Pigment is produced by cells called melanocytes; and the number of which we have in the skin is dependant on our skin tone. Melanocytes are what produce a ’tan’ but this exposure to the sun is what causes an overproduction of the cells causing pigmentation or sun damage.
A lot of the time this damage is not visible on the surface of the skin but can be seen under certain lights and cameras, it can takes years for it to reach the surface. This first shows as pigment after holidays/time in the sunshine which tends to fade with your tan - it then has reached the surface and at some point will not fade and remain as a darker mark on the skin making the tone uneven.
Pigment we treat on the skin can either be sun damage which shows as freckles or small patches of pigment which over time appear to become bigger or more areas come up on the skin; or a condition called Melasma.
Melasma is a pigmented condition which is generally caused by hormones or trauma to the skin. It can be common in pregnancy, known as the pregnancy mask - although can sometimes fade once the baby is born. Melasma can not be treated permanently but can be improved and managed. There are slight differences with how we treat melasma as IPL skin rejuvenation can not be done incase of further pigmentation changes to the skin.
How do we treat pigmentation in the skin?
The first step to preventing and/or treating is to wear a good quality SPF of 30 our higher daily, rain or shine.
We recommend to keep your face out of the sun, this may mean sitting in the shade or wearing a hat when you are in direct sunlight - there is no point trying to treat something when you are causing damage at the same time.
In clinic we offer treatments to help treat pigmentation;
- AlumierMD peels - to even the tone and speed up cell turnover
- Hydrafacial - to remove dead skin cells on the surface allowing healthy, brighter skin cells to the surface of the skin
- IPL Skin rejuvenation - this heats the pigment breaking it up so your skin can naturally shed (not suitable for melasma as the heat can cause further pigment damage)
- SkinPen - skin needling makes microchannels in the skin to increase collagen production by 200% in 8 weeks, this helps to speed up cell turnover and give a more even tone and texture to the skin
Depending on budgets, time frames and the pigment itself, we will make a plan for the treatment journey we recommend for each client.
For homecare an SPF of 30 or higher is non-negotiable! We also recommend an AHA exfoliator to help encourage the skins natural renewal process, Retinols to speed up cell turnover and promote a clear, even skin tone and vitamin C to brighten and lighten the skin.
Other products such as skin brighteners and melanin suppressants can be used for skins which are prone to pigment and sun damage; or in cases where treatments can not be performed because of sun exposure and/or medical conditions.
So remember; Wear SPF, cover up and avoid sun exposure where possible!