What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin concerns. A few freckles may be a great beauty accent, but uneven skin tone, blotchiness, and stubborn dark spots can keep us reaching for expensive creams, concealers, or foundations in the hope of improving our skin’s appearance. Wouldn’t we all love a more powerful and long-lasting (not to mention cost-effective) solution?

There are different types of hyperpigmentation such as age spots, freckles, melasma, and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation may occur or be worsened by sun exposure, certain medications, inflammatory skin conditions, injuries, hormone imbalances, pregnancy, or the use of contraception. While certain skin types are at higher risk of developing pigmentation issues, it’s essential to note that these issues can and do affect people of all skin types.

The most common areas for hyperpigmentation are the upper cheeks, sides of the jaw, upper lip, and forehead. Melasma, for example, has a trademark placement and pattern in these areas. This type of hyperpigmentation is often associated with pregnancy or medication use and may be exacerbated by sun exposure.

When dealing with hormonal pigmentation, we must treat with caution to avoid aggravating the problem and making it worse. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a trained professional to understand the best options for your skin type. Be it skincare, laser, microneedling, or combination therapy, our team of experts will help you achieve the skin of your dreams.

Types of Pigmentation Treatments

Skincare Products

When it comes to hyperpigmentation, a customized skincare routine is essential to protect your results – and your wallet! When our clients use quality skincare products in conjunction with aesthetic services, they often see a reduction in the number of treatments needed. We also notice that overall results are superior with a combination approach.

Using products alone, we typically see brightening of the skin and improved overall appearance, along with a reduction in the signs of aging. While they can be effective in some cases, it takes a much longer time to see improvement in pigmentation, and we may not get our clients to their ideal complexion with topical products alone. They are much more effective for maintaining results once achieved, which is why we recommend both treatments and products for hyperpigmentation.

The best results-driven products for hyperpigmentation include: Lytera 2.0 by Skin Medica, Brightalive by ZO, Discoloration Defense by SkinCeuticals, Advanced Skin Lightening Serum by Vivier, or a custom blend of arbutin and kojic acid by Universe Skin. Retinols and hydroquinone products are another gold-standard when it comes to hyperpigmentation. Due to their strength and efficacy, our team will be happy to provide tips for use and help determine the best option for you. Last, but not least, we recommend a vitamin C serum for nearly every client with hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C can help reverse skin damage whilst acting as a potent cellular protection agent (and did we mention its skin brightening properties?!). We offer a wide range of medical and pharmaceutical grade vitamin C serums for all skin types. Visit us for your customized skincare plan.

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Microneedling, also known as “collagen induction therapy”, is a fantastic treatment for skin rejuvenation. Its ability to gently resurface the target area makes it an excellent choice for addressing hyperpigmentation, age- and sunspots, acne scars, wrinkles, and large pores.

Microneedling creates hundreds of micro wounds in the surface layer of the skin which breaks up stubborn clusters of pigmented cells and signals the body’s natural healing response. This process stimulates the production of plump, fresh, and more even skin as the micro injuries heal. Microneedling also allows for better penetration of topical pigmentation-reducing treatments, such as vitamin C serums or skin-lightening agents. As we are temporarily and strategically damaging the skin barrier, it’s important to speak with a medical aesthetician to see which products are safe to use throughout the healing process.

Because it is so well tolerated, we often turn to microneedling when other options may not be suitable for the client’s skin type, or during the summer months when we pause laser treatments. It’s a safe and effective tool for everything from full-face rejuvenation, to “spot treating” hyperpigmentation and scars on the hands, neck, chest, and body. As with most treatments, it’s important to note that multiple sessions are needed for best results.

Overall, microneedling can effectively address pigmentation issues by promoting collagen production, accelerating skin cell turnover, and enhancing the penetration of topical treatments. Our patients leave happy with more even skin tone and a reduction in pigmentation.

Lumecca IPL

IPL, or intense pulsed light, is a cutting-edge technology that uses light to fragment pigmentation, creating a more enhanced and even skin tone. This versatile procedure not only targets stubborn dark spots, but it also stimulates collagen production, promoting firmer, brighter skin. Our IPL offers a comprehensive solution for all areas of the body, making it an excellent choice for achieving a more even and radiant skin tone. Common treatment areas include the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and spots on the legs.

Lumecca IPL for hyperpigmentation is one of our favorite tools to achieve harmonious skin texture and tone. When being treated with IPL, skin must be kept out of the sun for two weeks pre and post treatment. We do not offer this service in the summer months due to the high risk of complications with sun-exposed skin. Offering IPL treatments during fall, winter, and early spring ensures our patients get the best results.

Lumecca IPL also offers the advantage of minimal downtime. After treatment it’s common for pigmentation to initially darken, then manifest as coffee-ground-like spots for a day or two. During this period, it’s essential to avoid exfoliation, prioritize hydration, and ensure your skin is well protected with a hat and high-quality SPF. For best results, we encourage all our clients to use recommended products to facilitate healing and rejuvenation.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is an effective way to address hyperpigmentation, acne scars, skin laxity, and uneven tone and texture.

This treatment works by creating directed portals of injury into the skin to break up scar tissue or stubborn pigment and stimulate a healing response, resulting in supple, brighter, plumper, healthier, and more youthful skin.

With laser resurfacing we’re able to treat stubborn individual spots, or widen our scope for overall rejuvenation, head to toe! We are proud to offer the gold-standard in erbium lasers, selecting either Fraxel or Fotona technology based on the client’s goals. Both provide excellent results, and our experts will determine the most effective option for your unique skin type.

Expected downtime is at least seven days. The skin’s surface layer takes approximately one week to repair, and neocollagenesis (the production and organization of collagen) takes 4-6 weeks.

People are often concerned with how long their results will last. The good news is that these treatments don’t wear off! Laser resurfacing essentially turns back the biological clock on your skin and the effects can last for years. This is much more likely if the patient is diligent in protecting their investment by living a healthy lifestyle, using medical grade skin care with an emphasis on sunscreen and sun avoidance, and doing periodic maintenance treatments as the natural aging process will continue in the background.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels increase the speed of cell turnover in the skin. The normal cycle of cellular replacement slows down as we age, and our skin is much more likely to hold onto damage as a result. Chemical peels relax the bond between skin cells which causes the top layer to shed off rapidly, revealing a fresh layer of skin beneath. This process leads to the replacement of old/damaged cells and boosts the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin.

Chemical peels are often used for dark spots, age spots, pigmentation on the upper lip, fine lines, and wrinkles. They’re an affordable and effective treatment on their own, but we always recommend pairing your services with a custom skincare routine. This combination approach to skin health ensures you get the best results with the fewest number of treatments.

Despite what you’ve seen on social media, chemical peels should not be attempted at home! At Papillon Medical you can rest assured that you’re in capable hands, and most patients find the procedure very tolerable. Don’t miss out on the significant benefits and visible improvements we can achieve with a chemical peel.

Have a question about treatment options?

Our expert medical injectors, aestheticians, and laser technicians will team up to determine what combination of treatments is right for your skin type and desired outcome.

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