A patchy complexion has a variety of causes and treatment options, whether resulting from the lingering effects of acne inflammation, pregnancy, hormonal changes or years of sun exposure. Pigmentation (discoloration) is a frustrating skin flaw that only worsens when left untreated.
The most common skin discoloration occurs when higher than normal amounts of melanin are produced – hyperpigmentation – leading to dark pigmentation on the skin. It’s most often caused by exposure to the sun, hormones, damaged skin as a result of inflammatory acne, cuts or burns. They appear randomly on the skin and vary in size, depth and colour. There are two main types of pigmentation:
Pigmentation affects all skin types, but it’s more common in darker skin tones as they contain more melanin and melanocytes. Each person, no matter what their skin colour, has the same number of melanocytes (pigment producing cells) – skin colour is due to their activity not their quantity.
On darker skin, it appears as dark black or brown spots and the patches vary in size. In lighter skin, it looks like red, pink and light brown spots, and patches. It also appears as freckles, sunspots or as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation long after acne scars have healed. The large dark patches, also referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”, are triggered by excess melanocytes tied to elevated levels of oestrogen and progesterone, which can affect both surface level and deep dermal layers of the skin.
Using sunscreen daily helps prevent melasma, sunscreen use also helps prevent skin cancer and wrinkles. Another important factor is to keep your skin thoroughly moisturised as dry skin is more prone to developing pigmentation.
There are several prescribed medications, in-clinic chemical skin peels and other procedures such as microdermabrasion and various light and ablative laser treatments available at Lesprit Medical Clinic to treat all types of discoloration. At-home products and easy-to-incorporate preventive tips are also offered during the course of your treatment.