The effects of the sun, pregnancy and your hormones can lead to patchy and uneven pigmentation. The Medical Chambers offers expert treatment and advice from a consultant cosmetic dermatologist to treat skin discolouration and prevent it recurring.
How common are skin pigmentation problems?
Uneven skin pigmentation is a common skin problem in which dark freckles, spots and patches appear on the parts of the body that are regularly exposed to sunlight like the face, hands and decolletage.
Hyperpigmentation is the medical term for areas of dark discolouration. It can affect people of all skin colours and types, but it can be more of a problem in people with darker skins because they have more of the skin’s natural pigment melanin, so dark patches often take longer to fade.
Ageing and pigmentation
Years of sun exposure can progressively age the skin and cause flat pigmented patches known as sun spots or liver spots.
Pigmentation and pregnancy
The hormonal changes of pregnancy can affect the skin’s pigmentation. As many as ninety percent of women notice that pregnancy makes their skin darker and their pigmentation patchy. Some women develop central facial discolouration, which is medically known as melasma or chloasma or the mask of pregnancy. It usually affects the mouth and forehead, but it can appear on the tummy too. The good news is that pigmentation often fades gradually after birth.
The pill and pigmentation
The oral contraceptive can also cause pigmentation problems. Around a quarter of women develop blotchy skin hyperpigmentation within the first four months of starting the pill. This is like the mask of pregnancy and is also called melasma or chloasma.
Preventing pigmentation problems
Sunlight increases pigmentation problems. To protect your skin you can:
- Avoid intense sunlight especially around the middle of the day.
- Stay in the shade.
- Slip on a shirt and slap on a hat when you’re outside.
- Always wear a high-protection sunscreen.
- Cover any scars, bites or spots in the sun to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation treatment at The Medical Chambers
Our consultant cosmetic dermatologists have lots of experience in treating hyperpigmentation and the signs of skin ageing. They will assess your skin and discuss your treatment goals before creating a recommended treatment plan, which may include:
PSR is an innovative new way to resurface the skin. It uses targeted plasma energy to heat the skin surface without damaging surrounding tissues. Plasma Skin Regeneration can treat hyperpigmentation and sun spots and reveal brighter more even skin.
Microdermabrasion is mechanical exfoliation using fine aluminium crystals. It removes the outer layers of dead and discoloured skin to reveal smooth skin below. A course of microdermabrasion resurfaces the skin and treats pigmentation problems and the early signs of ageing.
Controlled medical peels use chemicals to gently remove your skin’s surface. Following treatment, the skin looks brighter and new skin grows to make your complexion more even.
All of the resurfacing treatments listed above can be very effective in treating uneven and patchy pigmentation but in some people there is a risk of hyperpigmentation after the procedure. This is more common in black, olive and Asian skins. Please talk to your consultant about your procedure and they will take you through the risks and benefits.
Microneedling is a skin treatment that harnesses your skin’s natural healing processes. A derma roller covered with fine needles makes multiple tiny punctures in your skin. Each hole triggers a wound healing response to regenerate and repair the skin cells.
Mesotherapy is microinjections of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to nourish and rejuvenate your skin. Your consultant will inject a customised chemical blend into the dermis of your skin. The micronutrients boosts skin cell regeneration and repair, improving your skin’s tone, texture and pigmentation.
Your consultant can prescribe clinical strength skin treatments and cosmeceuticals to treat age spots, pigmentation problems and sun damage. Ingredients including tretinoin and hydroxyquinone are particularly effective.