Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin it’s colour. The main triggers for hyperpigmentation are sun exposure, hormonal influences, age, skin injuries and inflammation.
Here are my top treatments when it comes to tackling pigment.
OBAGI NU-DERM SYSTEM
The Nu-Derm® System helps transform the skin’s appearance by reducing darks spots, revealing younger, healthier-looking skin. It does require a prescription so you’ll need to book a consultation with one of the doctors at Eighth & Eden. The non-prescription system can be purchased without a consultation but our advice would be to seek help before making any decisions. Each system has a cleanser, toner, prescription strength hydroquinone, exfoliating lotion, blender to use with Tretinoin, moisturiser, and sunscreen. The process can take 4-6 weeks to see results so we book reviews every 4-6 weeks to track progress. Once you’ve completed a course of Obagi Nu-Derm®, I recommend maintenance products will be needed to either improve on results achieved or keep pigmentation at bay.
Acne is a big cause of hyperpigmentation due to the inflammatory response during healing. Cleansers with beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic and alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic and lactic can also help unwanted acne by gently exfoliating the surface and unclogging pores, which could be causing your unwanted acne. So unless you have really dry and sensitive skin, consider using a cleanser with either or both to help fade marks.
Retinol is a do-everything ingredient that also helps with pigmentation. Not only does it speed up cell turnover, it penetrates really deep into the skin and interferes with pigment production. It can treat dark spots that aren’t just on the surface level. Tretinoin is a prescription strength retinoid used to treat acne and sun-damaged skin. It can help improve the appearance of surface wrinkles, fine lines, darks spots and prevent acne. Tretinoin is a prescription retinol, meaning a consultation is required before purchasing. It is the highest strength of retinol on the market.
Microneedling is a treatment for a number of skin concerns such as skin rejuvenation, acne scars, enlarged pores and melasma. With microneedling, hyperpigmentation can be effectively treated by breaking up the pigment beneath the skin’s surface. Triggering the skin’s wound-healing process which prompts skin cell turnover At the same time, it boosts collagen and elastin production to remodel skin by altering tissue formation. Combine microneedling with other topical treatments, vitamin C, non-hydroquinone and hydroquinone-based depigmenting agents provides greater results than topical therapy alone. I recommend a course of 6 initially, weekly.
A salicylic acid peel is another in-house treatment that can vastly speed up treatments and is ideal for acne sufferers. Obagi Blue Peel Radiance has the ability to penetrate down into the oil glands, but it also can lift that stain left behind from the inflammation. I recommend getting one once every month.
When pigmentation occurs in the second layer of the skin, it acts almost like a tattoo—a.k.a. it’s really hard to get rid of.
Dr Eloise recommends laser. Laser is a very effective option for distinct round sun spots. The laser is attracted to the pigment without damaging any of the surrounding tissue. It heats up and shatters the pigment, which is subsequently drawn to the surface, before drying and flaking off the skin. Not all skin types are necessarily suited for lasers. Often darker skin tones may darken as a result of the laser treatment. It is very important to have a consultation to ensure laser treatments will be effective for you. It is also important to remember that these treatments do not prevent future spots from forming, so lasers should always be paired with a protective at-home skincare regime.