There are three main types of hyperpigmentation:
melasma, solar lentigines, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation Types /
Can anything be done to treat hyperpigmentation?
Regardless of the source of your hyperpigmentation, this condition can have a devastating affect on your self-esteem, particularly since the spots typically appear on the face, where they can be difficult to hide. Fortunately, if you suffer from hyperpigmentation, there are now a number of treatment options.
What is Melasma?
Melasma, or aschloasma faciei, is a skin condition caused by excess pigment, which leads to the development of dark patches on the face. These spots, which typically appear on the forehead, cheeks, chin, and upper lip, are often triggered by hormone changes, such as pregnancy or an adjustment in birth control pills. As a result, 90% of patients who develop melasma are women and the condition is nicknamed the “mask of pregnancy.” However, men are susceptible to melasma as well and it is believed that sun exposure can aggravate the condition.
What is Solar lentigines?
Solar lentigines, often referred to as sunspots, are small brown patches caused by sun exposure. As a result, they frequently develop on the areas of the body most often exposed to the sun such as the face, chest, and hands. Once you have them sun exposure can make them more pronounced, which is why it is so important to be diligent about sunscreen application.
What is Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Post – inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by trauma to the skin, and typically occurs following surgery or as a result of skin conditions such as acne. It results in flat spots, which may be pink, red, brown or black.
Treatment options /
How do Chemical Peels treat hyperpigmentation?
A chemical peel is an exfoliating treatment which resurfaces the epidermis, the outer layer of skin. In addition to leaving your skin visibly smoother and refreshed, this procedure is an extremely effective treatment for the pigmentation caused by age spots, acne scarring, or melasma.
After cleansing your skin thoroughly, a chemical, such as lactic acid or glycolic acid is applied to the treatment area and then carefully removed, taking with it a layer of skin. As the skin is peeled off, a softer, smoother layer of skin is revealed. This process renews skin growth as discolored skin cells are removed, prompting healthy cells to grow in their place.
The length of the treatment and number of sessions required depends on the type of peel being used. In most instances, the procedure will take less than an hour. Although this is an outpatient procedure, it typically takes 4-10 days to recover from a strong chemical peel due to the peeling of skin and redness that occurs after the treatment. It is important to avoid exposing your skin to direct sunlight following a chemical peel, as new skin is very sensitive and susceptible to burning.
Can sunblock prevent hyperpigmentation?
Applying sunblock diligently is crucial for the prevention of hyperpigmentation. Since sun exposure is one of the causes of hyperpigmentation and can also intensify the effects of both post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma, sunscreen should be applied daily to prevent the overproduction of melanin. As its name implies, sunblock works by acting as a filter that blocks UV light from reaching your skin. While many individuals believe it is only necessary to apply sunblock in the summer, it should be used year-round to prevent the development of hyperpigmentation as well as other signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
How can I determine the best treatment option for me? /
If you are looking for a solution for bothersome hyperpigmentation, narrowing down the appropriate treatment options can be overwhelming. I understand how troubling the appearance of hyperpigmentation can be and have seen firsthand the impact its reduction can have on an individual’s self-esteem. I invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss each of the above hyperpigmentation treatment options with me in order to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.
Treatment options /
How does PRP Treat Hyperpigmentation?
PRP, which stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, is also commonly referred to as a Vampire Facelift. While this may sound intimidating, it is an incredibly safe and natural hyperpigmentation treatment, which utilizes your own blood. During this non-surgical procedure, a small amount of blood (approximately 60 mls) is drawn from the patient using a syringe and injected into the treatment area, promoting the regeneration of tissues, which in turn, reduces the appearance of brown spots in the treatment area.
The blood drawn from the patient is placed into the PRP centrifuge where it is divided into plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets in order to separate the Platelet Rich Plasma, which is used for the procedure due to its healing nature. Platelets repair damage to skin by stimulating the regeneration of tissue. When PRP is injected into the site of the hyperpigmentation, it triggers the healing process and new collagen is produced. In turn, you will notice a significant improvement in skin tone and texture in as little as one treatment.
This minimally invasive procedure can be completed in only one hour and requires no downtime. Immediately following the procedure, the treatment area may be red and you may experience temporary edema, however, this will quickly dissipate. Although the procedure itself is quick, it may take up to six weeks to see visible results. 2-3 treatments are typically recommended for optimal results.
How does Microneedling treat hyperpigmentation?
Microneedling is an incredibly safe, minimally invasive procedure that effectively rejuvenates your skin, evening skin tone, and minimizing imperfections. As such, it is an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation.
During this procedure, a device containing sterile micro-needles is carefully passed over your skin, creating tiny, invisible micro-injuries which trigger your body’s natural healing process. In response, your body’s production of collagen and elastin increases, which results in skin that is smoother and more even in tone. In addition to minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, microneedling has also been proven to be effective in reversing sun damage and hyperpigmentation.
20-30 minutes prior to the procedure, a topical anesthetic cream is applied to minimize discomfort during the treatment. The procedure itself takes approximately 20-30 minutes, which means you can be in and out in less than an hour. The treatment area may be red following the procedure but this will lessen within a day or two. Most patients see results after 2-4 treatments, which should be scheduled every 3-6 weeks.