What You Should Know About Treating Pigmentation

Summer is at the end, and I'm seeing more and more clients with pigmentation and sun damage. Some people become self-conscious about the pigmentation. The good news is although pigmentation can be a stubborn problem to treat, it is TREATABLE. Sun damage and pigmentation, when managed correctly, can be improved, and even some of the damage can be reversed. It's all about using the right products and the correct treatment techniques to get a good result. 

What causes pigmentation?

Before we address the pigmentation problems, we need to understand how it's caused. Pigmentation is the result of too much or irregular production of melanin, a brown pigment in the skin. Most of the time, pigmentation is triggered by UV light exposure. Hormones, stress, and certain medications can also make the skin ultra-sensitive to the sun and trigger pigmentation. 

Can pigmentation be removed?

There are different types of pigmentation irregularities on the skin. Melasma, freckles, age spots are just some examples. In most cases, we can fade pigmentation to a degree; in some cases, remove it almost completely. It all depends on your skin type and the degree of pigmentation. There are many successful ways to fade and remove pigmentation. However, once your skin has developed pigmentation, it will always have to be managed well to prevent the pigmentation from coming back. 

How long does it take for pigmentation to fade? 

Pigmentation takes time to clear; you need to be patient. The effects of UV damage are significant, and we need to allow the skin time to recover and repair as we treat the surface pigmentation. More aggressive treatments that trigger inflammation put you at risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is even more challenging to treat. Evidence shows that just by using an excellent broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, and protecting your skin whenever outdoors will allow the skin time to heal. You have seen this before; if you've ever had a tan and the tan fades over winter. However, if you have patches or stains on the skin, this will require specific skincare, professional treatments, and time, to disappear completely. 

How can we remove pigmentation on the face? 

Pigmentation is a complex condition that needs both daily care and professional treatments to get excellent results. Once the cause has been addressed, we can begin to remove the existing pigmentation. 

Several critical areas need to be addressed: First, proper sun protection to prevent further damage is vital for successful results. Regular exfoliation and peeling treatments will help to remove pigmented cells to give an instant brightening result. Next, we need to use specific ingredients daily to target and help fade existing pigmentation. Ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide, and liquorice are excellent to help fade pigmentation safely. Skincare with antioxidants will help neutralize free radicals which are responsible for inflammation and pigmentation in the skin. Using skincare with a good selection of antioxidants will help prevent more problems in the future.  

Professional treatments that target pigmentation include AHA peels, enzyme treatments, and LED phototherapy. Regular treatments will help to fade the pigmentation and reinforce the results of the home care routine.

Liliana Burtch