Your Guide to Pigmentation
Pigmentation is one of the most common concerns we treat in the clinic. It can come in many forms, caused by many factors. Today we will be exploring what pigmentation is, why it is caused and the treatments and products we can use to help promote an even, bright complexion!
What is pigmentation?
Pigmentation is a term used to describe any change in the tone of your skin. It can occur anywhere on the body but is most prominent on the face, chest and hands.
Pigmentation is caused by abnormal melanin production which leads to changes in your skin tone, including dark spots and patches. Melanin occurs naturally in the body and determines our skin tone. However, some factors may trigger production in certain areas that lead to spots and patches we know as pigmentation.
The most common cause of pigment is sun exposure. UV rays can result in freckles, sun spots and age spots and may trigger underlying conditions such as melasma. Other factors include hormonal changes (taking the pill, hormones-based medications or going through pregnancy or menopause), general ageing, and skin trauma (such as an injury or even acne).
Types of pigmentation
When treating pigmentation, it is essential to determine the type of pigment you are experiencing. There are a few types that we see in clinic.
Freckles are the most common type of pigmentation. While you may be born with some freckles, often they appear as the first sign of sun damage. They may also appear darker over summer due to increased UV exposure.
Solar Lentigines are also known as liver spots, sun spots, brown spots or age spots. They are pigmented spots that vary in colour from light brown to black. While they may look like freckles, they are caused purely by sun exposure and should be monitored for changes as they can develop into melanoma or other skin diseases.
Melasma is characterised by dark patches across the forehead, cheeks and/or upper lip. While the cause is mostly unknown, it is most prevalent in women and is often triggered by hormonal changes such as pregnancy. While it may gradually occur, melasma can be exacerbated by sun exposure, certain medications, heat and stress.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
PIH often presents as red or brown marks. You may notice these marks on your skin after a bad breakout. It occurs as a result of skin trauma such as acne and breakouts or burns, friction or other skin conditions.
Our Aspect Pigment Peel is specifically designed to address uneven skin tone and pigmentation. Formulated with Salicylic Acid, Vitamin C and Tyrostat 11™, Pigment Peel can target existing pigmentation concerns as well as inhibit melanin production to prevent it from developing again in the future.
As this is a moderate strength peel, your skin will need to be prepped with homecare prior to ensure we maintain the integrity of the skin. While there may be some tightness and shedding after your treatment, the results are so worth it! This peel will help to address the appearance of age spots and pigmented areas to illuminate and even out skin tone.
Skin Needling is the latest clinical treatment to join our treatment menu and offers incredible benefits for those dealing with pigmentation. The SkinPen micro-needling device causes controlled micro-injuries that stimulate your body’s natural wound healing process. This breaks up the dark patches below the skin’s surface and allows the damaged cells to be carried away. The micro-injuries also trigger the release of cytokines and growth factors that lead to the remodeling of collagen and elastin.
For those concerned with PIH caused by acne, skin needling is a great option. Not only does it help to lighten dark pigment but it can also help to smooth uneven texture left behind from breakouts. You will notice a significant improvement in tone and texture after a series of treatments!
When it comes to managing pigment, it’s important you are using the right products at home. This will ensure you are treating existing pigment as well as preventing it from recurring. Here are a few of our pigment heroes:
Complete Pigment Plus
Utilising many of the pigment-fighting ingredients from the in-clinic peel, Complete Pigment Plus contains an advanced formula that combines five key actives for a more even, radiant-looking complexion. Tranexamic Acid is a key amino acid that helps to diminish the appearance of existing dark spots and prevent further signs of ageing. It also includes vitamin B, C and antioxidants for a radiant glow.
This powerful antioxidant serum contains Vitamin C and peptides to help promote skin elasticity and illuminate appearance. This wonder serum will brighten the complexion, combat discolouration, dark spots and uneven skin tone and smooth the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hailed as a brightening hero, vitamin C is key in every morning routine to help maintain skin brightness and fight off antioxidant damage caused by daily exposure to environmental stressors!
UV damage is the leading cause of pigmentation, so it’s no surprise that daily use of SPF is the best way to protect your skin! We recommend applying a broad-spectrum SPF50+ each morning as the final step of your skincare routine. Reapply every 4 hours or after sweating or swimming. We have a range of sunscreens available in-clinic and online, depending on your preferred finish. Discover the range here.
If you are dealing with pigment or uneven skin tone, come and see our team and let us prescribe the best treatment plan for your needs. You can book a consultation online or visit our online store to shop our pigment-fighting must-haves.