Hyperpigmentation is the deposit of melanin (pigment) due to the stimulation of melanogenesis. Melanogenesis is the process by which pigment is produced and duplicated in the skin. It's the end result of the immune system triggering an inflammatory response, which then triggers melanocyte activity to protect the skin's DNA from damage and mutation. This process is instigated by any hormonal trigger or cutaneous inflammation such as heat, trauma and sun.
Types and causes of Hyperpigmentation:
-UV induced Hyperpigmentation can be caused by overexposure to sun, tanning beds, fluorescent and ambient light. It presents as diffuse spots or macules that are evenly distributed around the face.
-Hormonally induced Hyper Melasma is commonly associated with a fluctuation of hormones: pregnancy, oral contraceptives, thyroid dysfunction or menopause. It will worsen with UV exposure. It appears as large symmetrical bilateral dark patches with jagged borders typically around the jawline, upper lip, cheeks, and forehead. Melasma affects five to six million people annually.
-Post inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
PIH is pigment deposited as a result of surface irritation, inflammation or abrasion of the epidermis. It's characterized by ingrown hairs or and the overall darkening of the affected area.
The closer pigment lies to the surface of the skin, the darker it appears to the naked eye. Many are fooled into thinking that the problem has been corrected after one treatment of microdermabrasion or one superficial peel, because pigment will appear lighter to the naked eye. With natural cell turnover it is only a matter of time before deeper pigments will rise to the surface, making the area appear dark once again. This is why it's usually necessary to have multiple treatments to lift pigmentation.
Using gentle peeling agents that do not cause undue trauma to the skin, in conjunction with melanogenesis inhibitors is a more effective treatment path, than just simple exfoliation.
Using a daily care product with low level Retinol is beneficial in the battle against hyperpigmentation. The addition of superficial chemical peels helps to remove the darkened surface cells and also allows for better skin function and improved cell turnover rates.
In an attempt to discourage melanin, it's advisable to use a daily product with common and effective ingredients as Hydroquinone, Arbutin or Kojic Acid.
Everyone should be using broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 25 or greater every day on all exposed skin. This is particularly important for those trying to rid themselves of hyperpigmentation. Even walking to and from your car or exposure to fluorescent light bulbs will slow the process of evening out your complexion, if not halt it. Remember the SPF rating of a product only relates to its ability to protect the skin form UVB rays. Allow sun protection to absorb for 20 minutes prior to daytime exposure, wear hats, and reapply after 2 hours of sun exposure.
Currently, I'm offering a Bleaching cream with 2% Hydroquinone and AHA acids. There is a milder version with Kojic Acid.
Combined with Glycolic acid treatments, we've had excellent results. Please ask me about how this can help your skin.