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    Hyperpigmentation | What is it and how to treat Hyperpigmentation


    What is hyperpigmentation, and what causes it?

    Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common skin conditions that occurs when an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to your skin, is produced in certain areas, which can result in darkened patches or dark spots (sometimes known as melasma) or spots (e.g. freckles). These are typically more visible in people with darker skin tones.

    While it is not a serious medical concern, Dr Sarwar says it is one of the main concerns he and his team treat daily as many people look to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation for cosmetic purposes.

    Dr Sarwar has seen hyperpigmentation in all its different forms and on all different parts of the body. He says it is important to remember that, “there are a variety of causes for hyperpigmentation, including sun exposure, hormonal changes, inflammation, and certain medications”.

    The most common type of hyperpigmentation he sees are called solar lentigines, or age spots, which are caused by exposure to the sun. Other types of hyperpigmentation include melasma, which is often triggered by hormonal changes and commonly affects pregnant women, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can occur after an injury or inflammation to the skin.

    Dr. Sarwar has successfully treated many patients and reminds us that, “although hyperpigmentation can be a frustrating skin condition, I offer several effective treatments at Skin Science Clinic, including advanced Broad Band Light (BBL) and laser treatment, chemical peels and topical creams.

    Broad Band Light Treatment:

    BBL is a popular treatment for pigmentation issues such as sun spots, age spots, and uneven skin tone due to its advanced ability to destroy pigment effectively. It uses high-intensity broadband light to target and treat hyperpigmentation in the skin.

    Dr Sarwar explains why this is such a popular medium when treating hyperpigmentation, “Skin has the ability to absorb light – during the treatment, the skin is exposed to pulses of light which enter the skin looking for a chromophore (or target), cut-off filters in the machine ensure that the BBL’s chromophore or target is melanin, these cells absorb the light energy, causing them to breakdown and be naturally eliminated by the body. Unlike other options, such as lasers or medium-strength peels, BBL does not require any downtime or recovery period and is non- invasive. This makes this treatment very popular as patients can quickly return to normal activities; clients could have this treatment completed in their lunch hour and return to work straight away! The only change on the skin might be some mild erythema and pigmentation may appear slightly darker before coming off the skin. Eventually, this leads to a significantly more even, radiant skin tone.”

    As hyperpigmentation is so difficult to reverse, Dr Sarwar recommends a series of sessions, with each session spaced a approximately four weeks apart. The number of sessions required will depend on the severity of the pigmentation and the desired results.

    Dr Sarwar emphasises that the key factor in the success of BBL treatment is down to the skill and experience of the provider. It is important to choose a reputable provider who has experience performing BBL treatments and can tailor the treatment to your individual needs.

    Laser Treatment:

    The MOXI Laser is a fractional, non-ablative diode laser treatment which resurfaces the skin. It is gentle but effective at treating pigmentation and can be used on all skin tones to encourage new cell growth, reduce unwanted pigmentation and improve skin texture. In addition, it can help reduce or prevent the signs of ageing.

    The micro-coagulation created by light, triggers the skin’s healing response, increasing collagen and elastin and breaking up light pigment. During the healing process, skin will produce microscopic epidermal necrotic debris (MENDS) on the skin. These resemble coffee granules which naturally fall off after seven days, revealing a fresh layer of skin.

    Generally, a good measure to see if this laser will benefit you is to see if the condition of your skin reflects your age, if it does then the MOXI laser will work well for you. If your skin is showing more advanced signs of ageing then you may require a stronger laser.

    At our clinic, we often treat a patient’s skin with both the BBL and Moxi laser as we feel this gives the most outstanding results.

    It is important to note that there will be some downtime to this treatment This is typically seven days for the face and three weeks for the body. Makeup can be worn after 24 hours.

    Dr. Sarwar is very passionate about the treatment and told us that he has had both BBL and Moxi laser treatment to treat hyperpigmentation on his face which appeared after he spent long hours in the sun on holiday abroad. He has shared his before and after pictures below:

    Topical creams

    Topical creams are one type of treatment that can be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation. These creams are applied directly to the affected areas of the skin and work by lightening dark spots and evening out the skin tone. There are a number of ingredients found in topical creams that can help reduce hyperpigmentation.

    Hydroquinone is a commonly used ingredient that works by inhibiting the production of melanin. Other ingredients that may be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation include kojic acid, vitamin C, and retinoids.

    It is also important to use sun protection when using these creams, as they can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and make it more prone to sun damage.

    Overall, topical creams can be a useful tool in reducing hyperpigmentation and improving the overall appearance of the skin.

    Chemical peels

    Chemical peel treatments have been around for some time now and are a popular choice for addressing hyperpigmentation.

    Typically, a chemical peel treatment will involve the application of a solution to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and peel off. As the top layers of skin peel off, they reveal the smoother, more evenly pigmented skin underneath. Chemical peels can be performed at various depths, ranging from superficial to deep, depending on the specific needs and goals of the patient.

    Dr. Sarwar says that chemical peel treatment can be safely performed on the face, neck, chest, and hands, and can be used on all skin types and tones, “at Skin Science Clinic we sometimes recommend the VI Peel Precision Plus, which has specific ingredients in it to tackle hyperpigmentation and melasma. The combination of retinoic acid, salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), kojic acid, phenol, vitamin C, hydroquinone, and hydrocortisone form a powerful, synergistic solution which is capable of penetrating the skin and renewing it.”

    This treatment has downtime with patients experiencing some redness, swelling, and peeling, but these side effects typically resolve within seven days. It is important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your provider to ensure the best possible results. Overall, chemical peel treatment is a safe and effective choice for addressing hyperpigmentation and improving the overall appearance of the skin.

    Ultimately, deciding which treatment is right for you will come down to a range of factors such as a person’s financial situation, willingness to go through the downtime and pain threshold. To help you come to the right decision for your needs, a detailed consultation will be carried out by one of our experienced Aestheticians with the added assurance that Dr. Sarwar prides himself on overseeing the majority of treatment plans before they take place.