Skin pigmentation is a common skin condition that can be treated through both non-invasive aesthetic procedures and minor surgery.
There are many reasons why pigmentation may occur on your skin, some more serious than others.
Skin pigmentation treatment in Bradford is available via MySkyn Clinic.
What Causes Skin Pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation is caused when the body produces too much or too little melanin. Melanin is a pigment that determines the colour of your skin, hair and eyes.
Melanin is produced by melanocyte cells in the surface layer of your skin. These cells contain melanin-producing organelles called melanosomes.
People with a darker skin tone have more melanocyte cells in their skin, as determined by their genes. Their skin therefore produces more melanin.
People tan when the melanosomes in their cells increase in number. Eumelanin is the type of melanin that protects the skin from harmful UV rays and causes the darkening in skin tone. The more time we spend in the sun, the more the body produces Eumelanin to protect from sun exposure.
If there is an imbalance of melanin in the skin, this can lead to the formation of unexpected lighter or darker patches on the skin surface.
We call the darker patches produced by excess melanin ‘hyper-pigmentation’, and the lighter patches caused by too little melanin ‘hypo-pigmentation’.
‘Depigmentation’ is a complete loss of melanin in the skin and often covers larger areas than hypo-pigmentation.
An imbalance of melanin can be caused by hormones, age, genetics and other, often external, factors.
Some disorders cause pigmentation, either permanently or temporarily. Melasma is hyper-pigmentation that commonly occurs in pregnant women due to hormonal changes in the body. Albinism is a genetic condition that leads to little or no melanin being produced by the body. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that causes patches of depigmentation across the body.
Hyper-pigmentation could be a sign of Addison’s Disease; a serious health condition that affects only 1 in 100,000 people. It affects the effective operation of the adrenal gland, which can lead to impaired kidney function and dangerously low blood pressure.
Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation (PIH)
PIH can occur when the skin is damaged. Tan, brown, or purple patches form in the irritated area. They usually fade over time, but can take months or even years to fully disappear.
There are many causes of PIH. These include:
- Sun exposure – dark spots can appear which may develop into skin cancer
- Skin damage –damage to the skin can lead to abnormal melanin production; this could be caused by eczema, insect bites, infection, acne, chemical exposure etc.
- Scar tissue – is often responsible for a lack of melanin
- Some aesthetic treatments – cryotherapy, laser therapy, or light therapy can cause hyper-pigmentation
Can Skin Pigmentation be Treated?
We recommend that you contact your local GP if you notice an unexpected or unexplained change in your skin colour and texture that does not fade.
To treat skin pigmentation, you need to identify the underlying skin problem that is causing it. In some cases you may only need to use over-the-counter products and self-care to erase the discolouration. In others, you may need to see a dermatologist and consider minor surgery.
Continued sun exposure can darken hyper-pigmentation, so protect the pigmented area from the sun using sunscreen and protective clothing.
Pigmentation can often be treated with prescription medications of hydroquinone cream, or products that contain retinoid, corticosteroid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid and kojic acid.
Otherwise, non-invasive treatments such as such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, light or laser therapy, and cryotherapy can help.
You should consult with a qualified skin specialist before deciding on a path of treatment. It is also important to note that not all treatments are suitable for every skin tone.
Examples of Skin Pigmentation Treatments
Prescription Skincare Products – A course of treatment that can help correct pigmentation for a more even skin tone.
Dermalux – A phototherapy treatment that uses light to break down pigmentation.
Hydrafacial – A specially designed facial that is suitable for all skin types and can treat certain skin conditions.
Chemical Peels – The surface layer of skin is peeled away with chemical products, allowing healthier skin to grow, absent of pigmentation.
Cryotherapy – Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze pigmentation and help break it down.
Minor Surgery – Minor surgical procedures can be used to correct pigmentation following professional advice.
A Word from MySkyn Clinic
Abnormal changes in the appearance of your skin will always be concerning. Embarrassment or frustration with these changes can lead to a loss of self-esteem and negatively impact your life. It is normal to want to regain some confidence in the way you look, especially if other things in life are getting you down.
Please know that you are not alone and there will always be others with similar experiences and healthcare professionals willing to help.
MySkyn Clinic is a CQC registered, all female run clinic in Bradford. If you are ready to explore potential skin pigmentation treatments, or would simply like more advice, please phone 01274 921121 or contact us online today.