Hyperpigmentation, Brown Spots & Skin Discolorations
If you suffer from Hyperpigmentation you know how genuinely frustrating it is to try to conceal, lighten or erase the spots and brown patches on your skin.
Hyperpigmentation is essentially a case of your pigment-producing cells being pushed into overdrive by either external factors (typically sun exposure) or internal factors such as hormonal shifts caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, medication or menopause. Any form of hyperpigmentation will be worsened – sometimes significantly – by sun exposure
Hyperpigmentation may be referred to by a number of names, including brown spots, melasma, age spots, “liver spots”, sun spots, sun freckles, pregnancy mask (melasma). Whether diffuse, as in melasma, or in single concentrated areas such as those in a freckle, hyper pigmentation can often be removed or lightened with light therapies.
Melanin – The Good and Bad of your natural pigment
Skin gets it’s color, whether light or dark, from melanin. Our skin has a different colour in different areas. There are more melanocytes in darker areas like the neck as compared to lighter areas eg; the face. However the concentration of approximately 1000 to 2000 melanocytes per cubic millimetre is the same for all race groups. So, it does not matter if you are a black skinned person or a pale redhead. you will still have about the same number of melanocytes!
Sun exposure, heat, injury or hormonal changes can all trigger increased melanin production. It is the abnormal increase that causes irregular colour on the skin. Melanin rises to the surface of the skin in response to these triggers but is not seen right away as the cells are produced deeper in the skin and then rise slowly to the surface. This is why you may not see the brown spots until days, weeks, or even months after the cause.
Melanin is a skin protector and is the body’s attempt to stop cell damage from sun or heat. The “tan” that sun worshippers seek is actually the body’s reaction to cell damage. With repeated insult, skin that evenly tans will begin to take on a mottled appearance and then begin showing concentrated dark spots.
The 3 Major Causes of Hyper Pigmentation and Brown Spots
1. Sun-induced Hyperpigmentation: One of the primary functions of melanin production in your skin is to protect you from UV rays from the sun. A “tan” is the prime example of your body’s melanin response to the sun.
When the skin is assaulted by repeated exposure to the sun, you experience sun damage in a variety of ways and one of those is brown spots and hyper-pigmentation resulting from an over-production of melanin. Once the cycle of pigment over-production has started, it is difficult to stop it and usually medical intervention is required.
2. Hormonal Hyperpigmentation (Melasma or Chloasma). The second most frequent cause of hyper-pigmentation is hormone changes. This may be a result of birth control pills, pregnancy or the various stages of menopause. Hormone shifts trigger the melanin cells to go into over-drive. This can happen even if you are not a sun worshipper. Sun exposure will always make it worse.
3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation caused by injury. The third most common cause of pigmentation is a direct result of some type of injury to the skin. Typical pigmentation-causing injuries include;
- Improperly performed laser treatments
- Acne or acne cysts
- Over-exposure to heat
- Hair waxing
- Insect bites or itchy rashes
- Abrasions or cuts
How Skin Injury Causes HyperPigmentation
Inflammation is your body’s response to injury. Often inflammation is not obvious because it is occurring at a deep level. This inflammation triggers melanin production and the result is a concentration of pigment in the affected area. A common result of improperly performed hair laser is a proliferation of dark patches on the legs or face. There are a variety of hair lasers on the market and not every one is designed for every skin type and colour such as elos.
The Best Way to Prevent Hyperpigmentation
Taking care of your skin by controlling sun exposure is key.
Sun exposure is the primary cause of facial and body brown spots, age spots, freckles, moles and pre-cancerous actinic keratosis. Preventing sun-induced hyperpigmentation is a full time process. Hormones, injury and pigmentation from allergic reactions or skin disease such as acne are mostly beyond your control.
Sunscreen, Sunblock, hats and sun-protective clothing are your first line guard against not only unsightly brown patches but also sun damage that could lead to skin cancer.
elos Skin Rejuvenation elos Skin Rejuvenation Treatments consist of pulses of light energy that penetrate the skin where pigmentation or abnormal vessels are and help to break up the sun-damaged pigmentation and to close dilated blood vessels. elos Skin Rejuvenation treatments help to remove or reduce the redness and flushing from sun exposure, Rosacea and aging on the face, neck and hands, which within minutes can remove years of sun damaged skin. For maximum end results it is recommended you do a series of at least 4 elos Skin Rejuvenation treatments.