Because we care about your skin, we’ve provided an overview of how pigmentation treatments can help improve the look and health of your skin.
Treatment of Increased and Uneven Pigment
To understand the treatment of pigment disorders, one has to understand a little about how our skin pigment is formed. The coloration of our skin depends on the amount and distribution of melanin in our skin. Melanin is manufactured by cells called melanocytes. Tyrosinase is an important enzyme involved in the manufacture of melanin within melanocytes. The rate of melanin production is altered or increased by many factors, including influences from neighboring skin cells. UV radiation from sun exposure can increase the activity of tyrosinase and the production of melanin 100 fold. Hormones, such as those in the oral contraceptive pill, or those that occur in pregnancy, can increase pigment production in a spotty and uneven fashion. Melanocytes are present at varying layers or depths of the epidermis and dermis, and some of the difficulty in eliminating pigment relates to how deeply the melanin is placed within the skin’s layers.
Chemical peels are excellent at reducing more stubborn, or somewhat more deeply placed pigment. One or more chemical solutions – an alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid; trichloroacetic acid (TCA), or carbolic acid (phenol) – have been used traditionally in peels. Newer peels, containing untraditional acids like mandelic acid which is safe for darker skin, and peels that contain combinations of acids, may be more effective.
An even more intensive peel, with more pigment-reducing capacity, is the Dermaceutic Spot Peel. Peels function to exfoliate and eliminate more superficial pigmented skin, revealing fresher, less pigmented skin beneath. The new spot peel by Dermaceutic offers the benefits of an in-office chemical peel as well as an 8-hour mask and an aftercare program of products. These products contain powerful yet gentle compounds that further turn off tyrosinase activity and function to continue the pigment fading process over many weeks.
A Dermaceutic depigmentation peel is a simple procedure with no downtime, so it is ideal for the busy person. One can expect only 2 days of pinkness of the skin, which can be readily covered by makeup if you wish. It has a deeper action in the skin than gentle peels and is advised for people with a greater degree of pigmentation. Spot peels are recommended to treat pigmentation spots, such as so-called “sun spots” and “liver spots,” or excessive freckling as well as pregnancy dark spots or melasma. It is also highly advised in cases of actinic keratoses and post-inflammatory pigmentation ( the pigment that formed in reaction to skin injury such as in acne scars). Darker skin tones can be safely treated.
The in-office peel requires about 30 minutes and is made up of several steps. Your skin is first cleaned with a special pre-peel cleanser. Then, the product is applied all over the face several times and especially on the most pigmented areas. You will return home still wearing a clear “mask” applied for your peel. It is not visible to others, and you will remove it 8 hours later. The peel is recommended for improving blemishes, with dark spots fading and some disappearing completely. Spot Cream should be applied at night for 1 month in order to maintain and enhance the results.
Because it is a medium depth peel, you will have to use a repairing cream and a UV protection after the peel. The remainder of care will be reviewed by our aesthetician prior to your peel, and the spot peel can be repeated periodically for further improvement or maintenance.
Various kinds of laser treatments are options for patients with very stubborn and deep pigmentation, who do not obtain desired results with topical agents and peels. However, lasers are sometimes associated with rebound hyperpigmentation. This means that as the skin heals, the body can sometimes produce excess pigment, which is exactly the opposite of the desired result. For this reason, laser resurfacing is not typically an option for darkly pigmented individuals. We recommend trying a medium depth peel like the spot peel first, and discussing laser resurfacing with Dr. Weinberg if you fail to get an optimal result.
If you are interested in treatment for excess or uneven pigment, call (905) 273-3045!