Got pigmentation? Want to shift it?Posted on: 16th July 2016
Q: I have some brown spots and patches on my Face that seem to get worse in the Sun. How are they caused and how can I get rid of them to make them look less visible?
A: Dr Pradnya says these brown spots or patches are caused by a variety of reasons that include sun exposure,hormone changes and hyperpigmentation from certain Aesthetic Treatments. These include Laser or IPL for Hair removal and can particularly affect darker skins. Certain chemical peels can also cause pigmentation post treatment if the skin is not properly prepared prior to having the peel.
The main cause of brown spots or pigmentation however is sun exposure.
Age spots are caused by an excessive production of melanin. You are likely to develop brown spots or pigmentation in skin that is exposed to UV radiation. They also develop as the skin ages. Areas of your skin exposed to the sun will include the face, back of hands, shoulders and forearms.
A brownish patch that develops on the face after sun exposure is called melasma and it is due to overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells called melanocytes which are then deposited in the dermis. There is also a genetic disposition to this type of skin pigmentation. Known triggers for melasma include sun exposure and pregnancy (though the melasma can fade after delivery). Hormone treatments eg contraceptive pill, HRT and implants are also a factor in about 25% of women. Some medications can cause a phototoxic reaction that triggers melasma. Hypothryoidism can also be a causative factor.
These patches can also commonly arise in healthy,non pregnant adults and can persist for decades. UV exposure deepens the pigmentation because it activates the melanocytes to produce more melanin. It is more common in women than men and its appearance can be quite distressing to the individual.
Common areas affected by this condition are forehead, cheeks and the nose.
Age spots or melasma formation cannot be prevented but the chances can be reduced by simple preventation.
Avoiding sun exposure especially between the hours 11am-3pm when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
Wearing sunscreen daily. This should be a minimum of SPF 30 and contain UVA and UVB protection. Wearing a physical sunscreen is vital to protect the skin from the photo aging effects.
Wearing protective clothing eg long sleeved clothes and wearing a hat.
Treatments are now available for treating pigmentation in the skin. These will include skin lightening agents though some contain Hydroquinone. This has been clinically proven to reduce pigmentation in the right concentrations but recent clinical research has shown pigmentation can get worse once the treatment has stopped so it has to be carefully controlled by a qualified medical aesthetic practitioner .
There are other skin lightening topical treatments available that do not contain hydroquinone. Kojic Acid as part of a skincare treatment is well known to reduce pigmentation as well and we offer such skincare in our Clinic. This is from Image Skincare.
Any medication to treat pigmentation should be taken under advice in a Medical Aesthetic Clinic as it is a very difficult condition to treat.
Not all cases of pigmentation can be treated with topical agents so adjunctive procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion or microneedling ( Dermaroller) may be used for more stubborn cases,though these have to be exercised with caution due to an increased risk of hyperpigmentation. Results are normally seen after a few treatments.
It can also be treated with Laser but this should be approached with caution in darker skins too as the pigmentation can be made worse post treatment. Pre treatment with Skin lightening agents will need to be used prior to laser treatments to avoid hyperpigmentation.
All forms of pigmentation can be treated with an Medical Aesthetic Clinic that uses Skincare Clinically proven to reduce pigmentation. Unfortunately, this skin condition though difficult to treat can be managed and even reduced in the right hands and using the correct Skincare with the above mentioned treatments.
There are however some treatments that have been known to reduce melasma in a effective way and we can offer this amazing treatment in our clinic.
It is called The Perfect Peel and works on all skin types. It is vitally important to wear a physical sunscreen especially post chemical peel to create more pigmentation. The beauty of this treatment is that it contains glutathione which is best known for its antiaging benefits. It is a Medical Grade peel so it only offered by doctors,dentists or registered nurses.
Ski SouthWest MediClinic is the only clinic in the South West to offer this amazing treatment.« Back to All Blogs