Top 4 treatments for pigmentation and melasma
Pigmentation issues present as patches of a lighter or darker colour than the surrounding skin. They differ in size and shape, from tiny dots and blemishes to broader marks and stains. In most cases, pigmentation is only an aesthetic issue. However, it may indicate the presence of melasma, an underlying medical condition or a skin malignancy.
For that reason, it is best to see a doctor and check all new pigmentary changes on your skin. Modern science offers a variety of safe and simple treatments which can improve both the physical appearance and the health of your skin!
Common causes of skin pigmentation
The main types of pigmentation are melasma, sunspots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma is often due to hormonal changes and may be triggered by pregnancy. Sunspots (or liver spots) develop due to excessive sun exposure over the years. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs as a result of injury or inflammation to the skin, such as acne.
Excess production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour, is the cause of most pigmentary changes. When melanin production increases locally, that part of the skin usually becomes darker. The skin appears to have dark patches or spots that can be visible anywhere on the body.
Different factors may cause melanin production surge. The common ones are:
- Ethnic origin
- Number of melanocytes (melanin-producing cells)
- Level of sun exposure
- Acne proneness
- Skin trauma
- Allergic reactions
- Underlying conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or lichen planus
Restore your skin’s even tone and remove hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Skin discolouration is often very noticeable and can diminish your confidence. Address this issue to restore an even skin tone free from blemishes!
Available treatments for pigmentation
While there are some over-the-counter face creams, retinoids, and face acids that you can try at home, the best way to treat pigmentary changes is to see a skin doctor first.
That's how you can be sure of the benign nature of the particular changes you're seeing. It will also grant you access to more potent prescription creams, retinoids, or hydroquinone.
All professional treatments are minimally invasive. The best ones include:
1. Cosmelan depigmentation therapy
One medical-grade peel option is Cosmelan depigmentation therapy - one of the only effective treatments for melasma - that uses high-strength formulations applied in-centre to draw unwanted pigment to the surface of your skin and shed it away, revealing a brighter and more even complexion. The treatment follows a multi-step approach including at-home skin preparations.
2. Chemical peels
Medi-aesthetic or chemical peels improve the skin's upper layers by inducing a healing effect as damaged layers of skin are replaced by healthy ones. We offer a range of peels for different skin concerns including pigmentation, helping to refine, resurface, restore or rejuvenate your skin.
Pigmentation peels result in peeling that can last for 10 to 14 days to treat sun-damage, pigmentation, freckles, fine lines, acne scarring, and age spots.
3. Laser skin resurfacing
Laser light removes layers of the skin to provoke a healing response. Laser skin resurfacing helps to even out skin tone, improve skin texture and remove unwanted pigmentation and freckles with fast, long-term results for clearer skin.
4. Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment is a gentle yet effective therapy to treat sun damage, rosacea, pigmentation, broken capillaries and more. IPL treatments safely trigger the production of collagen to leave skin with a radiant glow, as pulses of light energy specifically target and destroy melanin within the pigmentary formation. IPL helps to achieve a youthful complexion free from discolouration and blemishes, resulting in an even skin tone and healthy-looking skin.
Microdermabrasion is one of the most affordable and effective non-surgical treatments available in skin rejuvenation. The treatment rubs away the upper layers of dead skin cells, which are then gently removed by a suction device. The combination of abrasion and suction allows the skin’s healing process to commence and bring back newer skin cells which look and feel smoother - ideal for uneven skin tone!
The bottom line
In most cases, pigmentary changes are not a cause for worry. They are the skin's natural reaction to age-related and environmental damage. But, even if you only have aesthetic motifs, you should let a skin specialist inspect them and help you choose the best treatment.
If you would like to speak to a Doctor or Dermal Clinician about your skin concerns, please call us or book your appointment online.
Lin JY, Fisher DE. Melanocyte biology and skin pigmentation. Nature. 2007;445(7130):843-850. doi:10.1038/nature05660
Borelli C, Fischer S. Chemical Peelings zur Behandlung von Melasma, Pigmentstörungen und Hyperpigmentierungen : Indikationen, Effektivität und Risiken [Chemical peeling for treatment of Melasma, pigmentary disorders and hyperpigmentation : Indications, effectivity and risks]. Hautarzt. 2020;71(12):950-959. doi:10.1007/s00105-020-04712-1
Trivedi MK, Yang FC, Cho BK. A review of laser and light therapy in melasma. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2017;3(1):11-20. Published 2017 Mar 21. doi:10.1016/j.ijwd.2017.01.004