1. What is pigmentation?
Pigmentation is the coloring of a person’s skin. When a person is healthy, their skin tone usually looks normal. If you are unwell or there is injury to your skin, it may look darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation).
When our skin tone looks uneven with patches of hypo- or hyperpigmentation, many may feel it affects their level of confidence and hence try to cover up with makeup. Long term of covering up with makeup and without proper removal, may lead to other problems such as – pores congestion, breakouts, further blemishes on the skin, etc.
2. What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is when your skin color is darker than usual. This happens when more melanin is produced by melanocytes due to certain triggering factors. Skin darkening may also be caused by the deposition of endogenous or exogenous pigments, such as hemosiderin, iron, or heavy metals, in the dermis.
3. What are the causes of common types of hyperpigmentation?
Most hyperpigmentations are triggered or worsened by UV rays, dry skin or damaged skin barrier.
Melasma is very common among females who are above 40 years of age, lesser found in men. Classically, melasma appears as big brown patch, with irregular border and typically found at symmetrical areas on face. Pre-menopause or menopausal women, or on hormonal therapy increases their risks for melasma.
Whereas for solar lentigines and ephelides, they can be found on skin that are exposed to UV rays. When skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun or tanning salon, it will trigger keratinocytes to release chemicals that stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Consequently, cause darkening of skin due to the accumulation of melanin in keratinocytes. Fair skin is more predisposed to this type of pigmentation.
The main differences between these 2 hyperpigmentations are the age of onset, and size of the lesions.
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is usually diagnosed based on history of trauma or injury, example post acne scar. Darker skin tones are more predisposed to PIH.
Hyperpigmentation also can be induced by drugs (NSAIDs), phenytoin, antimalarials, amiodarone, antipsychotic drugs, cytotoxic drugs, tetracyclines, and heavy metals.
4. What are the treatment options for hyperpigmentation?
After confirming that your hyperpigmentation is not malignant, it is important to find out the cause of your hyperpigmentations, for a better treatment plan to achieve optimal result.
There are a range of possible treatment methods that you can do to reduce your hyperpigmentation, ranging from topical to energy based devices. Depending on skin types and conditions, certain treatments may not be suitable or may cause adverse reaction and worsening of the hyperpigmented areas.
To know more about our treatments for pigmentation, click here.
The most commonly used treatment modalities for hyperpigmentation is topical creams, which you can apply at the comfort of your own home.
These creams and medications contain ingredients which are helpful in controlling and reduce hyperpigmentation. Commonly used agents include; hydroquinone, steroids, retinoids, kojic acid, azelaic acid, arbutin, vitamin C and niacinamide.
Please seek professional advices on the suitable topical cream before self-treating. This is to avoid using topicals or treatments that will further cause inflammation, irritation or damage skin barrier.
Aesthetic Dermatology Procedure
In-clinic procedures for improvement and reduction of pigmentations are such as chemical peel, mesotherapy, and laser therapy. It is important to consult with your doctor about the best treatment options, their benefits and possible side effects of their chosen treatments.
There are certain oral supplements that are clinically proven to benefit pigmentation prone skin. They contain ingredients that helps to protect, repair and brighten skin from the inside out-not just on your face but also your entire body.
Advice for hyperpigmentation sufferers:
Uneven skin tone, patches of discolorations are one of the causes of low self-esteem, making one appear to look tired or older than their age. It often causing one to avoid social interactions. It is not easy to stop the buildup of hyperpigmentation, as we are living in a country that is rich in sunlight all year round.
But with combination and consistent treatments, the dark spots or patches can be controlled. I always advise my patients and continuously educating them on prevention is the best method for slowing down the buildup of pigmentation. But, please seek professional advice before self-treating your dark spots to prevent worsening of it. Seeking advice and treatment earlier can prevent from complication and reduce the number of sessions needed to recover.
It is also important to prevent hyperpigmentation from worsening, by focusing more on hydration and adequate sun protection for the maintenance of long-lasting skin health and tone. Reduce UV rays exposure and avoid harsh irritant containing products.
To know more about our signature FIT treatments for pigmentation, click here.
Dr Mikayla Chang
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Watch the video below to know more about Pigmentation:
Why Ozhean AM Clinic?
We are first Korea Aesthetic Clinic in Malaysia that uses full adaptation of trademarked FIT program created by a team of experienced Korea’s aesthetic doctors.
In Ozhean A.M clinic, we provide customized “FIT treatment” according to each individual, to achieve the ideal result with advance instruments, specialized lasers machines, injectable, supplement and program.
With treatments conducted by our Malaysia certified professional doctors, they will do detail consultation, assessment, and propose a most suitable treatment program to achieve your desire result.