Battling uneven skin tone and dark patches is a common concern for many individuals. A clearer complexion is often desired for a fresh, rejuvenated appearance. In this article, we delve into various methods to address facial pigmentation, aiding you in reducing the appearance of these unwanted spots and working towards a more even skin tone. With the right approach and consistent care, significant improvement in skin pigmentation can be achieved.
What Causes Pigmentation?
Given Singapore’s tropical climate, it’s hard to escape the sun’s rays. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to an increase in melanin production, causing dark patches or spots on the skin. This is why it’s crucial to use sunscreen daily, even when it’s cloudy.
Ageing is a significant factor contributing to skin pigmentation. As individuals age, the skin’s ability to regulate melanin production may diminish, leading to uneven pigmentation. This often manifests as age spots or liver spots, particularly in sun-exposed areas. Moreover, the skin’s capacity to recover from sun damage lessens with age, further exacerbating pigmentation issues.
This form of pigmentation occurs after an injury or inflammation to the skin, such as acne or burns. As the skin heals, it may produce excess melanin, leading to darkened areas. It’s essential to treat the underlying condition to manage this type of pigmentation effectively.
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Some people are more prone to pigmentation due to their genetic makeup. If your parents or grandparents have had issues with pigmentation, there’s a higher likelihood that you might face the same concerns. In such cases, preventive measures like regular skin checks can be beneficial.
Hormonal fluctuations, often due to conditions like pregnancy or the use of contraceptive pills, can result in pigmentation. This type of pigmentation, commonly known as melasma, appears as brown or grey-brown patches, usually on the face.
How Is Pigmentation Different from Dark Spots and Acne Scars?
Pigmentation refers to the general discolouration of the skin, which can manifest as patches or spots that are darker than your natural skin tone. It’s a broad term that encompasses various types of skin discolouration, including freckles, age spots, and melasma.
Dark spots, by contrast, are isolated, small areas of discolouration. They often result from sun exposure or ageing and are usually uniform in colour. Unlike pigmentation, which can cover larger areas, dark spots are more localised.
Acne scars are a different beast altogether. They are textural changes in the skin that occur after acne has healed. Unlike pigmentation and dark spots, which primarily involve changes in skin colour, acne scars can be indented or raised. They may also have a different colour than your natural skin tone but are primarily distinguished by their texture.
What Are The Different Types Of Pigmentation?
Freckles are small, flat brown spots often seen on sun-exposed areas of the skin. They are a common and benign form of pigmentation, primarily caused by sun exposure. Individuals with fair skin and those who are genetically predisposed are more likely to develop freckles.
Melasma manifests as brown or blue-grey patches, often on the face, and is more prevalent in women, possibly linked to hormonal changes. The condition is typically exacerbated by sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, and certain medications. Melasma patches are usually symmetrical and commonly affect the cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and forearms.
Sun Spots / Solar Lentigines
Solar lentigines, also known as sun spots or liver spots, are flat, brown spots associated with ageing and sun exposure. They are primarily caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, and are most commonly found on areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and arms.
Hori’s Nevus appears as bluish-grey discolouration often symmetrically on both sides of the face. The exact cause of Hori’s Nevus is unknown, but it’s more common in women and individuals of Asian descent. Bluish-grey spots or patches often appear on the cheeks, upper lip, and bridge of the nose.
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PIH (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurs following an inflammatory event such as acne, burns, or other skin injuries. It’s triggered by an injury or inflammation to the skin, presenting as darkened patches or spots on the skin that are light brown to black in colour.
PIE (Post-Inflammatory Erythema)
Post-inflammatory Erythema (PIE) presents as red, pink, or purple patches left on the skin after acne breakouts. It is commonly associated with acne but can also occur post-injury or following procedures that cause inflammation. Unlike PIH, PIE manifests as red, pink, or purple patches rather than brown or black.
