Top Five Things About Pigmentation

  1. Pigmentation describes a range of common conditions where there is brown discolouration of the skin
  2. Pigmentation is contributed to by many factors including genetics, sun exposure, hormonal changes and skin trauma.
  3. Choice of optimal treatments will depend on the cause and pattern of pigmentation but a combination approach is essential
  4. First line treatment involves use of topical agents, superficial peels, prescription creams and sunblock
  5. Second line treatment involves use of laser and light sources including IPL, Ruby Lasers, YAG lasers and FRAXEL lasers

Pigmentation describes a range of conditions where the skin becomes blotchy or discoloured. Pigmentation can be caused by hormonal factors, skin trauma and excessive sun exposure.

Skin pigments are the biological substances that produce skin colour. The main determinant of visible differences in skin colour is brown pigment which is known as melanin.

If you have an abnormal excess of melanin then you have a condition called hyperpigmentation (which is commonly just called pigmentation).The excess melanin may be in the outer (epidermal) or inner (dermal) layers of the skin. The two commonest pigmentation disorders are post-inflammatory pigmentation and melasma.

Post-inflammatory Pigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is where dark patches of skin appear after something has caused skin inflammation. This can be caused by skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis and acne or by skin trauma from things such as accidental injury or following skin treatment with things such as chemical peels, waxing or electrolysis.

Melasma

Melasma is a common condition that primarily occurs in women of childbearing age. Both sun exposure and hormonal factors contribute. It appears on sun exposed areas of the skin especially the face but also the forearms.

Pigmentation Treatment

The treatment of pigmentation will depend on the cause and pattern of the pigmentation. It may involve the use of a skin care program utilising a prescription cream containing hydroquinone to block pigment production and the use of sunblock to restrict sun exposure. Lasers and light sources can also be used to remove pigmentation. Depending on whether the pigmentation is epidermal or dermal will determine the choice of the most appropriate laser or IPL to get the best result.

Combination treatment of topical agents (such as Rationale Niacinamide Serum), superficial peel, (such as Procedure micro peel), prescription creams (such as hydroquinone), daily sunblock and laser/IPL are often required to achieve the optimum results.

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