What is pigmentation?
Pigmentation is the word we use to describe areas of the skin that have become darker in colour, often resulting in a patchy or uneven appearance. Usually, the cause of pigmentation is sun exposure, which leads to an excess production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the body’s natural pigment, responsible for giving colour to our skin, hair, and eyes. This means that when the skin produces melanin in response to UV trauma, this often results in darker spots, patches, and freckles.
Not only does sun damage cause pigmentation, but it can also contribute to signs of ageing. Protecting your skin from harsh UV sun rays, along with treating existing sun damage, can help your skin remain looking smooth and healthy for longer. At Shellharbour Skin, we customise treatment plans for patients that suit their particular skin needs and concerns. A professional pigmentation treatment can help you achieve a more even skin complexion and confidence in your overall appearance.
Causes & symptoms
Pigmented skin can appear freckly, patchy, or mottled/discoloured. It can also widely affect our body, particularly the chest, neck and shoulders. There are many contributing factors to the stimulation of pigment within your skin, such as:
- Skin type
- Exposure to the sun
- Some medications
- Skin trauma or injury
Conditions that create inflammation can also stimulate the pigment response in our skin, including acne, cuts, or burns.
There are also pigment conditions such as melasma which can have a hormonal link and often leave patients with persistent large butterfly-like patches of darker pigmentation usually affecting the forehead and cheeks. Melasma is a condition that can be difficult to treat, and patients are often searching for solutions for years. There are ways that your doctor or dermal clinician can assist in minimizing the appearance of and reducing the triggers of your melasma.
Since pigmentation is often caused by sun exposure, it is vital to protect your skin from the sun. Particularly in the Australian climate, our skin even by the time we are teenagers has already received a great deal of sun exposure. Adequate sun protection can help prevent the development of pigmentation, as well as keep the skin youthful and healthy.
Pigmentation consultation at Shellharbour Skin
In order to recommend the best pigmentation treatment for you, we will first need to discuss your condition in a private consultation. At this appointment, Dr Barney will discuss the potential causes of your pigmentation and how we may best treat it. You will need to speak about any past procedures, as well as current medications or medical conditions. This will help us facilitate an appropriate path to treatment that foregrounds your health and well-being and minimises risks. Any questions you may have about your treatment plan can be answered during this consultation, and we will aim to provide all the guidance you need to get a positive result.
Your treatment plan
After you have consulted with us about your skin requirements, we will provide you with recommendations on which treatment methods will work best for your skin. By removing spots of unwanted pigment, treatment can also help you achieve a healthier and more youthful complexion. At your consultation, we may discuss the following treatments as potential options:
LED light is a great way to rejuvenate the skin at a cellular level. With different light wavelengths, the Tri-Wave device allows us to customise your treatment to provide the most effective pigmentation treatment results. The treatment inhibits the production of excess melanin and breaks down existing melanin in order to provide skin tone correction.
Corrective pigment BBL uses intense pulsed light (IPL) to improve the skin’s colour and texture. The broad spectrum wavelengths are absorbed into the skin, promoting collagen production and reducing skin pigmentation. The result is skin a smoother and more even skin tone, as well as improved skin texture.
Skin peels can be a great solution for hyperpigmentation. Peels work by removing the surface layer of skin, including dead cells and oils, allowing a fresh layer of healthy skin to form in its place. The new, healthier skin that forms is generally more evenly pigmented, giving the face a smoother and more even appearance. Different types of skin peels suit different skin types and conditions. We can discuss the best skin peel for you during your consultation.
Micro skin needling works by pricking the skin in order to trigger the body’s natural healing mechanisms. The process stimulates cell turnover and increases the skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin. It also works to break up the pigment beneath the skin’s surface, improving the appearance of pigmentation and restoring an even skin complexion.
Pigmentation can also be treated with medical-grade skincare products. Since everyone has different skin needs, Dr Barney will recommend a specific skin regimen that suits your skin type and condition. This may include the use of serums, moisturiser, and sun protection.
Results & aftercare
The results of pigmentation treatment will be gradual, as your skin will need time to process the effects. As your skin regenerates and produces more collagen and elastin, you should begin to notice an improvement in the appearance of pigmented lesions and spots. The exact results will depend on which procedure methods are used, as well as your aftercare plan.
Aftercare is an important part of treatment, as your skin will be more sensitive after procedures such as LED, IPL, and skin needling. In order to get the best results and avoid any complications after treatment, Dr Barney will ensure you have information on how to care for your treated skin. This may include sun protection, using cold compresses, and taking care to not irritate your skin. We may prescribe certain skincare products to help you achieve the best skin rejuvenation results, such as:
- Aspect Dr ABC Essentials Kit
- Aspect Dr Complete Pigment Plus
- Dermaceutic Mela Cream
- Aspect CC Cream SPF50+
- SkinBetterScience Even Skin Tone Correcting Serum