Picture of Author: <b> Karen Austin
Author: Karen Austin

Types of Pigmentation

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There are many forms of pigmentation that an individual can come across. There are however a few main types that seem to pop up that can have quite an effect.

Melasma which can also be known as the ‘pregnancy mask’ is a form of pigment that can take on an appearance of dark, irregular patches on the skin. It is most commonly found on the face. Mainly the cheeks, forehead and upper lip. The cause for melasma is thought to be brought on by a surge of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIHP) – This is a form of pigment that acts as an immune response in the skin caused by some level of trauma. The melanin in the skin is over stimulated and thus leaves a darker patch on the surface area where the trauma has been. The risk of PIHP increases with darker skin types.

This trauma can be caused by multiple reasons including:

1. Acne (popping/picking)
2. Breaking of the skin (trauma)
3. Excessive burns/sun damage
4. Laser/IPL if proper precautions and post care was not followed

PIHP is exacerbated with excess sun exposure to the ‘trauma’ area as melanin is further stimulated by UV rays.

Solar Lentigo– This is a very common form of pigment. You may know it as ‘liver spots’ or ‘age spots’. These are most often caused by sun damage from the ultra violet rays and age. You will find this form of pigment on the areas of skin which is exposed more often to the sun light like the hands, face, shoulders, arms, forehead, and the scalp if bald. Rest assure there are options to help reduce the effect of pigmentation and even completely remove it. The following are three treatments to address pigmentation.

1. Dermal therapies like chemical peels and microdermabrasion’s in packs have been somewhat successful in the past. But as technology has increased we now have options that can help reduce and remove pigmentation in as few a 1-3 treatments.

2. Dermafrac is one such advance. This is a combination therapy which includes microdermabrasion to exfoliate the skin and increase its absorption properties. It is then followed by skin needling, this is responsible for collagen and elastin stimulation at a cellular level in addition to increasing the depth of the topical serum penetration. The serum is simultaneously inserted with the needling, for pigmentation concerns Kojic acid (a special lightening agent) is used. This is a key step to pigmentation reduction as it evens out overall tone of the skin.
The final step in this combination therapy is LED (Light Emitting Diode) of the red variety. This is used to reduce inflammation post micro and needling.

3. Focus Lens array- Skin rejuvenation with the PicoSure laser. This treatment has a FDA clearance for acne scarring and has a proven track record of clearance or reduction in all types of pigmentation. The light energy focuses on the excess pigment sitting in the skin, and shatters it into smaller pieces. Our skins response is to clear these damaged cells with increased cellular turnover. What you are left with is rejuvenated skin and tone with less hyper pigment.

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