Hyperpigmentation most commonly presents as dark patches on the surface of the skin and in areas of greater sun exposure.
There are several forms of Hyperpigmentation:
- Melasma are symmetrical patches of skin also known as ‘The mask of pregnancy’ as it can be triggered by fluctuations in hormones, stress and sun exposure. Sun beds can markedly worsen its presentation and should always be avoided.
- Post inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin caused by trauma or inflammation to the skin. It may occur after severe acne.
- Solar and senile lentigos are also known as age spots. They are caused by overexposure to UV radiation over time.
- Freckles – caused by UV radiation exposure
Treatment for pigmentation should always be individualised as a patient-specific approach is essential for effective treatment.
Identifying triggers help formulate an effective treatment plan. These include:
- History of sun exposure
- Genetics and skin type
- Photosensitising medication
- Hormonal changes
- Inflammatory responses
We generally consider the treatment of hyperpigmentation as three inter-reliant steps:
Step 1. Protection
- Avoiding UV exposure is essential in preventing the further production of pigment.
- Generally we provide a quality, broad spectrum SPF with an antioxidant.
Step 2. Prevention
- Tyrosinase inhibitors are topical medications which reduce the production of melanin in the skin. There are several different types available and should be specifically chosen for your personal needs.
Step 3. Exfoliation
- Procedures which exfoliate the skin, effectively lifting out and spreading the pigment can have a marked improvement in the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
- Chemical Peels and microneedling can be used in isolation, or in combination, to achieve this goal.
- Cryotherapy can also be very useful in treating solar lentigo.