What Are These “SPOTS” On My Face??
Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of an area of skin due to the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. Melanin are the natural pigments found in all skin produced by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine.
When the body produces melanin in the form of black or brown spots it is called melanogenesis. This process happens after exposure to UV radiation (sun exposure) and causes our skin to tan. Melanin effectively absorbs light and dissipates 99.9% of it, therefore protecting our skin cells from UVB radiation damage and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
These “sun spots” are a common occurrence that can be seen in many of the clients seeking a facial in Fort Lauderdale due to our exposure to sun and our outdoor lifestyle in South Florida. Hyperpigmentation is technically harmless, but for cosmetic reasons, it is annoying to those who have it. And seeing them every day when looking in the mirror can be frustrating. Even skin tone, free of “spots” always gives the appearance of being healthier and more youthful looking. Having discolorations or these “sun spots” can be rather aging, making us look older than we really are.
We are all at risk for developing Hyperpigmentation, it is more common in certain ethnic groups, especially in Latin, Asian, Mediterranean or African. Hyperpigmentation can affect any part of the body including the face, hands, and neck. There are a few types of Hyperpigmentation, Lentigenes or freckles, Solar Lentigenes which is what is referred to as “sun spots” or “liver spots” and Melasma.
It Looks Like A “Butterfly” On My Face!
Melasma is a slightly different type of Hyperpigmentation as it usually appears in symmetrical patterns of blotchy brownish pigmentation mostly on the cheeks, forehead, nose, lips and jaw line. Although this can sometimes effect men it is most common in women often appearing during pregnancy (mask of pregnancy), or in women on oral contraceptives and on hormone replacement therapies. Melasma is caused by surges in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This type of Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by thyroid disease and can be experienced by women going through menopause.
Your Mom Told You Not To Pick Your Skin.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a flat discoloration caused by a wound, pimple, burn, cut or rash and can remain even after the breakout or wound has healed. This is a very common occurrence in persons with acne. Trauma caused by picking, squeezing or “popping” a pimple greatly increases the likelihood of developing this type of Hyperpigmentation.
Seeking Treatment… Progressive NOT Aggressive.
Professional Skin Treatments are the best choice to deal with Hyperpigmentation as over the counter products do not have the necessary ingredients in the correct amounts and could actually make it worse. One of the best treatments for this can be Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), as this micro needling technique can “break down” the spots and have them rise upwards and outwards. This stimulation of collagen is beneficial to the health of the skin and triggers the body’s own wound healing mechanism. To increase cell turnover and eliminate blotchy surface skin, a series of PCA Skin Sensi Peels which are gentle enough to do every two to three weeks can work wonders. These peels can be very effective and come with a six product take home post peel kit.
The Image Skincare’s Iluma Collection which is one of the professional lines sold at Urban Retreat Spa, is a great home regimen to use post treatment. This is a product line that is made especially for Hyperpigmentation. Using “Vectorized Technology” a revolutionary delivery system which can penetrate encapsulated ingredients containing up to 100 time released layers for over 48 hours of penetration into the deeper layers of the skin. As each layer of the sphere enters into the skin ingredients like Vitamin C, grape seed extract, glycolic, azelaic acid and tea tree are able to go deeper and actually address pigmentation on a cellular level. Clinical studies of Iluma showed incredible results, with over 94% of female subjects reporting improvement in skin clarity, brightness of their skin and improvement in skin lightening.
And of course, the most important product when treating Hyperpigmentation is Sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. Only use Professional strength sunblock’s that are water and sweat resistant, containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide and are free of all the excessive chemicals of the lower quality over the counter drug store types. Sun protection is imperative for preventing additional Hyperpigmentation, do not fool yourself into thinking that sunblock is just for the pool or beach, it should be used daily. Proper use of the correct SPF will always be the single most important thing you can do to keep your skin free from Hyperpigmentation and aging.