Skin Pigmentation and Available Treatment Solutions
Most people face skin imperfections at some point in their lives. Pigmentation however, happens to be one of the most common skin concerns Asians typically seek treatment for. While this skin condition is usually harmless, it’s not any less frustrating to deal with.
Skin pigmentation can be divided into two categories, namely hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation happens when the affected area of your skin becomes darker than normal, while hypopigmentation is the complete opposite. Simply put, the former skin concern occurs when there is too much pigmentation in a particular area of your skin, whereas the latter appears when there is too little of it.
In this article, we will be focusing more on hyperpigmentation, its varieties, prevention tips, and solutions for flawless skin!
Common Types of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation happens when your melanocyte skin cells are overactive and produce more melanin – a substance in your body which is responsible for giving your skin its colour. With excessive melanin, you will find your skin darkening in small patches, large areas, or covering your whole body.
Listed below are various types of pigmentation so you can better understand what's going on with your skin. If you think you have any one of these pigmentation abnormalities, be sure to visit a doctor or dermatologist for an official diagnosis;
As the most common type of pigmentation, these tiny light brown spots are typically found on areas of the face that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as your cheeks and nose. Unlike moles, which are raised, freckles are flat. They usually appear at a young age and increase with the years, especially among those with a fairer complexion.
Age Spots, sun spots, or liver spots
Medically known as Solar Lentigines, this skin condition appears in the form of brownish pigmentation on the face and body due to constant exposure to the sun, and even as a result of ageing. They are very common, especially in people over the age of 30 years. Sun spots are not cancerous, but since UV exposed skin risks developing other precancerous blemishes that look similar, it's critical to have your skin examined by a dermatologist at least once a year.
More popular among us Asians, melasma is characterized by brown or tan patches on the forehead, nose, jawline, and upper lips – but especially over areas of your cheeks. This type of hyperpigmentation mostly occurs among pregnant women and is often called the "mask of pregnancy”, but can also be found in men. It is thought to be triggered by a combination of sun exposure, genetics, hormonal changes, as well as the use of oral contraceptives. Melasma sometimes naturally goes away after pregnancy, but can be challenging to treat as its recurrence rate is higher than other forms of pigmentation.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
PIH results from trauma or injuries to your skin. Anything that sets off an inflammation – such as acne breakouts, cuts, allergies, scrapes, scratching, or even side effects from cosmetic procedures, can send your melanocytes into high gear, leaving behind a dark spot after the injury has healed.
These discolorations are more common among people of colour and may fade with time. But if you’re interested in speeding up this process, there are a number of treatments available.
Tips On Preventing Hyperpigmentation
Although not all causes of hyperpigmentation can be avoided, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from occurring or becoming more prominent by;
Avoiding direct sunlight. Make sure to use a sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher during the daytime – even if you’re staying indoors! Sunscreens containing physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are also helpful in blocking daylight’s UVA rays, which makes hyperpigmentation worse.
Avoiding picking at the skin especially when there is injury, like a mosquito bite. Take care to not peel scabs and acne wounds as well. When touching your skin to apply skin care or makeup, remember to always wash your hands first.
How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation?
While not dangerous, pigmentation is an undeniably stubborn condition to treat. So, here are a range of effective treatments to help you out;
Certain ingredients and products can help fade the appearance of dark spots while also reducing hyperpigmented brown patches on your face. They include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as:
A skin-bleaching agent that is used to lighten areas of darkened skin. Due to possible side effects when incorrectly used, you will need a doctor’s prescription to buy Hydroquinone in Singapore.
Kojic acid or Arbutin
Acts as a tyrosine suppressant to prevent melanin production and reduce your chances of having pigmentation.
It is an antioxidant. It helps protect the skin from free radicals, lighten pigmentations, reduce wrinkles, and brighten your overall skin tone. Do note that the potency does matter as an extremely high concentration of vitamin C can result in burns. If you’re interested in a product with this all-star antioxidant, along with other superstar ingredients, the Stainless Whitening Elixir should do the trick! With the help of a derma stamper, this formula will give you a lovely, lit-from-within glow and overall healthier complexion.
It has the ability to lighten, brighten skin, fade unwanted sun spots, banish acne scars, and even minimize age spots.
It is a form of vitamin B3 with the ability to even out skin tones and discolorations from sun damage, reduce appearances of enlarged pores, as well as diminish dullness. If you’re looking for an effective product with this ingredient and a host of other powerhouses such as Citrus unshiu extract, Tranexamoyl dipeptide-23, and more, make sure to try the Melaclear Brightening Serum. With the combined ability to promote skin elasticity, decrease redness, blotchiness, and stop the transfer of melanin pigment to the skin cells, your skin will feel radiant and spot-free in the long run!
As much as it is soothing and calming, facials that incorporate vitamin C, mulberry, arbutin, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), and Broad Band Light (BPL) are also particularly efficient at brightening your skin. Treatment frequencies however may vary based on the severity of your pigmentation. Here are some facial suggestions that will leave your skin rejuvenated and radiant;
PigmentFree Facial combines the use of KLER Stainless Whitening Elixir, micro needling, and clinical-grade IPL as well as Radio Frequency (RF) to brighten and balance overall skin tone, leaving your complexion dewy and glowing.
Another option includes the HydraGlow Facial which incorporates Vitamin C, seaweed, and clinical-grade IPL as well as RF to visibly reduce the appearance of your skin blemishes, discoloration, and age spots.
For deep-seated pigmentations, try combining facials with cosmetic procedures!
Clinical cosmetic procedures
These treatments are usually more intense and require the intervention of trained professionals with a medical background, but can help to lighten your pigmentation in a shorter time span. However, if you’re considering any one of these procedures, please make sure to first discuss its process and possible side effects with a qualified aesthetician or dermatologist before scheduling an appointment. Popular clinical treatments to renew and restore hyperpigmented skin include;
Skin Laser such as Fractional CO2, Nd-yag Laser, and Yellow Laser, are known to treat different types of skin discolouration. This is one of the most advanced treatments for removing unwanted pigmentation on the skin such as age spots, sunspots, hyperpigmentation, flat pigmented birthmarks, and freckles.
Chemical peels like Cosmelan peels, are used to improve the appearance of acne scars, melasma, sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, and several other conditions by removing your damaged epidermis layer to reveal healthier, blemish-free skin. While the intensity of these peels can be controlled, we do not recommend high frequencies of them unless spaced out to offer an adequate healing period.
Following both cosmetic procedures, be sure to keep away from direct sunlight and religiously apply your sunscreen at least for the next 2 to 3 days.
From leaving you feeling anxious, embarrassed, and with lower self-esteem, skin pigmentation can become a constant – and maybe even lifelong struggle, if not dealt with appropriately. Keeping these tips and treatment options in mind will help you better prevent future pigmentation as well as address any current discolouration you may have. Here’s to better and brighter skin!