MELASMA | HYPERPIGMENTATION
Melasma Not-So-Fun Fact:
Did you know that melasma can be trigged not just by sunlight, but also by heat, pressure, or friction? Even if you stay out of the sun, and exercise only in your basement your melasma can be triggered by over-heating, a sweat band that is too tight, or constant rubbing in an area.
Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin causes a darkened appearance to the skin in either small or large areas.
Pigmentation is the natural colour of a person’s skin and it is related to melanin production. Melanin protects skin cells and their DNA by absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVR).
Darker skin types, in general, are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation than lighter skin types because their skin naturally contains more melanin.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Pigmentation is a process that gives skin its color. Your skin has pigment producing cell “factories” called melanocytes which manufacture a chemical called melanin which acts to protect your skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun. Hyperpigmentation means that some areas of your skin are producing higher amounts of melanin than normal, thereby forming dark spots or dark patches on your skin. This process is generally not harmful but can be cosmetically unsightly. Anyone can get hyperpigmentation, but Hispanic, Asian, Mediterranean and African ethnicities are more likely to develop this issue. This condition tends to present on the neck, face and hands in areas most likely to be exposed to the sun and in areas of friction such as knees and underarms.
How can Hyperpigmentation be prevented?
There are a few lifestyle changes that can help prevent or reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation spots. Wearing at least SPF 25 coverage sunscreen every time you go outside even on cloudy rainy days is the best way to make sure you are not putting your skin at risk. Making a point to gently exfoliate and to use products that suppress melanin in your skin can also help you avoid the problem. Exfoliating removes dead cells on the outside of your epidermis so that dark and damaged skin sheds quickly. Brightening based skincare product lines, like AlumierMD skincare use various melanin suppressing agents in each product to help treat and prevent such discoloration. Caveat: Exfoliating too frequently can make your skin raw and more prone to pigmentation damage.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin produces more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. This can make spots or patches of skin appear darker than surrounding areas. Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition. It affects people of all skin types. Some forms of hyperpigmentation, including melasma and sun spots, are more likely to affect areas of skin that face sun exposure, including the face, arms, and legs. Other types of hyperpigmentation form after an injury or skin inflammation, such as cuts, burns, acne, or lupus. These can occur anywhere on the body. Having extra pigment in some areas of skin is usually harmless but can sometimes indicate another medical condition.
What is the best treatment option for Hyperpigmentation?
Daily application of a high-SPF sunscreen with UVA protection and protective clothing Sun avoidance when possible Stem-Microneedling: microneedling treatment combined with a stem cell cytokine serum.
Hyperpigmentation Types and Triggers
1. UV induced: This type of hyperpigmentation shows in the form of freckles, age spots and uneven skin tone. It is caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays (UVR), whether from the sun or tanning beds.
2. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): PIH is found in areas of the skin that have been subjected to inflammation due to trauma, acne or irritation (eg. fragrances). Inflammation stimulates Langerhans cells (immune cells), which alter the activity of melanocytes (skin cells), causing increased pigment production.
3. Melasma (chloasma): Melasma appears as symmetrical patches most often on the cheeks, chin, upper lip and forehead. It can be related to pregnancy, birth
The Hyperpigmentation Process
1. Hyperpigmentation triggers eg. Inflammation, UV rays, hormones.
2. Melanin production is stimulated within melanocytes. Tyrosinase is one of the key enzymes in this process.
3. Melanin is transferred from melanocytes to skin cells.
4. Skin cells are in a constant state of upward motion to the surface.
5. Skin develops dark spots or areas on the surface, or is uniformly darker (as in a tan).
Hyperpigmentation can become darker as the skin cells move closer to the surface. This point is important because with many treatments, hyperpigmentation can darken in appearance before fading.
IVONNE sources the most effective and natural skincare products.
Schedule a consultation at IVONNE or get referred to a qualified medical professional.
Treatment Pathways for Hyperpigmentation
Follow these four steps using the associated ingredients to target pigmentation: