Our skin gets its pigment from melanin that is made by the body and determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. An over-production of melanin (hyper-pigmentation) shows up as brown patches and spots.
Hyper-pigmentation is caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The intrinsic cause stems from imbalances in the hormone levels and is very difficult to treat.
The external factors include excessive sun exposure, wounds, skin treatments and procedures that might not suit one's skin and anything that stimulates the increased production of melanin.
The main reasons for hyper-pigmentation are:
Sun damage - Brown spots or dark patches appear from too much melanin being made and coming to the skin surface as a protective mechanism.
Hormonal changes - Pregnancy, menopause and oral contraceptive pills can cause pigmentation patches on the skin.
Injury PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) - The body's response to injury is inflammation which triggers melanin production and the result are brown spots and patches. Some examples of PIH are acne scars, insect bites, cuts or abrasion, post laser treatments, post peels, fixed drug reaction.
One can opt for topical applications, skin peels or non ablative treatments, but all should be under medical supervision and strict sun protection say experts. Daily skin cleansing is essential so, wash your face at least twice a day. Exfoliate three times per week; apply the exfoliator in circular motions to all affected areas, normally the nose, forehead and chin. The exfoliation encourages a newer, smoother skin surface by helping to unclog pores, prevent further breakouts and diminish blemishes and pigmentation spots.
Some very good and safe lightening agents are Vitamin C, Retin A, etc. When used regularly, these exfoliating agents remove dead cells and speed up the growth of new skin thereby lessening the pigmented patches.
Made from naturally occurring acids found in fruits and other foods, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid, citric acid and glycolic acid peels are all very helpful. Trichloracetic acid (TCA) peels and Beta-hydroxy peels(BHA) are also used.
Ultrasound Facial treatments are a beneficial alternative to any harsh exfoliation service such as microdermabrasion, which can thin the skin with repeated use. Ultrasound Facials are effective in removing sun damage, while nourishing dry, damaged skin.
Laser skin resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may also be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars.
To help you determine which treatment is best for your skin, a consultation with your skin care specialist is the first place to start.
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