Pigmentation can affect the appearance and complexion of skin. Here is everything you need to know about hyperpigmentation, as well as skin pigmentation treatment and prevention options.
What is Pigmentation?
Uneven pigmentation of the skin is where a patch of skin is darker than the surrounding area. This colour occurs when the cell creates melanin, which is what gives our eyes, hair and skin colour. Pigmentation or hyperpigmentation can occur when these cells become damaged or unhealthy.
Pigmentation can come in many different forms, including;
- Sunspots, brown spots and sun damage
- Lentigo and age spots
Causes of Pigmentation
There are many causes of pigmentation, including;
Sometimes pigmentation can be caused by hormonal changes. Melasma is most common in women and although it isn’t known what directly causes it, it can occur during pregnancy, whilst taking medication, use of cosmetics, use of perfume and can even be caused by certain foods e.g. soy milk.
We all know it by now, sun damaged skin can cause a lot of problems. Pigmentation can occur after prolonged exposure of the sun when little to no protection is used against the suns UVA and UVB rays. This is because the rays can activate the condition and the melanin-producing cells.
Some forms of pigmentation, such as freckles, can be hereditary and come from skin tone or a genetic disorder.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is caused by injury or inflammation of the skin being exposed to sunlight. This is normally only temporary and will fade after about 18 months. But it can also result in serve permanent injury if not treated.
Skin Pigmentation Prevention
It can be pretty difficult to prevent pigmentation as it isn’t always preventable. The best way to prevent it the best you can do it to wear sunscreen with a high SPF whenever you’re outside in it. You can also help prevent it by avoiding direct sunlight for extended periods of time and avoiding sunbeds altogether.
Skin Pigmentation Treatment
If you already have pigmentation and what to get rid of it there are things that you can do.
Many skin clinics use IPL machines to help combat pigmentation. These machines work by giving a small but powerful burst of filtered light, this generates heat which destroys the cells which cause pigmentation. It can help clear most types of pigmentation including;
- Age spots
Large dark moles should not be treated with the laser as they could be a sign of something more serious. Pretty much anyone can get this type of treatment, except people who have really dark skin or who currently have a tan.
The treatment should take anywhere between 10 minutes and half an hour, this will depend on the number and size of the treatment areas. How many treatment sessions you will require will depend on each individual but it typically takes 1-3 treatments 4-6 week apart to achieve the desired results.