Everyone has colour (pigment), but some just have a little more than others. If there’s too much pigment in an abnormal amount, known as hyperpigmentation, it leads to uneven skin tone, dark spots/patches.
Hyperpigmentation may be classified in 3 types:
1. Sun-induced hyperpigmentation
The pigment in our skins, melanin, is actually a kind of natural built-in sunscreen. Melanin exists in skin to absorb UV rays, before they can do more serious damage like sunburn or irreparable DNA damage in skin. And the body’s natural response to sun exposure is to create more melanin to try and better protect itself.
But, by doing so, the body often creates uneven amounts of melanin, and you’re left with hyperpigmentation (freckles, sun spots and age spots are caused by the sun).
2. Melasma (pregnancy mask)
This one is caused by hormone fluctuations, and many pregnant women will experience it to some extent. But, while pregnancy is a big trigger for it, even birth control and the slightest change in oestrogen levels can cause melasma. Thyroid dysfunction is also a possible cause.
What happens is that melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin in the skin) are very sensitive to hormone levels in the body. If there’s a hormone imbalance, melanocytes tend to overproduce melanin, which causes hyperpigmentation.
It tends to sometimes go away when hormone levels subside (after pregnancy), but in some cases it doesn’t and treatment will be necessary.
3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is discolouration of the skin after its been damaged: bad acne, burns, wounds that form scars, excessive skin irritation and some skin disorders.
The injury causes inflammation, and many of the molecules the body naturally releases to the inflamed area have a tendency to “aggravate” the melanocytes in the area. These start producing excess melanin and hyperpigmentation (blue-grey skin discolouration) is the result.
Protect the skin
It is very important to wear a proper sunscreen and antioxidants. If you spend a lot of time outdoors and are exposed to the sun, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses; preferably avoid direct sunlight.
The Heliocare range is a good option, as well as Lamelle’s Helase (which may give you the ultimate coverage).
Lighten the skin
This is where specialist treatments such as chemical skin peels, Dr Schrammek Green peel, microdermabrasion and laser exfoliation come in to help lighten the skin.
Home care treatments are also very important, and by using a proper cosmeceutical product range may make a big difference.
The Lamelle Luminesce range is a very good option, and the Neostrata Enlighten range, as well as our Dr Schrammek MelaWhite range.
Maintain the skin
By avoiding direct sunlight exposure, especially when you are already using lightening products and treatments.
Ovelle D3, made with Pycnogenol, a patented natural plant extract from the French Maritime Pine Tree and one of the most powerful oral antioxidants known to man, Ovelle D3 not only binds to and helps protect collagen and elastin fibres in skin, but also helps shuts down collagen breakdown. It also helps to reduce pigmentation from the inside. And on top of that, it contains Vitamin D3, which is vital for a healthy nervous system, bones and heart. Results on any treatment or product may vary per individual as everybody is different and may respond differently to treatments mentioned.
For any assistance with hyperpigmentation and how to treat it, consult our Aesthetic Practitioners for the best advice.