Dark spots and other types of pigmentation are some of the most common skin concerns. Not only can they affect all skin types, but they can be caused by a variety of factors, including the hard (and impossible) to avoid factors of sun exposure, hormone changes, and simple aging.
Officially known as “hyperpigmentation”, these spots and patches of darker skin color don’t usually pose any health risk. But they are something that people can become very self-conscious about, and in some cases it can drastically affect one’s confidence, so it’s something that most people would rather address if they can.
The good news is there are a number of safe and non-invasive skin pigmentation treatments available that are capable of removing pigmentation from the face permanently.
Lasers have revolutionized the treatment of many skin conditions, and hyperpigmentation is no exception, with laser treatment for pigmentation generally considered to be the most effective method – particularly for more severe cases. Chemical peels, microneedling, and dermaplaning are other effective options, and even topical treatment using high-quality pharmaceutical skincare can make a big difference.
Below, we’ll explain the basics of what hyperpigmentation is, and the various treatment options available. But if you’re looking for skin pigmentation treatment in the Cleveland area, come and see us at BodyTonic Med Spa, where we can tell you about the best options suited to your individual needs.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that causes some parts of the skin to become darker than others. It occurs when the skin produces excess melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its color.
It’s a condition that can affect any skin type, and is generally more likely to occur with age, during pregnancy, or after an injury.
There are three main types of hyperpigmentation:
- Age spots: also called liver spots or sun spots, these are usually brown, tan, or black spots that appear on the skin with age and from sun overexposure.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: usually characterized by darkened spots or patches on the skin, these appear after an inflammatory skin condition such as acne or eczema, or a trauma such as scratches or insect bites.
- Melasma: most often on the face and more common in women, melasma consists of larger patches of darkened skin that can appear as flat patches or freckle-like spots, often producing a pattern-type appearance on the face.
Hyperpigmentation isn’t a condition that is painful, itchy, or that comes with any health risk, but it can make people very self-conscious – especially when the pigmentation is on their face. Skin pigmentation treatments are therefore a welcome relief to many people, often being able to remove the pigmentation permanently.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
There are a number of things that can increase the body’s melanin production, which leads to hyperpigmentation. These include:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Hormonal changes (e.g. pregnancy) or imbalances
- Genetics (e.g. freckles)
- Trauma to the skin, such as acne, cuts, or burns
- Certain illnesses, including autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, and vitamin deficiencies
- Certain medications, including some antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, antiarrhythmics, and antimalarial drugs
While some of these factors can’t be avoided or treated, others can, so it’s always worth speaking to a doctor or other professional to understand the source of your hyperpigmentation, and ways you can prevent it from worsening.
However, the number one cause of hyperpigmentation is sun exposure, so sun protection is the most important step you can take to help prevent skin pigmentation. Remember that the sun’s rays can affect your skin even on cloudy days, so it’s vital to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day. Not only does this protect against hyperpigmentation, but all manner of other skin conditions and signs of aging.
Skin pigmentation treatments
There are many home remedies claiming to help treat hyperpigmentation, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, but the reality is that these rarely have any impact, and in some cases can even make things worse.
If you want to try and treat your pigmentation at home, there are topical treatments that can be effective in reducing less severe cases of pigmentation, which come in the form of well-formulated medical-grade skincare products with specific active ingredients.
However, removing skin pigmentation from the face permanently can be challenging if only using topical treatments, so if these solutions aren’t fixing the problem, it’s worth looking at more intensive treatments such as laser skin rejuvenation and other minimally invasive professional skincare treatments.
Here is a summary of the best treatments for addressing skin pigmentation:
Laser treatment for pigmentation
Lasers are generally considered the best way to remove pigmentation from the face permanently, particularly in more severe cases. There are a range of laser skin resurfacing treatments that can be used to address skin pigmentation, such as IPL (intense pulsed light) and fractional lasers, and the best one will depend on your natural skin tone as well as the type and extent of your hyperpigmentation.
