PIGMENTATION is a condition that South African women often struggle with, due to the harshness of the African sun. The tricky part about managing pigmentation, however, is the fact that there are different types, and before you can tackle the problem you need to know what you are dealing with. Once you’ve identified the type of pigmentation you have, you can better understand how to manage and maintain your skin to ensure that it doesn’t reoccur once you have it under control. Dr. Maureen Allem, founder and medical director at the Renewal Institute, explains the different types of pigmentation, and explains when pigmentation is actually melasma.
Here are the different types of pigmentation and more information on each, along with some treatment options:
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
This type of pigmentation occurs due to injury or inflammation. For example, if you suffered from acne in the past you’re often left with brown spots where there used to be acne lesions. This is due to squeezing, picking and the inflammatory nature of the acne lesions. Luckily this type of pigmentation can be treated fairly easily through chemical peels, Limelight, Laser Genesis, Microdermabrasion and Transdermal Mesotherapy.
Pigmentation due to sun damage and sun spots
Repeated sun exposure causes this type of pigmentation – the older we get, the more the sun damage from our youth rises to the surface. One bad case of sunburn can, however, also contribute to the condition. This type of pigmentation can be treated with Fraxel DUAL, Pearl Fusion, chemical peels, Limelight, Laser Genesis, carboxytherapy, microdermabrasion and Transdermal Mesotherapy.
Hormonal Pigmentation (Melasma)
Melasma is one of the most difficult types of pigmentation to treat as it has multiple internal and external triggers, including hormones, leaky gut syndrome, uncontrolled inflammation in the body, etc. Unfortunately, it’s like a disease that you will have to manage and maintain for the rest of your life as the chances of reoccurrence are high if not managed correctly. It may require intervention by a Health Renewal doctor who can order blood tests to investigate hormonal profiles, gut health, and possible deficiencies. Generally, hormonal pigmentation requires gut restoration, hormone balancing and a reduction in inflammation, before in-clinic treatments will work. Topical treatments are used to suppress pigmentation while targeted treatments such as Cosmelan and Dermamelan and non-inflammatory treatments, like Mesotherapy slowly and systematically target the pigmented areas.
Hypopigmentation is when an area(s) of the skin starts to lose pigment and you’re left with white patches or spots. Again, it’s very difficult to treat as it can have multiple causes, including injury, severe sun damage, scarring and certain diseases. In some cases, especially when related to diseases that completely destroy the pigment producing cells (melanocytes), hypopigmentation is completely irreversible. It is essential to first consult a dermatologist to ascertain the cause and whether there is any chance of restoring the natural pigmentation process by the melanocytes (pigment producing cells). If not, your only option is to replace the pigment artificially, using permanent make-up.
As pigmentation is not just a straightforward condition, it is advised to visit an aesthetic doctor or dermatologist for an individual assessment to ensure that the correct treatments are prescribed.
For more information on pigmentation, melasma and the treatment thereof, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).