Skin pigmentation and hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, is deposited into the basal layer of the epidermis. It is usually stimulated by UV light to change into the brown colour. It can also be stimulated by hormones and after skin inflammation.

Freckles are the simple type hyperpigmentation.

Age or “liver” spots (solar lentigines) are a common form of hyperpigmentation resulting from sun damage and can be commonly found on the face hands and other areas receiving excessive sun exposure.

Skin damage as scars can also result in pigmentation – such as acne, injury, burns.

Freckles, age spots, and other areas of hyperpigmentation can become darker with more sun exposure. The skin protects itself from the harmful sun’s Ultraviolet rays by developing a tan or producing melanin within the skin to prevent overexposure to the radiation burn effect of sunlight.

When sun burn has occurred the skin’s cells are triggered to respond to the radiation damage caused to the skin cell DNA by UVB light. The skin responds by trying to repair the damage by first causing an inflammatory response of increased blood supply, heat, redness becoming sensitised, inflamed and overheated. Severe sunburn can appear like typical heat burns with blistering and shedding of dead skin.

Wearing a Sunscreen is a must as a single hour to two of excess sun can undo months of treatment.

To treat hyper pigmentation is very difficult as the coloured skin cells are deep within the skin layers and cannot be quickly “BLEACHED”.

It takes approximately 6 weeks or 42 days for the average basal layer of skin to reach the top most surface layer of the skin so any lightening treatment will take at least 6 weeks to become visible.

Skin Bleaches lighten or fade darkened skin by slowing the production of melanin in the darkened patches by inhibiting the chemical process within the skin and skin cells. This process is known as Tyrosinase inhibiting and takes religious application of the products containing the skin lightening ingredient. Skin lightening also requires religious application of sun protection as if you are lightening but not stopping sunlight entering the skin you are wasting your time and efforts.'

Skin Lighteners include

  • Vitamin C - L-Ascorbic Acid
  • Arbutin - Bearberry extract
  • Kojic Acid
  • Niacinamide vitamin B3
  • Licorice Extract - Glabridin
  • White Mulberry Extract

Laser and IPL treatments can also effectively remove the hyperpigmentation but after treatment the skin will still be prone to RE-pigmentation as the melanin cells that remain present in the skin that caused the initial pigmentation are still easily re-stimulated to produce the hyperpigmentation AGAIN.

To effectively treat hyperpigmention also requires other things to affect production of melanin such as limiting sunlight to eyes, wearing sunglasses decreasing the stimulation to the brain to stimulate the production of light stimulating hormone or LSH.

Exfoliation of the affected skin to speed the removal of the darkened tanned layers of skin.

It is the combined efforts that will give the quickest results.

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