If you have skin pigmentation and dark spots on your face, be assured that you’re not the only one. Almost everyone is likely to have experienced some form of skin pigmentation, whether they realise it or not. Good news is, today there are more options for erasing this vexing, although harmless, facial discoloration compared to the past.
So to learn more about what hyperpigmentation is, its underlying causes, how to get rid of it, as well as the benefits of the treatment, we decided to ask aesthetic physician and medical director of Radium Medical Aesthetics Singapore, Dr Siew Tuck Wah to share his expert advise!
Let’s start with what is skin pigmentation or hyperpigmentation. The simple answer is - it’s any patch of skin that looks darker than your natural skin tone due to overproduction of melanin. Melanin is the pigment in our skin that gives it its colour, so when the skin is aggravated to produce more melanin than required, you may find patches of skin appearing darker than its surrounding area.
The most common types of pesky skin pigmentation that affect Asian women are; freckles, solar lentigines, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Do you have hyperpigmentation? Here are the common causes of this skin condition:
Damage to your skin can appear in many forms, such as acne, eczema, bug bites, cuts, scrapes, even scratching or friction from vigorous rubbing. The stress absorbed by the skin in these instances can cause inflammation which in turn can push pigment-producing cells into high gear, leaving behind dark spots even after the area has healed.
In Singapore, all of us are exposed to the sun’s harsh UV-rays all year long. This over-exposure can trigger your skin into producing melanin at a fast pace, as a way to protect itself from damage. This is basically the same process as getting a natural tan, except when there’s excessive sun exposure, there’s a risk of dark ‘sun spots’ appearing in the most vulnerable, exposed areas of our bodies, like the face. Although sun spots are not cancerous, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, sun-exposed skin may develop other precancerous blemishes that look similar. For this reason, Dr Siew advises to have your skin checked yearly to be safe.
Often referred to as melasma, this skin pigmentation is characterised by brown patches that can commonly form during pregnancy, as a result of hormonal changes in the body. This type of hyperpigmentation occurs more commonly for women but it does affect a small majority of men as well, as a result of genetics. Airborne pollutants that weaken the skin could also be a cause of melasma, according to Harvard Health.
Hyperpigmentation can also be a side effect of Addinson’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder) that can increase melanin production. Besides that, according to the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, certain drugs, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy medication are also major causes of skin pigmentation.
So, what are the best ways to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation?
Dr Siew suggests a customised facial regime using medical grade topical creams and solutions to effectively break down those stubborn pigments in your skin.
At Radium Medical Aesthetics, the facial pigmentation treatment begins with a strong pumpkin peel applied to the face to stimulate cell turnover and increase dermal hydration of the area. Then, a gentle scrub is used to remove the surface layer of the skin, containing dead skin cells. This is done to prepare the skin for absorption of the pigment-busting topical creams which are applied in the following steps.
First, a specially made blend of clinically proven pigment-reducing serum is applied to the area to decrease UV radiation-induced pigmentation and melasma. This step is followed by a stronger pigment corrector cream that contains Cysteamine, that reduces melanin in the top layer of the skin, eliminating the appearance of dark spots.
For the final step, a moisturiser containing strong actives, namely - ReviWhite, Arbutin, or Tranexamic Acid is applied to enhance this pigment-reducing facial.
So, if you’re looking to get rid of those dark spots and dull-looking skin, this is definitely the miracle solution you’ve been praying for! This non-invasive facial skin treatment not only breaks down those stubborn dark pigment spots on the skin, it also brightens and evens out the skin tone, restoring and rejuvenating the skin for a more youthful and glowing appearance.
Other aesthetic procedures that you may want to try is laser therapy, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. However, we do recommend that you consult Dr Siew further of the processes and possible side effects of these treatments before deciding on it.