In order to understand how to treat a skin issue, the best way to begin is to understand the issue at hand. Through knowledge, we are able to identify what treatments would be beneficial or detrimental to the skin condition and what is the best path to take to diminish or eliminate the skin condition entirely. When it comes to skin pigmentation, a skin condition that strikes a vast majority of Australians, we should first get to know it a little better, understand the causes, the variations and lastly, how to treat it.
Pigmentation by definition is the abnormal colouring of the skin. This can be due to a variety of factors including disease, sun damage and much more. The cause of pigmentation is the abnormal production of melanin. Melanin is responsible for producing pigment in the skin, which makes the skin a particular colour. People with darker skin have more melanin present, while people with fairer skin have less, and so it goes. Melanin as a sole entity is never a problem. However, when your body starts to create an abnormal amount of melanin in particular areas, this can lead to pigmentation.
There are two main types of pigmentation:
- Hyperpigmentation: when the abnormal production of melanin results in darker areas of colour being created and evident on the skin
- Hypopigmentation: when the abnormal production of melanin results in lighter areas of colour being formed and evident on the skin
There are many different reasons why your skin produces an abnormal amount of melanin. Some of the most common causes are:
- Hormonal imbalances: such as puberty, menopause and pregnancy
- Certain diseases: vitiligo can create light patches on the skin, whilst some autoimmune diseases can also affect skin pigment
- Certain medications: a typical example that can lead to skin pigmentation is the introduction of the contraceptive pill
- Sun exposure: the effects of the sun can lead to a melanin imbalance. We advise you to always apply a high-quality sunscreen with a high SPF
- Genetic predisposition: the chances of skin pigmentation affecting you are increased substantially if your family has also been affected by skin pigmentation (an acute example of this would be Albinism)
If you can recognise skin pigmentation or feel that it may be present, though are unsure, schedule an appointment with us here at Main Street Cosmetic and Skin. During your initial skin consultation, we can conduct a thorough assessment of your skin, confirm whether it is in fact skin pigmentation, and explain the best options for successful treatment. It is extremely important that a correct diagnosis be made, to ensure that appropriate treatment is given, allowing the best possible results to be achieved.
Treatment options range from the following:
- Laser therapy: certain types of pigmentation may respond well to laser therapy, such as sun spots; these spots may fade or completely disappear
- Bleaching agents: pigment, such as melasma, may respond well to lightening agents, though they may not totally disappear
- Chemical peels: superficial layers of pigmentation may be able to be removed with a skin peel treatment
- IPL: Intense Pulsed Light therapy can achieve a similar result to laser therapy; tt works by targeting the melanin below the skin’s surface
- Assessment and reevaluation of your hormone treatments (e.g. the contraceptive pill), other prescription medication and exposure to UV rays
- Avoidance of the sun, and the introduction of 50+ sunscreen; this will aid in the management of the pigmentation and allow the skin to take a well needed break from the harmful effects of UV rays
Out of the options listed above, our two most popular skin pigmentation treatments are laser therapy and topical lightening creams. The reason that these two treatments are effective are for their minimal downtime, and their maximum results. For example, laser therapy can drastically alter the appearance of skin pigmentation if not eliminate it, and has a recovery period of approximately one week. Topical creams take longer to achieve a positive result, though have zero down time and are completely free of harmful effects.
Our skilled and knowledgeable team of doctors and trained medical staff will assess your skin and provide unique advice for you and your individual situation. What works for Sally may not work for Harry. Therefore we treat each client like the individual they are.
Skin pigmentation is not limited to the facial skin, as pigmentation can occur anywhere on the body. The hands, neck and face are the most common, with 62% of Australian women listing skin pigmentation as a concern. All of the areas where skin pigmentation occurs can be treated with one of the two treatments listed above. If your pigmentation is raised somewhat, we will have one of our specialist skin doctors check your pigmentation to rule out any other causes.
To learn more about skin pigmentation or to schedule your skin consultation, call Main Street Cosmetic and Skin on 03 9739 3830. Our experienced team is a wealth of knowledge and can help with a variety of skin issues. Better yet, your first skin consultation is complimentary!