Brown Pigmentation (Hyper-Pigmentation) – FAQs
What gives skin its colour?
Skin colouring is provided by melanin, which is produced in the by our melanocytes.
What darkens skins colour?
Exposure to Ultra-Violet (UV) in sunlight causes melanocytes to expand and produce more melanin (a suntan). UV can also damage skin cells, to cause a range of skin problems. There are also genetic and other environmental factors that can affect skin pigment.
What considerations should I take into account before commencing treatment?
- Photosensitising medications are counterproductive to treatment (i.e. Dianette, antibiotics)
- Sunbeds/ sunbathing is counterproductive to treatment.
- Eliminate the cause: i.e. pigmentation around the eyes can be caused by stress, due to high levels of cortisol in the system. Pigmentation around the lip can be hormonal, due to the pill or pregnancy. Pigmentation on the upper face & hands is usually from sun exposure..
- You must use a daily sunscreen always to prevent it from coming back, because UVA light is the same strength Winter & Summer & is responsible for contributing to it
Professional Treatments for pigmentation available at LaNú Medi Spa Clinic
- Pearl laser resurfacing (4 day’s downtime approx.)
- Limelight ( Pigment darkens and flakes away 7-10 days after)
- Skin Peels: Glycolic peel or Microdermabrasion Peel ( 6 recommended & homecare products)
Different types of pigmentation
Sun Spots ,Chloasma/Melasma (Hormonal pigment from pregnancy), Post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (i.e. post acne lesions)
What skincare ingredients help with results?
Pharmaceutical grade skincare products containing ; L Ascorbic acid, (Vit C), Arbutin , Kojic acid and Alpha Hydroxy & Beta Hydroxy acids
Can I tell if I will respond to treatment?
No, because pigmentation marks may be deep & unfortunately there is no way of telling.
What factors in the body contribute to formation of pigmentation?
The skin produces pigment when melanin is produced. Melanin is a protein & there are three main ingredients that the body requires to produce it (1) Tyrosine, an amino acid. (2) Tyrosinase, an enzyme and (3) Copper .If any of the above 3 products are not present, pigment cannot be produced. Ingredients like Arbutin & Kojic acid inhibits tyrosinase, reducing pigment production.
What homecare products can help & why?
Pure Vitamin C : “ L ascorbic acid” as well as Kojic acid & Arbutin will lighten pigmentation.
Are there other products that lighten the skin?
- Azelaic acid: medical grade treatment
- This enhances effects of hydroquinone
- Hydrocortisone; for treating psoriasis & eczema, this drug has side effects which is loss of skin colour, which makes skin white. This does not look good..
- Retin A: An Acne & anti age treatment, which accelerates skin exfoliation, so can remove damaged superficial pigmentation marks
- Kojic Acid: A safe & very effective skin lightener, used in the Phyto C range.
Factors that can cause pigmentation;
- Heredity; dark-skinned individuals have a higher predisposition to hyper-pigmentation.
- Hormonal; Pregnancy can cause skin pigmentation particularly on the breast area & the midline of the abdomen. It can also cause pigmentation marks on the face known as chloasma or melasma. Some refer to it as pregnancy mask. It can disappear after the birth or after ceasing breastfeeding. Unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t disappear at all.
- The contraceptive pill; this can cause pigmentation on the face, because of the high dose of oestrogen being taken. Some pills contain more oestrogen than others and are therefore more likely to contribute to pigmentation marks. e.g. Dianette has 4 times more oestrogen than most pills, so anybody taking it must be sure to wear a sunscreen to avoid this.( hormonal pigmentation usually occurs around the mouth)
- Addisons Disease; which is related to the under secretion of the corticosteroid hormones from the adrenal glands, will have many symptoms including hyper pigmentation.
- Stress; Prolonged stress can over stimulate the adrenal corticoid hormones from the adrenal glands, secreting too much cortisone resulting in hyper- pigmentation
- Post-inflammatory; any time the skin experiences infection (i.e. acne) or injury (i.e. burn with the iron) the skin will produce pigment leaving a brown mark at the site of the burn or where the acne spot was. In dark skin this is more severe and can result in a deeply pigmented area, which may disappear with the natural shedding of dead skin cells but often does not disappear at all.
- Sun exposure; Prolonged over exposure to the sun can over stimulates the production of melanin resulting in pigmentation marks. Anyone continuing with sunbathing or sunbed use will not respond positively to salon treatments to reduce pigmentation as it would be counter productive. Sunburn causes skin inflammation, which can also result in hyper pigmentation.
- Photo Sensitivity; Certain chemicals and ingredients found in cosmetics and skin products will create a photosensitive reaction; these include Lime oil, bergamot, Retinoic Acid (Retin A), Renova, & fragrance. (To make one smell in a perfume it takes 1000 chemicals) Pigmentation is common on the neck where perfume is sprayed. Perfumed deodorants can cause underarm pigmentation.
- Medications; i.e. Accutane, Tetracycline, & diuretics, will also contribute to pigmentation. Anti cancer, hypoglycaemic & non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are all agents that contribute to photosensitivity
- Ageing; after the age 30-35 the number of pigment producing cells begins to decline making skin more prone to brown spots. From age 50 the pigment producing cells are reduced by 50% increasing the susceptibility to liver spots.
- Skin diseases & disorders; Some skin diseases & disorders, particularly if they cause inflammation or skin thickening can cause hyper pigmentation (brown marks) & hypo-pigmentation (lack of pigment) i.e. psoriasis, eczema, icthyosis, dermatitis
- Trauma; i.e. severe sunburn, cuts, wounds, burns, aggressive chemical peels (i.e. TCA Peels), surgery, post-operative reactions to anaesthesia, birth control pills & HRT.
- Drug-induced Hyper-pigmentation; some drugs contribute to pigmentation, i.e. antibiotics such as tetracycline. Amiodarone, minocycline, bleomycin, chlorophosphamide. Anti malaria drugs such as chloroquine & quinacrine. Acne drugs such as Retin A & Roaccutane can also trigger pigmentation marks. Using a physical sunscreen is imperative when using any of these drugs, to help avoid hyper-pigmentation.