Hyperpigmentation: What You Need to Know

Do you find your skin plagued with discoloured patches or freckles that you have gotten from your favourite outdoor activity when you look at yourself in the mirror? This aesthetic issue is a common headache for many people and can be caused by various reasons like exposure to the sun or inflammation. While you might think that they can easily be concealed with makeup, it actually goes deeper for some people since it could cause one to feel conscious about their looks when they step out of our home au natural. Continue reading to gather more insights about this issue and how you can prevent and combat it effortlessly.


What is Hyperpigmentation?

If you have dark hair or pupils, you probably already know that it is due to the presence of melanin in your body. With the understanding that melanin is the natural pigment; when they are produced in excess by the body, the pigment would surface to the top of the skin as freckles and visible blotches. So in short, hyperpigmentation is when our skin starts bearing more melanin than usual.

These blemishes are not a medical concern, and will not affect your health in any adverse manner. However, to some, it can be an annoying woe to battle as they regard the spots as an imperfection, setting them further on their beauty goal of smooth and flawless visage. With that said, the need to explore treatments and remedies that would return the complexion to its impeccable condition is surely beneficial.


5 Main Causes of Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation happens in our body for a number of reasons. It can be the result of being out in the sun for hours to any sudden changes made to one’s diet or lifestyle that causes the hormone levels to be off the rails.  If you are concern about the increased levels of spots or dark pigmentation, you can prevent the condition from developing by understanding what causes them to surface in the first place. Read on to discover the causes that might exacerbate this issue.

1. Prolonged Exposure to the Sun

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays have been found to be the number one factor that causes dark spots to appear since it causes our body to produce an excess of melanin, turning our complexion a shade darker. Hence, we will find ourselves developing dark spots in common areas like our face and on our hands after being out in the sun for prolonged periods, especially without sun protection.

2. Pregnancy and Other Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes could lead to this condition too. When our body experiences a sudden change in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy, it could ramp up melanin production that causes dark patches to appear. It is common for many mothers-to-be to find freckles or darker patches on their faces, some starting as early as the first trimester. But do not worry! It is also common for the blotches and dots to fade after birth or breastfeeding. If they do not budge still, you may like to consider safe treatment options that fit your lifestyle.

3. Side Effects from Certain Medications

Do not be surprised if you start observing dark spots on your face or body when you are taking prescribed medication. Certain medications carry side effects that could make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure or increase the level of pigmentation, so check in with your doctor or read the labels of the medication that you have carefully. A very common one will be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are given to patients to reduce pain, prevent blood clots, decrease fever. So look out for them!

4. Inflammation Due to Chronic Skin Conditions

Next on the list of causes is related to inflamed or irritated skin. When your skin is inflamed or irritated, you are more likely to develop dark spots. Similarly, inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and even acne-related issues can cause pigmentation disorders to occur. In such cases, it is best not to scratch or pick them, which can cause unwanted scarring to happen.

5. Chronic Illnesses and Diseases

If you suffer from certain chronic illnesses, you might be more susceptible to developing dark spots and patches on your face or body. Some of these illnesses would include diabetes, liver disease, and various forms of cancer.  These chronic illnesses can disrupt your hormones level and thus, alter the production of melanin in the body.


What are the Common Types of Hyperpigmentation?

There are 3 common types, namely, post-inflammatory, photoaging and melasma.

1. Melasma

Characterised as grey-brown patches on the upper lip, cheeks or center of the forehead, melasma is a condition that is typically influenced by hormones. For some, it may also form on other parts of the body such as the forearms and neck. Because of how this issue is caused by fluctuations of the hormone level, it may be more common seem on women who are pregnant and for those who have been consuming birth control pills. Similar to photoaging (also referred to many as sunspots), prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can exacerbate melasma condition.

2. Photoaging

Affectionately known as sunspots, photoaging typically affects those in their later years, following prolonged and unprotected sun exposure. Dermatologists predict that people would typically experience this issue when they are in their late thirties or early forties, given that they practise necessary sun protection daily. Signs of photoaging are distinctive; they usually appear larger than freckles and appear as clusters of darker spots on your complexion instead of being cute speckles.

3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This is a term for dark spots that show up once your pimples disappear. Essentially, these dark spots occur after a pimple has healed, however, it is also important to note that it can happen after the skin has experienced some trauma including an insect bite, a scratch or some serious picking action. It is formed on the surface of the skin and does not go any deeper than that. It is however not a true acne scar, unlike ice picked scars, boxcar scars and more. But that does not mean that we should be taking it lightly. It is a mark that is left on the skin, which has shown in several cases, to take a long time to fade or is deemed permanent when left alone.


