Skin color is determined by melanin, a pigment made by specialized cells in the skin (melanocytes). Melanin gives color to the skin, hair, and iris of the eyes. Levels of melanin depend on race, genes and amount of sunlight exposure.
Sun exposure increases melanin production to protect the skin against harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. Ongoing or repeated exposure to sun results in UV damage, many times not visible until we get older, when it result in “liver” or “age” spots on our hands, cleavage, face etc. Not to mention the wrinkles, leathery skin…
Some medication – including tetracycline antibiotics, certain cancer drugs etc., can also cause hyperpigmentation.
In addition, hormonal changes can affect melanin production. Melasma refers to hormone-induced excess pigmentation. It can be caused by hormonal fluctuations, so it’s quite common when taking birth control hormones, during pregnancy or after the menopause.
Post-Inflammatory Pigmentation (PIH) can arise if your skin is chronically inflamed, like in acne, eczema, and dermatitis. Physical injury to the skin, like scratches, burns, pimples that have been squeezed, repeated friction, can also leave dark marks.
The fight against pigmentation has powerful weapons in our office, used as stand-alone or in combinations, and Dr. O’Brien will choose the ones that are the most appropriate for you at your consultation:
- LimeLight intense-pulse-light, that we like to call intelligent-pulse-light, is a very efficient, classical approach to sunspots removal.
- Chemical Peels are also of great value in improving pigmentation, especially acne or post inflammatory induced.
- Photo peel / PDT in combination with Sapphire abrasion and Laser Genesis are wonderful at rejuvenating mature, pigmented skin as well as acne pigmented and scared one.
- Vampire Facial gives a complete rejuvenated effect that includes improvement of pigmentation and scarring.