Your Guide to Pigmentation

What is it and why does it occur?

Pigmentation is a generalized term for your skin tone changing colour. This can occur anywhere on the body but is particularly common on the face, decolletage, and the backs of your hands. 

Our skin colour is determined by the amount of melanin found in our bodies. Less melanin results in a lighter skin tone, while more melanin leads to a deeper skin tone. However, there are a range of factors that can increase abnormal melanin production and lead to changes to our skin, often resulting in dark spots or patches.

The most common cause of pigmentation is exposure to the sun, resulting in freckles, sun spots and age spots. Other determinants include hormonal changes (taking the pill or other hormone-based medications), general ageing and skin trauma or inflammation (such as acne). 

Types

When it comes to treating pigmentation, the first step is determining the type of pigmentation present. There are a few different types including freckles, Solar Lentigines, Melasma and Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. 

Freckles

Freckles are the most common type of pigmentation. While you may be born with some freckles, often they appear as the first sign of sun damage. You may notice they appear darker over summer when you are spending more time in the sun. 

Solar Lentigines

Solar Lentigines are also known as liver spots, sun spots, brown spots or age spots. They are pigmented spots that vary in colour from light brown to black. While they may look like freckles, they are caused purely by sun exposure and do not tend to fade during the year. As they are from UV exposure, they do need to be monitored for changes as they can develop into melanoma in some instances. 

Melasma

Melasma usually occurs on the face as tan/brown patches across the forehead, cheeks and/or upper lip. Though causes are unknown, it is more common amongst women and is often triggered by hormonal changes such as pregnancy (often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”). While it may gradually occur, melasma can be exacerbated by sun exposure, certain medications, heat and stress.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

You know those dark marks left by a bad breakout? That is PIH! It can also result from other skin trauma such as burns, friction or other skin conditions. Fortunately, this type of pigmentation is easiest to treat and can easily improve with the right treatment.

Treatments

Once the type of pigmentation has been determined, you can then begin treatments to help lighten and remove it. It’s important to note that, like anything, prevention is always better than cure. We encourage all our clients to wear SPF every day as well as choose active ingredients such as vitamin C and vitamin A to keep the skin strong, healthy and even-toned. 

One of our favourite treatments for pigmentation is IPL. It is a safe, gentle and non-invasive treatment that uses a broad spectrum of light to treat your skin concerns. The target tissue absorbs the emitted light. This works to break down the pigment so it can then be removed by natural bodily processes. We will usually suggest a course of 3 treatments to begin with, depending on the skin and severity of pigmentation present. The treatment has a slight discomfort and you may leave feeling like you have only a mild sunburn.

Where IPL is not a suitable treatment for various reasons, another favourite treatment of ours for pigmentation is Skin Needling. Microneedles gently work to puncture the skin, increasing cell turnover and encouraging the production of collagen and elastin. Not only will your skin tone look more even, you should also notice improvements in fine lines, skin texture and general “plumpness” and radiance.  

If you’re looking for a more introductory option, our facials and peels are a great place to start! Try a lactic acid peel or opt for a milder treatment such as our White Balance Facial which is effective at brightening and evening the tone of hyperpigmented skin, illuminating the complexion and reducing discolouration.

You can book online here or come and see us for a complimentary consultation to discuss your treatment options. 

Products

For those who are looking to promote a more even skin tone or prevent pigmentation, there are a number of home-care products that are hugely beneficial.

White Balance Brightening Serum

Our favourite pigment serum is the White Balance Brightening Serum from Medik8. It is the latest formula from the long-term Medik8 anti-pigmentation research program, containing patented technology to visibly combat discolouration. It works to transform dull, uneven skin tone by blocking the creation of pigment for an illuminated, radiant complexion.

 

C-Tetra +

A quality vitamin C serum is also key to healthy, even skin. The Medik8 C-Tetra + is a high strength and stable vitamin C serum that helps to combat sun-induced damage to the skin, help trigger collagen production, increase the skin’s elasticity and density, as well as improve the skin’s texture and brighten the complexion.

 

Physical Sunscreen SPF 30

As we said, prevention is better than treatment! Did you know approximately 80% of photoageing is caused by the sun (including those dark freckles, spots and patches)?

Using a high-strength, broad-spectrum SPF every single day will help give your skin the protection it needs. The Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF 30 is an ultra-sheer, fast-absorbing cream that calms and soothes without leaving any residue.

 

You can also check out our full range of pigmentation solutions on our website here:

https://www.laserskinspecialist.com.au/product-category/pigmentation/

 

However, for best results, we highly recommend booking a free consultation with our expert clinicians. Our team is highly trained in identifying types of pigmentation present, as well as curating specialized treatment plans for your needs. You can book here:

 

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