbon peels may be repeated every two to three weeks. This period of time allows for ample collagen regeneration between treatments.
5. Microneedling: This is a nonsurgical skin procedure where multiple ultra-thin needles are used to carefully pierce the top layer of the skin. The body interprets these tiny needle punctures as injuries and rushes the growth factors, collagen, and elastin to make repairs and regrow skin and tissue. It even helps to generate a fresh layer of skin. The new layer would be more uniform in color and texture, displacing the dark spots and marks. That’s why the procedure is often called Collagen Induction Therapy. In about a week, old layers of skin will start to dry and shed as fresh new cells take their place. Over the course of a week or two, there would be a significant improvement in the overall skin tone and complexion.
6. IPL Therapy: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments utilize high energy light pulses to penetrate upper levels of skin and stimulate collagen production in lower levels of skin. The most common IPL™ treatment for pigmentation is BroadBand Light (BBL), which uses focused light energy to destroy pigment in cells. It is effective in eliminating broken capillaries, diffusing redness and can even fade birthmarks.
7. Microdermabrasion: This procedure promotes new cells to regenerate more quickly by removing cells from the outermost layer of skin. The result is skin that looks firmer, more toned, and more youthful. This is safe for almost everyone as it doesn’t require anesthesia. One might need as few as two treatments to notice a difference.
8. LED Light Treatment: LED (light-emitting diode) light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that enters the skin’s layers to improve the skin. LED light therapy uses various wavelengths that correspond to different visible colors. Each color penetrates the skin at different depths depending on the reason and the light is sometimes used together to get better results. For eg:
Blue light affects the uppermost layer of your skin. It is used to destroy acne-causing bacteria.
Yellow light penetrates deeper. Red light travels further into your skin and is used to reduce inflammation and stimulate the production of collagen whereas near-infrared light penetrates deepest.
9. Photodynamic Therapy: PDT or Photodynamic Therapy is a treatment that involves a light source and a light-sensitive medicine to destroy abnormal cells. Depending on the area of your body that’s being treated, the medicine may be a cream, injection or special drink. After a few days, when the medicine would have a chance to build-up in the abnormal cells, a laser is used on to the treatment area for around 10 to 45 minutes. A follow-up appointment is required to check whether the treatment has been effective and decide if it needs to be repeated. It usually takes around 2 to 6 weeks for the area to heal completely, depending on which part of the body has been treated and how big the area is.
10. Medi-facials: Known as Medical-grade facials, these go above and beyond what a regular salon facial can offer. Here, each medi-facial is custom-tailored to meet certain skin needs and devices like ultrasonics and mesoporation can be used in combination with intraceuticals like vitamins, serums, chemical peels, and plant extracts to give long-lasting and promising results. Within 48-72 hours, one can get healthy and hydrated skin. Within a month or two, one can get long-term benefits due to cell regeneration.
PIGMENTATION TREATMENTS AT KLARA SKIN & HAIR CLINIC
We use advanced technology to significantly improve the appearance of aged and sun-damaged skin.
We will advise you on a bespoke treatment, after conducting a thorough skin assessment. The best results for your sun spots or age spots can often be achieved using a combination of skin tightening and skin rejuvenation methods.
If you are experiencing pigmentation and you would like to find out more about the treatments available at our clinic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts, today!
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Ph: +91 8056090670
New No: 3/1, Old No: 2, 1st Floor 5th Street, Tansi Nagar, Velachery, Chennai 600042