Bothered by your skin pigmentation issues? It’s a problem that many people come across, and the impact it has on your skin can have a big impact on your appearance and confidence. But in this article, we give you a complete guide on what skin pigmentation is, ways of removing skin pigmentation, and how to prevent it. Read on to find out more!
Causes of Skin Pigmentation
Before we get into the removing of skin pigmentation, let’s get to know what it is. Skin pigmentation is naturally occurring skin colour, created by the pigment melanin. It’s produced by special cells on the outermost layer of skin called the epidermis, and can range from being light to dark. They are essential for our skin, as they protect it from the harmful damage that the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays can do.
So what causes excess skin pigmentation? There are a few ways that make your skin go into overdrive and cause uneven or excess melanin production. The most common are:
UV Exposure and Sun Damage
Although getting sun exposure is important for our health, too much sun is bad for our skin. The sun produces UV rays, which damage skin cells with large amounts of exposure. To combat and protect against the UV rays, our skin produces more skin pigmentation on parts of the body most exposed to them. This then leads to uneven skin pigmentation and dark spots as your skin struggles to produce enough melanin to keep it protected.
Hormonal changes and pregnancy
In times of big hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, the body can produce excessive melanin. This is because the unbalancing of oestrogen and progesterone hormones can stimulate unwanted skin pigmentation production and distribution. Taking birth control medication is also another common way for hormones to be thrown out of balance, causing skin pigmentation.
Genetics are another big factor for skin pigmentation problems. Your inherited problem causing genetics include unevenly distributed skin pigmentation producing cells and reduced protection ability from UV rays.
Types of Pigmentation Issues
Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
This is a condition that happens after your skin has an inflammatory reaction. This inflammation includes acne, eczema, burns and cuts. The inflammation and skin trauma from then these cause your skin cells to overproduce pigmentation in the healing process. The risks of PIH occuring is related to your genetics.
The skin condition of Melasma is one that is specific to the face area. It is when brown, grey or dark patches appear on the facial skin. The main causes for Melasma are hormonal changes and sun exposure. It’s important to note that it is more common in women with darker skin types.
Age spots, also known as liver spots, are small dark spots on the skin. Despite the name, age spots are not caused by our body’s ageing process, but by prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays. They do however become more common as we get older because our skin has less ability to protect itself from the sun.
Over-the-Counter Products for Removing Skin Pigmentation
Skin Lightening Creams and Serums
Kojic Acid is an ingredient that many skin lightening creams and serums have as a skin pigmentation removal treatment. It’s derived from fungi, and reduces the production of melanin from skin cells along with fading existing pigmentation long term. It’s important that the cream or serum containing kojic acid has a concentration of over 1%, as it is otherwise ineffective.
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids help skin with skin cell turnover, shedding your pigmented skin cells with use. These skin cells are then replaced by new unpigmented cells, resulting in lighter and more even skin tone. Retinoids come in the form of either retinol or higher strength tretinoin, which is available over the counter.
Antioxidant Skincare Products
Another great option for removing skin pigmentation is by using skincare products that are formulated with specific antioxidant ingredients. Vitamin C has the ability to reduce the production of melanin and brighten skin tone. Similarly, liquorice extract also slows the production of melanin in skin cells. And finally, niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is another natural substance that works to reduce the appearance of skin pigmentation by slowing production of melanin.
Professional Treatments for Skin Pigmentation
For more targeted treatment options in removing skin pigmentation, seek out help from a professional. They provide you with tried and tested solutions, including:
These, as the name suggests, exfoliate and peel the outer skin layers with a chemical solution. This exfoliation and removal of outer layers of skin create cell turnover, where new skin cells are produced and replace the pigmented ones that have peeled off. Many solutions used in chemical peels also contain ingredients that reduce the production of melanin further helping even the tone of skin. This skin pigmentation treatment also stimulates the production of collagen in the skin, helping it to recover and become more protected from damage afterwards.
Our second recommendation for removing skin pigmentation with a professional is microdermabrasion. This non-invasive procedure involves the application of a fine abrasive tipped device over pigmented skin, exfoliating the skin. After exfoliation, the body sheds the outer layers of skin and replaces it with new, more evenly pigmented skin. It also boosts the production of collagen in the treated area, giving it better texture than before,
Laser Pigmentation Removal
Using a laser is a great way to target and remove skin pigmentation. Laser therapy works by breaking down pigment deposits, which are then processed out by the body. This then results in more even skin tone with the melanin removed. In particular, IPL (intense pulsed light) works great for treating sunspots.
Leave Skin Pigmentation Issues in the Past!
From skin creams using retinoids to laser treatment with intense pulsed light, there’s a wide range of options for removing skin pigmentation available. If you’ve been struggling with pigmentation in your skin, contact us at Northern Beaches Cosmetic Surgery. We provide a variety of treatment options to remove unwanted pigment and get you looking and feeling your best again. Book your consultation today for a more confident tomorrow!