AGE SPOTS AND PIGMENTATION
Get even with blemishing spots
Hyperpigmentation can cause significant distress as the dark spots tend to appear on the face, hands and other highly visible sun-exposed body parts, and can be difficult to hide.
WHAT CAUSES PIGMENTATION?
There is special pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin that make melanin, a pigment that determines the colour of skin and protects skin cells from UV radiation. When skin’s melano-protective system becomes overwhelmed, over-activated or damaged, melanin production and deposition becomes disordered. Excess levels of melanin cause pigmentation spots or patches of darker skin, low levels cause lighter areas of skin.
There are many types and causes of hyperpigmentation. Here are some common culprits:
- Environmental Damage: Age spots (also known as sunspots or solar lentigines) are the commonest sign of skin aging caused by cumulative damage from UV exposure since childhood. But environmental damage (especially in an area of high UV levels like Singapore, or with frequent outdoor activities due to occupation requirements or lifestyle) can worsen all kinds of pigmentation.
- Hormonal Changes: Melasma, which presents as irregular patches of pigmentation on the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the chin, and above the upper lip, is commonly triggered by pregnancy, the Pill, or perimenopausal hormonal changes.
- Skin Trauma: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) commonly occur after pimples, dermatitis, physical injury (e.g. cuts), insect bites, or overly harsh products and procedures (e.g. overzealous self extraction).
- Genetics: As with many conditions, there is often a genetic predisposition for various spots and pigmentation. Freckles, for instance, are linked to genetics and tend to occur in fair-skinned beauties (especially those with red hair), but will become darker and more visible with UV exposure.
- Birthmarks and Other Acquired Pigmentation: Abnormal pigmentation can be present at birth (a.k.a birthmarks like Naevus of Ota), or appear later in childhood and adulthood (e.g. cafe au lait spots and Hori's naevus).
- Drugs and Medical Conditions: Although much less common, hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of systemic health issues such as liver diseases and haemochromatosis, or medications (e.g. certain chemotherapy or anti-seizure drugs).
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT SPOTS & PIGMENTATION?
Careful environmental protection, sun avoidance, and effective skincare products to reduce formation melanin form the basic triad for controlling hyperpigmentation.
In some instances (such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after pimple breakout), this may be sufficient to see the brown discolouration fade, especially when efforts are instituted early and the pigmentation spot is more superficial and less severe.
Unfortunately, for many cases of age spots or melasma, lightening skincare alone may not produce a satisfactory result. Professional treatments such as Pigment Laser, SmartXide Lite laser and Clear Reveal are designed to target stubborn age spots and pigmentation, and also to repair sun-damaged skin. However, post-treatment care such as proper sun protection and avoidance of excessive sun exposure while your skin is recovering is vital to avoid repigmentation. Also, finding a trained and reputable doctor to perform your laser procedure is very important to maximisesafety.
Below are three common treatment options to help you get even with blemishing spots.
BREAK UP WITH THE BLEMISHES: PIGMENT LASER
Pigment lasers have long been a trusted aide to get even with a variety of pigmentation spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and dark birthmarks, as well as for tattoo removal. Moving on from traditional Q-switched nanosecond pigment lasers, the Fotona StarWalker Pigment Laser has set a new standard in its class with its third-generation Adaptive Structure Pulse technology to deliver award-winning precision, efficacy and safety.
By generating ultra-short bursts of intense laser energy in trillionths of a second (pico-second pulse trains), this Pigment Laser enables a photoacoustic impact to shatter and break up large stubborn pigmentation targets more effectively into tiny, more easily eliminated particles at lower fluences, without excess heat injury to surrounding skin. Pigmentation can be treated on most parts of the body including the face, neck, décolletage, hands, arms, shoulders and legs. Additionally, the unprecedented high energy capacity and large spot size of this Pigment Laser allows for more homogeneous treatments of deeper lying pigment patches, as well as inducing collagen production for improvement of skin texture and youthful tone.
Collectively, these features translate into more comfortable lunchtime laser ‘photofacials’, enhanced safety profile, better clearance of pigmentation spots, along with the bonus of smoother, more radiant skin.
PRESS RESET: SMARTXIDE LITE
Arguably the most prominent concerns with skin aging is uneven pigmentation, skin laxity, wrinkles, enlarging pores, skin dullness and rough texture. SmartXide Lite is a fractional CO2 resurfacing laser to address a plethora of concerns and stubborn skin conditions like an age reset button.
By delivering a highly precise and concentrated airbrush of light energy to the skin, SmartXide triggers a controlled deep renewal of tiny ‘pixels’ of damaged or aged skin to make age spots, lines and even small scars fade away progressively. During the healing process, new skin emerges and new collagen is laid down, which appears tighter, clearer and smoother, hence leading to an overall healthier and refreshed appearance.
SmartXide Lite is also one of the rare treatments that is safe for eye rejuvenation. The process of deep renewal and regeneration rebuilds stronger, brighter, tighter upper and lower eyelid skin that is naturally more wrinkle-resilient, and a more lifted eye contour.
NEW RADIANCE, REVEALED: CLEAR REVEAL
Skin care fads come and go, but fruit acid peels have demonstrated true staying power over centuries. From Cleopatra’s famous sour milk bath to the modern-day Professional Peels using various AHAs, BHA, TCA and blends, acid peels still remain as an invaluable tool in our beauty armamentarium to battle a whole host of common concerns including pigmentation, acne, wrinkles, open pores, skin laxity, dull complexion and scars.
If the mention of Professional Peels brings bad memories of Samantha’s frighteningly red face in Sexy and the City, think again. Clear Reveal uses the new-generation Innovative Peels to set off a new turnaround and a new-born glow – sans significant surface skin trauma and consequent redness, peeling and prolonged recovery time. Innovative “Inner Peel” technology reduces surface activity, but delivers deeper, more homogenous and hence highly effective exfoliation of pigment-containing dead cells and collagen remodelling at the dermal level more safely, without downtime. Just clearer, more radiant and silky smooth skin you can’t take your hands (and eyes) off.
Combining a selection of customized blends of inner peels with anti-inflammation, cell energizing LED Red photobiomodulation and a radiance-boosting, skin-healing mask, Clear Reveal is a wonderful option whether to wipe away acne breakouts and persistent pimple marks simultaneously; fade melasma or stubborn age spots gently whilst triggering collagen repair; or freshen up the overall complexion with a jolt of radiance in skins who could not tolerate laser treatment.