Nevus of Ota
Nevus of Ota is a pigmentation type affecting both skin and eyes, characterised by an increased number of melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin colour. It is usually congenital but can also develop later in life, presenting as a blue or greyish discolouration often around the eye and on the skin near the eye.
How to Remove Pigmentation From the Face
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Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, is a non-invasive treatment that uses light pulses to break down melanin, aiding in the removal of pigmentation. This method is particularly effective for treating larger areas and is usually done in a series of sessions for optimal results.
Microneedling is a treatment that involves using tiny needles to create controlled injuries on the skin, which stimulates collagen production and skin renewal. This method can be effective for treating pigmentation as it encourages the growth of new, healthier skin.
Chemical peels are an effective method for tackling pigmentation. They involve applying an acidic solution to the skin, which peels away the top layer, encouraging new, pigmentation-free skin to the surface. This treatment is often available at aesthetic clinics and should be administered by qualified professionals.
Gold Plated Micro Needle RF
Gold Plated Micro Needle RF (Radio Frequency) is a treatment that combines micro-needling with radiofrequency energy. The gold-plated needles penetrate the skin, delivering RF energy that stimulates collagen production. This treatment is used for improving skin texture, reducing scars, and supporting skin renewal, with known minimal downtime.
Laser treatments are another option for those looking to tackle pigmentation head-on. There are different kinds of lasers used to treat pigmentation, each with its unique approach.
1. Pico Laser
Pico Laser technology delivers ultra-short pulses of laser light to address pigmentation, scars, and other skin concerns. By targeting pigmentation at a deeper level, it helps in managing skin tone effectively.
2. Q-Switch Laser
The Q-Switch Laser emits high-energy pulses rapidly and is commonly used for removing pigmentation, tattoos, and treating different skin pigmentation conditions. By focusing on melanin pigments in the skin, it can manage conditions like melasma and age spots without affecting the surrounding areas.
3. CO2 Laser
The CO2 Laser, named for its use of carbon dioxide, is a popular skin resurfacing method in Singapore. It targets fine lines, acne scars, and helps boost collagen production, addressing common concerns associated with ageing skin. This laser treatment is well-regarded for its ability to reduce acne scars and shrink enlarged pores, which in turn improves the skin’s texture and tone. Moreover, the CO2 Laser is effective in tackling skin discolouration and helping restore skin elasticity.
How Much Does Pigmentation Treatment Cost?
In Singapore, the cost of pigmentation treatments varies significantly, generally ranging from $150 to $2000 per session. Several factors influence this cost:
- Size and location of pigmentation: Larger or more prominently located pigmented areas may require more extensive treatment, impacting the cost.
- Number of sessions needed: Persistent or severe pigmentation might necessitate multiple sessions, increasing the total cost.
- Choice of clinic: Prices can differ based on the clinic’s reputation, location, and the expertise of the dermatologist.
- Type of treatment: Advanced or more effective treatments may carry higher costs due to the precision and results it delivers.
It’s advisable to consult with a qualified dermatologist to understand the best treatment option for your specific pigmentation issues and receive an accurate cost estimate.
Will Pigmentations Reoccur After You Stop Getting Treatments?
The possibility of pigmentation recurring after treatment is a valid concern. While treatments can be highly effective, they may not offer a permanent solution. Factors like sun exposure and hormonal changes can trigger pigmentation again.
To minimise the risk of recurrence, it’s essential to follow post-treatment care guidelines and maintain a proper skincare routine. This often includes using sunscreen daily and avoiding direct sun exposure during peak hours.
Achieving a clear complexion free from pigmentation is a multi-step process that requires a tailored approach. From laser treatments to microneedling, there are various options available to treat pigmentation effectively. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider such as Glowwis Aesthetic & Medical Clinic for a personalised treatment plan.
In summary, while treatments can offer significant improvements, maintaining those results involves ongoing care. Understanding the root cause of your pigmentation and taking preventive measures can go a long way in ensuring your skin remains clear and healthy.