Lasers work by targeting the pigmented cells deep under the skin, without removing or damaging the skin’s surface. The heat generated by the laser breaks down the excess melanin in the pigmented cell, while also stimulating cell regeneration and collagen production, all of which leads to a visible improvement in pigmentation as well as a brighter and more even skin tone. At BodyTonic we use the revolutionary BBL Hero and MOXI by Sciton, which are fast, pain-free laser treatments with no downtime and excellent results.
Chemical peels for pigmentation
Chemical peels are the other most popular and effective treatment for reducing the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation. They work by removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing smoother and more even-toned skin beneath.
This treatment involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the dead skin cells to peel off. If it sounds a little scary, we assure you it’s not. It’s entirely safe and a very effective way of rejuvenating the skin. There are various “strengths” of chemical peel, depending on your individual skin condition. Chemical peels also stimulate cell regeneration and collagen production, further enhancing overall results for a complexion that is noticeably fresher, brighter, and more evenly toned.
Dermplaning is another effective option for reducing the appearance of less severe pigmentation as it gently sloughs away the very top layer of skin, removing all the dull, dead skin cells, many of which bear the worst aesthetic signs of pigmentation, and revealing a smoother, brighter, and more-even skin tone beneath.
Dermplaning involves a qualified practitioner using a medical-grade scalpel to gently scrape away the vellus hairs (a.k.a. peach fuzz) and top layer of dead skin cells from your face. In addition to physically removing the dead skin cells, this also has a deep exfoliating effect as the removal of this top layer triggers the body to generate new skin cells that take the place of the old, reducing the appearance of dark spots even further and making it another effective skin pigmentation treatment.
Another popular option for treating less severe cases of hyperpigmentation, microneedling involves using multiple tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin, which kicks the skin’s repair response into action, promoting collagen production and skin cell turnover in the place of the injury. As the wounds created are so small and controlled, this also has the effect of essentially replacing old skin with new, helping to reduce pigmentation and resulting in a brighter and clearer complexion.
At BodyTonic we use SkinPen, a state-of-the-art microneedling treatment that is known as one of the best microneedling treatments on the market for overall skin rejuvenation.
Skincare creams and serums containing certain ingredients that are known to lighten pigmented areas and even out skin tone can also make a noticeable difference. These will never yield an overnight result, but can make a big difference over time, especially when combined with other in-office treatments. Ingredients to look out for include retinol (or retinoids in general), vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).
Retinoids are some of the best skincare ingredients for treating face pigmentation as they support cell turnover, meaning old pigmented cells are replaced with new healthy ones, as well as overall skin rejuvenation and boosting collagen production. Vitamin C is an excellent ally as it works as an antioxidant to lighten dark spots, rejuvenate skin, and boost collagen. While AHAs such as glycolic and lactic acid are excellent natural exfoliants, which aid in breaking apart the pigmented cells and accelerating skin renewal.
However, when it comes to skincare it’s important to choose the right products for your individual skin condition. The products that will yield the best results also won’t be the cheapest, which is why it’s even more important to ensure you’re choosing the right ones. At BodyTonic, we work with top medical-grade skincare brands such as SkinBetter, which are only available from licensed clinics. This enables us to analyze your skin and recommend the best product for your personal needs.
Skin pigmentation treatment at BodyTonic Cleveland
The best way to treat hyperpigmentation depends on many factors: the type of hyperpigmentation, the extent and severity of it, your skin type and any other skin conditions you may also want to address, your skin color, and more.
This means that if you want to remove pigmentation from your face permanently, your first step must be a professional consultation.
At BodyTonic Med Spa Cleveland we offer completely free, no-obligation consultations in which we use our 7th Generation VISIA®Skin Analysis System to analyze your skin at a deeper level. This cutting-edge technology allows us to identify the exact type and extent of your pigmentation, as well as other aspects of your skin’s overall condition, and subsequently tailor an optimal treatment plan specifically for your needs.
If you live or work in the Cleveland area and want to tackle your skin pigmentation woes, or any other skin concerns, book your free consultation today and find out the many different treatments and options available to you.
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