The Process of Pigmentation Removal By Laser

If you seek a treatment that is quick and effective, laser treatment is maybe what you will need. It uses a professional device with an applicator that emits light which will then convert to heat energy. A typical procedure of such could take from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the area that you are targetting.

1.  Dark Spots are Targeted with the Heat

During each session at the aesthetic clinic, specialists would target these dark spots with non-invasive energy that breaks down these blotches of discolouration into smaller particles with heat. You may experience slight warmth, and perhaps some mild (but bearable) discomfort.

2. The Heat Absorbed Breaks Down the Discolouration

The heat that is applied to the skin by the professional device is absorbed by the skin. It then breaks down the discolourations into smaller fragments.

3. Body Interprets the Broken Fragments as Waste

These smaller fragments would be recognised as waste by the body and they will rise to the skin’s surface in time.

4. Smaller Fragments Will Rise to Skin Surface and Flake Away

Regarded as waste, your body will then function to remove them. The small fragments that have been through the non-invasive procedure will rise to the skin surface and then flake away, as per all dead cells do. Unlike other treatments that involve chemical peels, this procedure ensures your layer of skin does not get thinner while achieving a cleaner, fairer and brighter tone. In general, most clients would require a few sessions to achieve their desired results. But you can expect to see results as early as three weeks following the treatment, after which, you will continually noticing further improvements. After the suggested few sessions, you will start seeing obvious change.


Are There Any Side Effects to the Pigmentation Treatment?

Because of how revolutionary the treatment is, the procedure can help you realise your desired complexion without any side effects. While you might experience a slight sensation of warmness and a bearable discomfort which can differ for each individual, the procedure is pretty much done within fifteen to thirty minutes each session.

Some fear that the procedure might lead to visible side effects like scars and marks, but since the treatment’s technology does not penetrate the dermis layer of the skin, the chances of scarring would be extremely low. Also, some redness can be observed after each treatment, but they should fade within fifteen minutes after the treatment.


Aftercare Pigmentation Treatment: Do’s and Don’ts

It is essential that you take extra care of your skin after your pigmentation treatment. Your skin has gone through a drastic change over a short period of time and it is likely that it would be stressed and sensitive to the external environment. Hence, it is important that you take note of certain do’s and don’ts to keep your skin healthy and glowing, and avoid certain aftercare practices that might exacerbate your issue.

1. Use Sunscreen

The use of sunscreen is crucial. Unprotected exposure to the sun can lead to darkening caused by higher levels of pigmentation. Essentially, there are two types of sun rays to look out for — UVB rays and UVA rays. UVB rays have a stronger effect on the skin and would be typically stronger during the summer. Whereas, UVA rays remain constant throughout the year. It is important to note that UVA rays can pass through glass windows — it would be wise to put on a moisturiser with at least a value of SPF 30 daily even if you are located indoors during the day. Do look out for sunscreen with a higher SPF rating as that would stand for greater protection from UVB rays, and do ensure that you reapply your choice of sun protection product from time to time.

2. Ensure That You Are Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential in the maintenance of our overall health. In fact, it works the hardest at night, while you are asleep. During this downtime, it repairs damaged cells and creates new ones when the body is at rest. Hence, it is crucial that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to get glowing, radiant skin. If you are using a moisturiser (free from chemicals), leaving it on throughout the night while you sleep will penetrate to the deeper layers of your skin and keep it in peak condition.

3. Don’t Over-Exfoliate

It is easy to over-exfoliate, especially if you are striving to keep your skin clean, free from dirt and radiant. However, over-exfoliating will cause irritation and this practice can worsen its overall health and appearance. If you are exfoliating, ensure that they do not contain any sulfates, parabens and phthalates that may potentially dry out and dull your skin.

4. Don’t Pick Your Zit

Picking and scratching, especially when it is healing from a wound or acne can lead to dark patches. When it comes to post-treatment care, being gentle is the key. If you are tending to any wounds, scabs and acne, attend to it with proper care or they might lead to undesirable. permanent scarring.


The Bottom Line

If you are looking for an option with permanence, you can consider pigmentation removal treatment done at a professional aesthetic clinic. It is convenient and the professionals can guide you in the right direction in achieving your flawless visage. Accompanied by post-treatment care, lasting and effective results can be attained effortlessly.

Alternatively, if you have a mild case of pigmentation, another method that involves a series of fine needles piercing the top surface of your skin at the targeted treatment area could be something that you will like to find out more about. Feel free to get in touch with the professionals right over at Geo Aesthetics for more information today.