The Skin Brightening Brigade- Treating Pigment Of The Skin
Lets talk about pigmentation and the different types.
In my consultations one of the most concerning for my patients is the dull looking brown patches or discolouration of the skin. Often called Hyperpigmentation, melsama, solar lentigines, age spots and the mask of pregnancy(Melasma), PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentaiton).
So what exactly is pigmentation and what causes it?
This is the colour of your skin and can also be a state of your health. There are many factors that will cause your skin to become darker (hyper pigmentation), which most often is the increase in melanin, the substance which regulates pigment. Mostly however, hyper pigmentation is caused by little or lots of exposure of (UV) rays of the sun. Dark spots can also appear due to melasma and also appear after trauma to the skin from acne or various other skin traumas. However we see that most is caused by sun exposure.
The sun’s rays actually speed up how active your skin cells, or melanocytes, are. Melanocytes produce melanin( this is the pigment that gives your skin its colour), so more sun exposure to the radiation means more pigmentation in your skin will appear. Darker skin tends to have more pigment and this is why it is important when having in clinic treatments carried out and the practitioner knows your skin classification.
Often as a child we see freckles as cute but they are indeed sun damage. They are the most common type of pigmentation and often the very first signs of sun damage. They develop when your skin has had too much sun exposure. The little dots are different from melasma and they tend to appear in people with fair complexions. In summer months they appear darker and fade in the winter months.
We see that melasma is more common in women than men and appears on the face as dark patches with a distinctive border. Melasma tends to be triggered mostly by hormones in woman but also excessive sun exposure. It has also been known to be triggered by certain medications, stress and pregnancy(the ‘mask’ of pregnancy. In my skin consultations I determine what is melasma by the stretch test as well as a woods lamp.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
This is often the result of acne where the blemishes have been. PIH can also develop after burns to the skin, friction or aggressive treatments such as chemical peels, laser and IPL, insect stings, cuts etc. These marks can take months to fade and some never fade much at all. We have also seen that PIH tends to appear more common in darker skin types. The first course of action is to avoid direct sunlight during the healing process and we always advise our clients to wear high SPF 50 daily.
Why I Choose ZO Skin Health for Pigmentation
The popularity of skin rejuvenation treatments has drastically increased in the last decade and with all the clinics and salons out there clients often become overloaded and overwhelmed with information which will leave them unsure where to start or what treatment to choose for the most effective result.
Genuine skin rejuvenation cannot work with just one single treatment or product and should be a combination of both to achieve maximum skin health.
At Renu we use treatment plans using the ZO Skin Health Restoration Programme that have both short and long-term goals. We also formulate a topical skin protocol that is suitable for your needs. Our main objective is to return the skin to its original state.
How do we achieve this?
This is achieved by doing our skin health restoration programme through the use of topical agents which will restore general skin health as well as for the treatment of existing skin conditions (i.e. acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation) when they are present. Once the skin has been restored, we will design a bespoke protocol and treatment plan to ensure the maintenance of skin health.
All of our practitioners have been trained in ZO to intermediate level and with myself having achieved my Diploma in Beverley Hills from Dr Obagi himself. Dr Obagi is world-renowned for his work in dermatology spanning over 30 years. Pioneering the concept of “Skin Health Restoration”, he changed the paradigms of skin care, addressing skin concerns at a cellular rather than superficial level, putting him at the forefront of anti-ageing and here at Renu we follow his concept with the best results we have ever seen.
Skin is my passion, my baby and I study it mostly every day of my career and watch and learn from the man dubbed ‘The King Of Skin’ Dr Zein Obagi. So its no secret that I will recommend the only skincare range I feel can treat this condition. I myself have suffered pigmentation and severe acne as a teenager. I developed melasma throughout both my pregnancies and commenced on what was back then Nu Derm Dr Obagi’s old line. Fast forward to his updated protocols and programmes and highly effective skincare line ZO Skin health and ZO Medical.
How Do I Treat Hyperpigmentation- Hydroquinone-Still the gold standard
In my clinic, I have found 4% concentration of hydroquinone, combined with 0.1% retinoic acid mixed together used for a maximum of 18 weeks gives the most effective results. I will titrate my patients from HQ around week 14 and gradually introduce a non HQ based treatment. I will then have my patients continue on retinoid acid for 2 months alone without the HQ. We can then have a break of 3-4 months and repeat if necessary.
I may also prescribe a non-hydroquinone brightening agents such as brightenex 1% instead of hydroquinone as a maintenance system and to also avoid atrophy and other local or systemic side effects. Brightenex Skin Brightener and Correcting Crème is the protocol’s anchor, formulated with retinol, vitamin C, melanin inhibitors and antioxidant vitamins E and C to target the three stages of discolouration.
We fully assess our patients prior to every programme and have multiple approaches for each condition and choose what best suits you. Our non-hydroquinone protocol wont bleach, but will stabilise cells in order to stop the melanocytes from being active all the time.
Kristeen Geddes RGN NIP BA BSc(derm)
Skin Consultation £25
Prices start from £700 for the full HQ programme.
Controlled Depth Peel including the necessary pre HQ programme £1500
To book your way to beautiful clear skin contact us today on 01382 223249