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How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation

20th April 2022

Our Skin Therapists have put together a guide on how to 'get rid of hyperpigmentation'.

Hyperpigmentation is the excess production of melanin (pigment) in the skin. There are four types of pigmentation, including freckles (ephelides), post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma and solar lentigos (sun/age spots).

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a very common skin concern that we often see presenting in clinic. The causes of hyperpigmentation vary greatly, depending on what type of pigmentation you have. For example, freckles are usually genetic and also develop from excess sun exposure. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs as a result of a wound or inflammation in the skin, such as acne, burns, cuts, etc. Melasma is hormonal and genetic and is also commonly referred to as a 'pregnancy mask', as the hormonal changes experienced through pregnancy can bring melasma to the surface. Solar lentigos result from a combination of excess sun exposure, ageing and also genetics. 

Is It Possible to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation?

When it comes to hyperpigmentation, it is never going to be entirely removed from the skin. However, we do offer a number of different treatments and topicals which can assist in fading hyperpigmentation and preventing it from getting darker. As pigmentation has a strong genetic component to it, completely removing pigment is very difficult.

Prior to beginning any treatments in clinic, we always start with an Aloki Skin Health Consultation. This allows our Skin Therapists to take photos of your skin using our Observ machine, which can show underlying pigmentation, bacteria on the skin, sun damage, etc., to enable an accurate treatment plan to be developed for your individual concerns. After your initial consultation, you will be required to undergo a skin check before any treatments are able to commence for pigmentation reduction to ensure the lesions are not cancerous. A skin check can be performed with your regular GP, or you can book in for a lesion check at Aloki Skin with one of our doctors. Once we have a clearance letter after your skin check, we have a variety of different methods used to treat the pigment. Again, the type of pigmentation it is (determined during your consultation) will determine which form of treatment is used.

If freckles are your primary concern, we can use a combination of laser using our new Gold Standard Cutera Excel V+ machine (for Fitzpatrick skin types 1-3), a series of Dermapen skin needling treatments (for all Fitzpatrick skin types), or chemical peels such as Cosmelan, Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid Peels (for all Fitzpatrick skin types). The treatment of choice will depend on a number of factors, including downtime, budget and lifestyle factors. 

The treatment of melasma can be a little more difficult due to the hormonal component. However, our most effective treatments include chemical peels (in particular Cosmelan) or a series of Dermapen skin needling treatments. For the treatment of solar lentigos and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, Dermapen and chemical peels are also recommended. Laser can also be used as a method of pigment reduction for solar lentigos.

So, how do these treatments remove pigmentation?

Dermapen

Dermapen works by creating a controlled wound on the skin and breaking up the pigment cluster. This stimulates cell turnover and encourages the existing pigment to be exfoliated off the skin. When treating pigment with Dermapen, we treat epidermally (only the surface layer of the skin), because this is where the pigment is sitting. Therefore, we can perform these treatments every 2 weeks to get faster results. We also use the DP Dermaceuticals BriteLite and HylaActive infusion serums when treating pigmentation to further assist in brightening and lightening the skin.

Cosmelan Peel

The Cosmelan Peel is a type of chemical peel which is designed to target all kinds of hyperpigmentation within the skin. It works by chemically exfoliating the surface layer of skin using AHAs and BHAs to stimulate cell turnover and encourage the pigment to fade. It also works on the deeper layers of the skin as the active ingredients work to inhibit future pigment production. The Cosmelan Peel is a journey, and it can take up to 6 months to see the final results. With the correct use of homecare products post treatment and by ensuring you follow your therapists' pre and post-care instructions, remarkable results can be achieved with this treatment.

Glycolic/Lactic Acid Peels

Another form of chemical peel to assist with the reduction of hyperpigmentation is a Glycolic or Lactic Acid peel. These peels are similar but have different effects, depending on your skin's tolerance. They are less intense than the Cosmelan Peel as they only contain AHA's, which work on the surface layer of the skin.

  • Glycolic Acid peels are a more intense peel which work to chemically exfoliate the surface layer of the skin to stimulate pigment reduction. We usually build our clients' skin up to having Glycolic peels by beginning with 1-2 Lactic Acid peels.
  • Lactic Acid is a larger molecule of AHA that is gentler on more sensitive skins. It gently chemically exfoliates the surface layer of dead skin cells to increase cell turnover and aids in brightening and hydrating the surface layer of the skin. Lactic Acid peels are commonly used as the first step in preparation to build the tolerance of your skin to more intense chemical peels.
Laser

Using our Cutera Excel V+ CooLView (532nm) laser, our Skin Therapists can target pigment within the skin to break it up. The pigment will darken over 24-48 hours post-treatment and will then begin to fade after 1-2 weeks. Depending on your skin's natural healing process, it can take up to 4 weeks to fade. A series of 2-3 treatments are usually recommended to ensure the best results at 4-6 week intervals. As the laser targets pigment, if your skin is naturally tanned/darker, the laser will not be an appropriate treatment for you as it could possibly target your natural skin tone, resulting in hypopigmentation (loss of pigment). 

Just as important as the treatments that we perform in clinic are what products are being used on the skin at home to maintain results and prevent new pigmentation from coming to the surface. 80% of results are seen through homecare, so our Skin Therapists recommend adding Vitamin C to your daily skincare routine (RATIONALE #2 The Serum, RATIONALE #2 The Hydragel, ASAP Super C+ Serum, or DP Dermaceuticals Anti-Oxidant Cocktail), as well as a Vitamin A/Retinoid (RATIONALE #6 The Night Crème, ASAP Super A+ Serum, or DP Dermaceuticals Retinal Active). As well as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, a good quality sunscreen is a must. We stock a wide variety of sunscreens in clinic to suit all skin types, concerns and personal preferences. Our top picks are the Mesoestetic Melan 130 SPF50+ and the RATIONALE #3 The Tinted Serum SPF50+. 

Treat Hyperpigmentation with Aloki Skin

If you are interested in finding out more about treating Hyperpigmentation, then book in for a Skin Health Consultation with one of our Skin Therapists who can provide you with a personalised treatment plan. To make a booking, contact our friendly team on (07) 4779 3333