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Indians love fair skin, and we know so by looking at all ours ads and commercials that flood the television and newspapers, don’t we? The sun does not make our lives any easier either, as we are prone to getting tanned quickly. Now, if someone starts observing dark patches of pigmentation on the face or the body, then god bless him or her. It is as much a nightmare for us as it is for our matchmaking aunties.
Pigmentation is capable of adding so much age to our face, and is responsible for giving us a checkboard look. But, do not worry as we have got you covered. This article covers the cause as well as the solution for pigmentation, so read on.
What Is Pigmentation?
Pigmentation is when your face is forced to produce excessive melanin that results in dark patches on the skin, leaving you with an uneven skin tone. Though this condition causes no harm, it leaves with apprehensions about your skin.
Pigmentation is more commonly seen in Asian and other equatorial regions, because of the amount of exposure to the sun. Further, though this skin condition results in darkening of the skin, there are variations to it, which are determined by the cause of hyperpigmentation. So, in case you notice dark patches on your face, save yourself from the self-inspection routines and visit a dermatologist for a profound analysis.
Common Causes Of This Condition
Pigmentation or hyperpigmentation is when the body produces too much of melanin – the pigment that is responsible for giving color to our skin, hair, and eyes. This can be a result of hormonal influences, skin injuries, genetic factors or sun exposure.
The following is a list of the factors that cause pigmentation –
- Excessive Exposure To The Sun – Sun exposure is the most common cause of hyperpigmentation, as sun light instigates excess production of melanin, with tanning being its by-product. Melanin is your skin’s natural sunscreen that protects it from the UV rays, but an excess of it causes disruption in this process and leads to hyperpigmentation. Further, the sun is also guilty of worsening dark spots by aggravating them into melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation spots.
- Skin Damage From Injury – Simple things like pimples, cuts, and minor skin injuries can damage your skin. In such scenarios, the body automatically produces extra melanin as an inflammatory reaction. In most cases, the skin is replaced by darker pigments that cover the damaged area, which also is a case of hyperpigmentation.
- Hormonal Changes – Hormones are accountable for a majority of things that go on in our body and pigmentation is no different. The levels of estrogen and progesterone rise during pregnancy or when you are on birth control pills. This rise can cause hyperpigmentation. The condition where the cause of hyperpigmentation is rise in estrogen or progesterone is known as melasma. In many cases, the signs of hyperpigmentation disappear after pregnancy, but it might not always be the case.
- Improper Hair Removal – When you remove hair by using chemicals, it can result in an inflammatory reaction, which may cause hyperpigmentation. If threading, waxing or shaving is not done the right way, it can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Genetic Predisposition – Sometimes, the sole reason behind hyperpigmentation is your DNA. If there is someone in your family with a pigmentary skin condition, then there is a possibility of you having it too. The slightest of trigger points, like an allergic reaction or hormonal changes, can help in surfacing hyperpigmentation.
- Allergic Reactions – The reaction of your body to any kind of allergy is instantaneous. When you are allergic to something, it may cause inflammatory reactions due to skin irritation – this inflammatory reaction causes hyperpigmentation as it activates the melanocytic cells.
Also Read : How To Remove Sun Tan From Face?
Best Treatment For Pigmentation On Face
Pigmentation on your face or body can be annoying, but the good news is that there are various treatments available in the market that includes chemical peels, laser treatment, and topical creams that you can use to remove pigmentation from face permanently.
Before considering any form of treatment, it is important to understand the gravity of the pigmentation. Hence, it is recommended to connect to a dermatologist for a deep investigation before initiation of any treatment process.
Chemical Skin Peeling Treatment
Chemical peels are also an appropriate option for pigmentation issues. The following are the options for restoring damaged and darkened skin, and promoting the development of new and healthy skin.
- Salicylic acid peels
- Mandelic acid peels
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels
- Glycolic acid peels
Also Read: Benefits Of Chemical Peels
Laser Treatment For Face Pigmentation
Depending on the type of pigmentation, the laser that is used for your treatment can vary. The following are the pigmentary skin conditions that can be treated by a laser.
- Sun spots
- Age spots
A two-part non-invasive procedure that is extremely effective in treating melasma and other unrelenting types of pigmentation is Laser Toning (or Q-Switched Laser). It rejuvenates and repairs the skin with almost zero down time, and refines the texture and tone of the skin. It is a non-abrasive method of taking care of both superficial and deep-pigmented patches, and is gaining high popularity because of its proven efficiency. Laser Toning is used for signs of aging, and for improving skin color, texture, pore size, and laxity.
Also Read: How To Treat Pigmentation Concern?
- How Does It Work? – The laser penetrates into the layers of the skin while targeting the pigmented area and fragmenting it into smaller particles. This fragmentation process continues until the pigments are divided into particles of a negligible size such that the body naturally disposes them. The beams from the laser feel like tiny, warm dots on your skin, and although it is not painful, if the pain is unbearable then anesthesia is applied on the treated area. Also, as an attempt to reduce the discomfort, a stream of cold air is directed onto the treated area during the process.
- How Many Sessions Are Required? – To maximise the results, a course of 6-8 sessions is usually recommended by dermatologists.
- What Kind Of Results Can You Expect? – Laser Toning starts showing results from the first sitting itself. It will not only treat your pigmentation but also have a great influence on the general texture and tone of your skin. This laser has the ability to reduce pore size and wrinkles, giving your skin a youthful glow.
Watch the video to learn laser toning
Hyperpigmentation Creams And Lotions
There are many topical creams available over the counter that can help you in lightening the skin and reducing pigmentation. However, it is recommended to first understand the type and depth of pigmentation by consulting a dermatologist before investing into any kind of creams. Here is a list of the different topical creams available in the market –
- Hydroquinone – This is the most commonly used skin lightening treatment that effectively works on pigmentation and is approved by the FDA.
- Kojic acid – It is drawn from a fungus and has similar effects on the face and body as hydroquinone.
- Azelaic acid – It is often used to treat ace but is also found to be effective in case of hyperpigmentation.
- Mandelic acid – This acid is derived from almonds and is found to be very helpful in treating all kinds of hyperpigmentation.
Also Read: Azelaic Acid Topical Dosage
What’s The Cost Of Laser Pigmentation Treatment?
The cost of laser pigmentation treatment on face in India ranges between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 8000 per session. However the overall cost varies based on skin type, strength of pigmentation, area of the skin to be treated, experience of the dermatologist and underlying health condition.
Pigmentation/Hyperpigmentation is a harmless skin condition. While it may not be dangerous, we know it is not very appealing to our eye and our confidence can take a hit because of it. Even though there are various remedies to resolve this issue, a visit to the nearest dermatologist is always a good idea before trying any treatment out. This will help to properly understand the problem and solve it accordingly.