Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition characterized by areas which become darker than surrounding skin due to an overabundance of melanin. Melanin is the brown pigment present in the skin which is responsible for natural skin tone. In cases of hyperpigmentation, the melanin forms areas of deposits on the skin, creating patches of discoloration. This condition can affect individuals of all races.
One example of this condition is liver spots, also called age spots. These spots are the direct result of sun damage, as they are most commonly found on the areas of skin that receive frequent exposure to the sun such as the face and hands. The brown spots are referred to medically as solar lentigines.
Another form of the condition is called melasma, or chloasma. These brown spots look similar to liver spots, but they are usually larger. These areas of excess discoloration are caused by hormonal changes in the body. In pregnant women this condition is sometimes referred to as a “mask of pregnancy” and can occur in the facial area or other areas of the body, such as the abdomen. It can also affect women who are on birth control in the form of pills. This occurs because birth control pills bring about hormonal changes that are very similar to those that occur during pregnancy.
When exposed to sunlight, these dark patches of skin become darker and more visible, a sure sign of sun damage. This is due to the fact that melanin protects the skin by absorbing the dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sunlight. This is the same process that produces tans in the average person. For those suffering from hyperpigmentation, a suntan will further deepen the color of the areas of the skin which are already hyperpigmented.
There are a number of treatments for this skin condition. The safest and most effective treatment is, of course, prevention. Avoid any amount of exposure to sunlight without a sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater applied to all areas of uncovered skin. If the condition does occur, there are several topical creams which have been proven effective in its treatment. Look for active ingredients that include:
At Fort Wayne Dermatology Consultants, we frequently recommend the SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System. When used together, the products in this system produce visible results in as early as 4 weeks, with progressively dramatic improvements by week 12. Continued use can prevent the recurrence of brown spots on your skin.
You can also schedule an IPL photofacial treatment with our aestheticians at Fort Wayne Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics if you want to see more immediate results. The Intense Pulsed Light therapy is recommended for individuals with skin that has a fair amount of elasticity. It is most effective on untanned, white skin so winter is an ideal time to have this treatment done.
IPL treatments not only remove skin discolorations — they also shrink pores, improve skin texture, fade the appearance of rosacea and broken blood vessels in the face, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Our dermatologists at Fort Wayne Dermatology Consultants frequently refer patients to get these services from our aestheticians at Fort Wayne Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics, with great results.
The SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System and IPL Photofacial treat a number of different skin pigmentation issues, along with acne, rosacea, fine lines and wrinkles, and sun spots.
During the IPL procedure, intense light pulses to deeply penetrate the skin in the affected area. The treatment lasts for 30 minutes. It works by causing blood vessels and collagen embedded in the epidermis to constrict. This reduces lines and facial redness. Minimal discomfort is reported from this procedure.
Benefits become visible gradually in the weeks following the procedure. Follow up with regular use of the SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System to prevent recurrences