Hyperpigmentation, due to excessive production of melanin by the skin, is not dangerous but can be embarrassing from an aesthetic point of view. Lightening products are numerous, but the primary prevention remains optimal sun protection.
Patients from all around the world are now looking for some of the best beauty centres and aesthetic clinics, and for some of the best doctors and practitioners such as One Face Clinic and Dr David Ng C H, to discuss pigmentation treatments in Singapore.
There are several types of skin pigmentation issues, but the major problems are related to hyperpigmentation.
What is hyperpigmentation?
The pigmentation of the skin is the consequence of the production of melanin. This phenomenon is called melanogenesis. Various factors control it:
- The genetic factor: skin colour depends on a set of genes that determine the type and level of melanin being synthesized
- The hormonal factor: certain hormones are capable of stimulating melanogenesis (MSH, ACTH, oestrogens and progesterone)
- UV rays: UVA and UVB solar radiation can act directly on melanocytes or indirectly by stimulating the production by keratinocytes of mediating agents
- The other factors: any aggression of the skin: irritations, frictions, use of unsuitable cosmetics and any process at the origin of an inflammatory reaction.
Hyperpigmentation manifests itself when melanin is produced in excess in some regions of the skin. There are then more or less large dark spots on the skin. This overproduction stems from several factors: excessive exposure to the sun, age, hormonal variations, genetic predispositions or even skin trauma. Depending on the trigger, hyperpigmentation takes different forms. Scars, moles, birthmarks or consequences of skin cancer, although causing dark spots, are not considered a form of hyperpigmentation.
Spots and abnormalities of pigmentation
A pigmented spot is an area of abnormal pigmentation. Under certain circumstances, the melanocytes produce excess melanin. It happens in a localized manner: these clumps of melanin are spots of hyperpigmentation.
Hypopigmentation: a lighter colour
In other cases, the pigmentation is lighter, due to insufficient melanin. It is hypopigmentation, which can be localized, as in vitiligo, or global. It can be of genetic origins, like albinism.
Hypopigmentation sometimes follows an inflammation linked to an acne pimple, a scar or burn, etc. Other causes: chemical agents, such as certain drugs, or physical agents (ultraviolet, X-rays, cold, etc.).
Different causes explain this excessive pigmentation:
- A hormonal change, during menopause or under hormone treatment.
- During pregnancy, this is the pregnancy mask, called melasma (most often, these spots disappear after pregnancy or treatment).
- Ageing: “age spots” are medically called senile lentigos. They appear on the face, neckline, and hands.
- The sun. It dramatically favours lentigos.
- A genetic predisposition.
- Specific so-called “photosensitizers”, skin irritants, etc.
- An inflammation linked to an acne pimple, a scar, a burn can leave pigmentation spots.
The different types of hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is characterized by the appearance of more or less dark spots, localized or generalized on the whole body. The cause of these symptoms depends on the shape and colour of the spots.
We recognize several types of hyperpigmentation:
- Lentigos are generally small and dark spots, round or oval. Lentigos can be linked to age (senile lentigos or age spots) or excessive sun exposure (solar lentigos). It is why they mainly appear on frequently exposed parts of the body, such as the face, hands and arms.
- Melasma or chloasma, called “pregnancy mask”, it affects 90% of pregnant women. It results from hormonal phenomena such as pregnancy and the effects of the contraceptive pill and results in the appearance on the face or arms of dark and irregularly shaped areas which can be relatively large.
- Post-inflammatory pigmentation is hyperpigmented residual spots that persist after healing of various dermatoses (acne, infectious or inflammatory dermatoses). They are particularly frequent in subjects sensitive to acne, dark phototype or after sun exposure.
- Phototoxic reactions: hyperpigmentation can be caused by phototoxic reactions to perfumes or certain medications.
Other factors can also intervene in hyperpigmentation. We know that diseases favouring the hypersecretion of the hormone can stimulate the formation of melanin (adrenal insufficiency, certain pulmonary and pancreatic cancers). Hemochromatosis, poisoning with arsenic, lead, gold salts, mercury can also promote hyperpigmentation.
The pigmentation treatments in Singapore
Hyperpigmentation is harmless. However, some people opt to go for pigmentation treatment in order to make them disappear for aesthetic reasons.
There are currently a variety of options for treating pigmentation disorders:
These are specially designed for this purpose, as creams can contribute to the lightening or disappearance of hyperpigmented parts.
It promotes the elimination of pigmented cells and also improves the penetration of depigmenting active ingredients.
But the best and most efficient pigmentation treatment in Singapore is often based on two main techniques .applied by the best skin doctors in excellent aesthetic clinics in Singapore:
Superficial chemical peels
Based on hydroxy alpha acids, they are now conventional treatments and are generally well tolerated. Chemical peels work by promoting the exfoliation and dispersion of the basal layer of melanin.
Excessive irritation can lead to additional hyperpigmentation, so it is essential to choose the ingredients of your treatment carefully, taking into account the skin type and allergies and/or sensitivities.
Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen or laser
It is also the perfect way to treat lentigos in Singapore. The healing process is unique to each person; it can vary greatly depending on skin colour, the severity of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and treatments.
For some people, especially those with darker skin, a minimum of 3-6 months of treatment is necessary before significant improvements are seen.