Although most of us picture wrinkles when we envision aging skin, an uneven skin tone peppered with sun damage and brown patches can add years to our complexion as well! Hyperpigmentation occurs when areas of skin become darker than the surrounding skin due to accelerated melanin (pigment) production. The effects can range from a few freckles dusted across the bridge of your nose to large, dark patches of blotchy pigmentation that can make it feel as though you can’t face the world without concealer. Regardless of its cause, hyperpigmentation can have an extremely negative impact on your self-confidence.

The first step to achieving a clearer, more even skin tone is enlisting the help of a Skin Artisans Advanced Practice Esthetician to help identify the cause(s) of your hyperpigmentation. This will help determine which treatment options will be most effective for you.

The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are:

  • UVA/UVB damage from sun exposure that mutates a skin cell’s DNA and accelerates erratic melanin production.
  • Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy that can trigger your skin’s pigment production.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), caused by trauma to the skin, such as a cut, burn, or acne lesion.
  • Certain prescription medications that, in some populations, cause patches of skin to darken.
  • Some health conditions, such as diabetes that can cause dark shading on certain parts of the body.

Melanocytes are our skin’s pigment-producing cells. The pigment they produce is called melanin. If you have ever had a suntan, you’ve seen your skin’s melanocytes in action! When exposed to sunlight, they produce more melanin to darken your skin’s surface and prevent further damage. But, too much sun exposure can actually damage how melanocytes produce melanin and cause lingering brown spots and dark patches of skin, especially on areas of high sun exposure, like our face, chest, and hands.

Inflammation and hormonal fluctuations can also trigger our skin’s melanin production to go rogue and cause hyperpigmentation. This is evident in such conditions as melasma, sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy,” and the red and purple pigmentation left behind long after an inflamed acne lesion has healed. Once you and your esthetician have discovered where your hyperpigmentation is stemming from, you can continue with products and treatments that are most beneficial to that type of pigment damage.

Solutions for hyperpigmentation commonly include resurfacing treatments to lift away dark, damaged cells, laser treatments to treat underlying pigment that hasn’t reached the surface yet, and skincare products that suppress melanin production, including:

  • Sciton BBL® (Broadband Light), often considered the gold standard for lightening hyperpigmentation, is a light-based treatment that targets excess pigmentation and draws it to the skin’s surface to later slough away.
  • HALO™, the world’s first Hybrid Fractional Laser (HFL), utilizes both ablative and non-ablative wavelengths of light to dramatically lighten hyperpigmentation and improve skin texture and tone.
  • Chemical Peels, especially the VI Peel that accelerate cellular turnover and progressively remove damaged pigment cells revealing clearer, more even skin over time.
  • DiamondGlow™ & HydraFacial to gradually lighten pigmentation with corrective serums and impart a bright, radiant glow to the skin again.
  • Physician-grade skincare that contains hydroquinone or other botanical pigment lighteners and brighteners to suppress melanin production, retinol to accelerate cell turnover, and antioxidants and SPF to prevent future pigment damage.

It’s important to note that improvements with hyperpigmentation take time. You must be patient. Melanocytes are dendritic cells, which means that they have long spindly legs that, when damaged, can extend deep into the skin’s layers. It can take several treatments and frequently a combination of treatments and skincare to restore a more even skin tone.

Preventing further pigment damage with the daily use of SPF is crucial.

Together, you and your Skin Artisans Advanced Practice Esthetician will map out a plan that fits your lifestyle and the amount of downtime you desire. A clear, brighter, and more even complexion is just around the corner. Get started on your journey by scheduling a complimentary consultation today!

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