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Understanding Pigmentation

Most individuals who are concerned about the aging of their skin tend to want to improve several major conditions of their skin.  These areas are wrinkle-texture concerns, skin tightening-firming concerns, and color correction concerns.


Color correction refers to the lightening of pigmented lesions, age spots, sun-damage hyper pigmentation, freckles, sun spots, melasma/chloasma, and post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation.  As a general rule, the causes of uneven pigmentation or the blotchy brown patches on the face and body can be linked to trauma such as injury, heat or irritation; chemical substances such as perfumes, certain essential oils, topical medications, ingredients in sunscreens; medications such has oral or topical medications; and hormonal influences such as contraceptive pills, hormone replacement, pregnancy, and ovarian abnormalities.

When UV sun exposure is added to this mix, then there is an increase of pigmentation occurring on the face and body, especially in the sun exposed areas. Just wearing a high SPF sunblock is not enough to control or improve pigmentation problems.


Melasma/Chloasma Pigmentation

Hormonal pigmentation, called melasma or chloasma, generally occurs in the middle of the face, over the cheeks, upper lip, chin and forehead regions.   Darker skin types are more proned to developing this type of pigmentation as well as if there is a genetic history in the family where the women develop melasma during pregnancy. And because darker skin types believe that they are protected from the aggravating sunlight rays, they can have a tough time getting some type of improvement in this type of pigmentation.

Quite often, a person with melasma will attempt to have aggressive chemical peels or laser resurfacing to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible will soon find that the melasma has returned with a vengeance , appearing even darker than what they started with. Essentially what happens is the treatment, meaning the chemical peel or laser resurfacing, creates inflammation in the skin and now the melasma, which is what  you are trying to improve, has unfortunately turned darker. This is referred to as Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. The intial concern was to fade or reduce the melasma, but one now has to correct the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation created by the " quick-fix-I- want-improvement-now" cosmetic treatment.  Even with the properly selected chemical peel or exfoliation method, there is a strong possibility that the melasma will return once the person goes on vacation or goes on a cruise to enjoy their new "pigment-free" skin.  Many believe that once the pigment looks like its gone, that it is permanently gone. That is not the case.

Is there hope? Of course there is. First thing to do is: Have a thorough professional skin analysis to establish the cause. Then begin with appropriate skin products that have ingredients to fade and control the pigmentation. These must be used on a daily basis--this is not negotiable.  Then, follow the recommendation of your skincare professional by scheduling a treatment program.  Scheduling 1 or 2 treatments will not give the results you are looking for....at least not, long-term results.  One must commit to a series of treatments,follow complete sun protection and be patient......pigmentation did not happen over night and it will not improve over night.

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