In our last article about skin pigmentation, we took in the various reasons why your skin can develop darker patches. To cut a long story short here's a quick down:
From sun spots to acne scars, the culprit is overproduction of the tanning agent, melanin, which is shifted into a higher gear by sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, age and skin injuries like acne.
Even though the bad guy in all of these situations is melanin, there’s no one size fits all solution. The best treatment will be unique, just like you. From your skin type to the cause of your pigmentation, the best results will generally come from a combination plan put together by a skin care expert.
Why is treating pigmentation a tricky business?
To treat pigmentation really effectively you have to understand what’s causing your dark patches and how your skin type will be affected by the different types of treatment.
Generally, sunspots will be easier to treat than melasma (dark spots created by hormonal fluctuations) because melasma can often be in the deeper layers of the skin. Melasma can also be made worse by some of the very treatments which are used to resolve it, when you're not in the hands of a skin care professional.
If you’re feeling disheartened, then read on, the solutions are actually much more straightforward to the eye of an expert. At Transform, we offer a free consultation where our specially trained aestheticians, practitioners, nurses and doctors will put together the best treatment programme for you and your skin. Let’s take a look at some of the options you might consider together:
Which skin creams can I use to treat dark spots?
Obagi is world leader in skin care products with creams specifically tailored to tackle dark spots and uneven skin tone. They contain ingredients like hydroquinone, found naturally in many fruits and grains, which turn down the volume on cells which are producing too much melanin.
Whilst these creams are some of the best available, to really see their full potential your Transform skin care professional will want to combine them with other treatments. Microdermabrasion, skin peels and derma rollers (or micro-needling) not only treat your dark pigmentation, they also help these creams to be more effective by allowing them to reach more deeply into your skin.
Not all chemical peels are equal
Whilst all peels give your skin a fresh, youthful glow by removing dead skin cells, the strength will determine how much of an effect they will have on acne scars, liver spots and uneven pigmentation. If your sun spots are just a smattering then you’ll find that a light ‘Obagi Blue’ peel will leave you looking radiant, whilst darker marks or Melasma will need a stronger ‘phenol’ peel to reach into those deeper layers.
The stronger skin peels offer more powerful results but they also have some down time (around a week) where you may be a little more red than normal.
Can microdermabrasion help with pigmentation?
In short, yes, but perhaps best in combination with other treatments. Think of microdermabrasion as a deeper form of exfoliation where the top layer of your skin is ‘polished’ with a unique diamond tip wand. This ‘polishing’ stimulates your skin to produce collagen and healthy new cells which can even out skin tone, fade age spots and reduce the appearance of any acne scarring.
A Derma Roller isn't for your hair!
Derma Rolling is also known as micro needling, which will give you more of a clue as to how this treatment really works. By using fine needles to reach into your skin you can actually stimulate the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.
Don’t worry, before the idea of needles puts you off, your skin is treated with an anaesthetic cream beforehand, and any redness should only last about 24 hours. Unusual as this treatment sounds, it can actually really help with even the more stubborn pigmentation like melasma. The key to getting the best results is to work with a skin specialist, as over treatment can make the condition worse.
Does laser have the last say?
At Transform, we use the latest in ‘laser’ technology, IPL, which is short bursts of high intensity light which stimulate the production of collagen. IPL also has the added bonus of only leaving your skin a little reddened for less than 24 hours.
Whilst IPL can reduce the appearance of any lighter pigmentation, your more difficult dark spots and deep scars will probably need other treatments as well. IPL may also not be suitable if you have a darker skin tone, so it seems even laser doesn’t have the last say!
So what is the solution to my pigmentation?
Although it seems frustrating that a clear solution isn’t obvious, don’t feel disheartened. With the support of a skin care specialist you really can find an answer for most pigmentation issues, it just takes an expert eye to work out what’s best for you and your skin. On the upside though, all these treatments have the added bonus of giving you a fresher, younger looking complexion, alongside the ability to even out any dark spots.
Perhaps the best time for you to consider dealing with any pigmentation problems is during the winter months, or at least away from your summer holiday. Most intensive skin treatments leave your skin needing a break from tanning with a high factor sun screen and a stylish hat! Wearing a sun screen throughout the year will also help you to maintain your skincare results as dark spots could reappear with sun exposure.
If you want to find out more or book a free consultation then take a look at our facial skincare pages or call 0808 159 1479.