Alas, we all love the sun. But sunshine gets a bad rap as one of the major causes of hyperpigmentation – otherwise known as ‘liver spots’. This may occur on any skin colour at any age. Other causes may be hormonal fluctuations or injury to the skin.
The age factor
Unfortunately, hyperpigmentation goes with the territory as we age. It mainly occurs in patches where the skin tissue becomes darker than the surrounding skin. The darkening is a result of too much melanin. As our bodies age, the regulation of melanocytes are less controlled and the distribution less balanced. Melanocytes concentrate in certain areas, and when stimulated by UV rays, wherever the cell concentration is higher, the greater amount of hyperpigmentation will occur.
Then there’s melasma. Again, the hyperpigmentation in melasma resembles age spots, but are a result of hormonal fluctuations. Pregnant women and those on birth control pills can generate an overproduction of melanin, causing hyperpigmentation. Generally, it appears on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, upper lip, and chin.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears when a skin trauma or injury heals, leaving discolouration behind. A great deal of this type of hyperpigmentation is the result of acne which has healed, leaving a dark mark or spot in its wake.
The wonder of IPL
Although skin lightening creams can treat hyperpigmentation, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) still remains the best option. Creams can fade the appearance, whereas IPL treats it and balances your skin tone.
The way we treat it is with powerful flashes of light in short, polychromatic blasts. The energy created by the light penetrates the dermal layers below the skin’s surface and begins to address the melanin that’s causing the spots. The heat penetrates and attacks the pigment particles, breaking and destroying their bonds. The particles then rise to the surface and form scabs, only to slough off. Thereafter, the body eliminates them naturally.
Best of all, IPL requires no downtime post-procedure – just a bit of temporary redness. You’ll see results for minor hyperpigmentation after one session. However, we recommend five sessions for more advanced hyperpigmentation.