Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin concerns, particularly amongst women. Also referred to as age or sun spots, pigmentation shows up as dark patches of skin on the face and hands but it can appear on any area of the body that is exposed to the sun.
While some cases of hyperpigmentation are mild, others are more noticeable and can affect your self-confidence. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to treat different types of hyperpigmentation.

Understanding the Different Types of Hyperpigmentation

Not all hyperpigmentation is the same – this is what you need to know about the different types.

Age/Sun Spots This form of hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure. Sun and age spots mainly appear on areas such as the face, neck and hands but these small patches of dark skin can show up on any area of the body that is regularly exposed to the rays of the sun.

Melasma Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that leads to larger patches of darker skin, mainly on the face. Even though melasma can affect both men and women, it is more common amongst women because it is triggered by hormonal fluctuations.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of a skin injury or trauma and appears as a flat area of discolouration. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is very common amongst adults who struggle with acne and can appear following a laser or microdermabrasion treatment or a chemical peel.

Typical Hyperpigmentation Triggers

Hyperpigmentation is caused when there is a spike in melanin, which is the natural pigment that adds colour to your eyes, skin and hair. These are some of the factors that can increase your melanin levels.

– Sun Exposure.
Exposure to harmful UV rays is one of the leading causes of hyperpigmentation. Melanin is what protects your skin from the sun but overexposing your skin to UV rays will disrupt your body’s natural processes and cause hyperpigmentation. Once sun spots appear, additional sun exposure can make them even darker.

– Hormonal Changes.
When there is an increase in the production of oestrogen and progesterone, it can lead to the overproduction of melanin, particularly when the skin is exposed to the sun. It’s for this reason that pregnant women or those on birth control are more prone to melasma.

– Injury and Inflammation.
Acne, cuts, burns and even psoriasis can all lead to hyperpigmentation, causing the skin to darken in places as it heals.

– Medication and Disease.
Finally, hyperpigmentation can also be caused by underlying medical conditions and certain medications. Metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases and vitamin deficiencies are all linked to hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options

There is more than one way to treat the different types of hyperpigmentation – here are some of the top solutions to consider.

– PRP
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) has become one of the most talked about treatments for hyperpigmentation. Using the growth factors that are present in your own blood, a series of small injections are used to encourage healthy cellular activity to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Once the patient’s blood is withdrawn, it is placed in a centrifuge where the plasma can be separated from the rest of the blood. The growth factor-rich plasma is what’s injected into the problem area to treat hyperpigmentation. PRP injections are ideal as a standalone treatment but can also be used in conjunction with other treatments to enhance their results. Treatments are minimally uncomfortable and is associated with a short downtime.
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– Microdermabrasion
During a microdermabrasion treatment, the upper layer of the skin is gently removed, making this the ideal treatment for mild cases of hyperpigmentation. Microdermabrasion treatments are painless and will encourage your skin to regenerate; leaving you with a smoother and clearer complexion that is free of pigmentation. While microdermabrasion doesn’t require any downtime, several treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results.
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– Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are designed to achieve similar results to microdermabrasion. Once the peel is applied, it works to gently remove dead and damaged skin cells, including the pigmented cells. The peel will create a slight tingling sensation as it takes effect and the entire treatment only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. While the skin may be slightly red following your treatment, you are free to return to work directly after your appointment if need be.
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– Laser Genesis
Laser Genesis is a popular skin rejuvenation treatment that can be used to breakup pigmented cells in the epidermis, while also preventing pigmentation from recurring post-treatment. If the hyperpigmentation is present in both the dermal and epidermal layer, Laser Genesis may need to be paired with additional treatments. Laser Genesis treatments are comfortable and patients are free to return to their normal activities directly after their appointment.
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– Limelight IPL
Limelight is a powerful intense pulse light (IPL) system that is designed to improve skin tone and reduces the appearance of surface imperfections such as sun spots. Treatments can easily be customised for different skin tones and are often described as mildly uncomfortable. However, a soothing gel can be used to reduce discomfort. The average treatment lasts about an hour and several sessions may be required to achieve the desired result.
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– Cosmeceutical Home Skincare
Along with finding the right cosmetic treatment, hyperpigmentation can also be treated using the right skincare products at home. At MUSE Clinic we use products from the Ultraceuticals range to create customised skincare plans that treat specific concerns such as hyperpigmentation. Ultraceuticals is an Australian skincare brand that produces cruelty-free products that are backed by science and research.
To decide which hyperpigmentation treatment option is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr Lowe or one of our experienced clinicians.
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