Anyone who has had uneven, blotchy skin or a skin condition called melasma knows how challenging it is not only to treat these skin disorders, but to also prevent a recurrence. Understanding the causes of skin discoloration is a great first step to correcting it.
Skin inflammation: Acne or any skin trauma such as a scratch or burn often leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which can take weeks or even months to go away.
Melasma: Irregular patches of pigmentation are commonly caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy or family history.
Sun damage: The accumulation of exposure to sunlight is a major cause of hyperpigmentation.
Although the causes of skin discoloration might be different, the treatment options are similar. What is the best way to treat this frustrating and stubborn skin condition? Achieving improvement and restoring a more even skin tone requires not a single solution, but a combination of therapies that target the entire process of pigment production. Alone, each of these components has an assigned role in reducing or interrupting the production of excess pigment, but when combined, their synergistic action produces the best results.
To control pigmentation, your skincare regimen should include the following:
Topical skin lightening agents such as hydroquinone are considered the gold standard for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. (Example: SkinMedica EpiQuin® Micro)
Exfoliating agents such as Vitamin A increase cellular turnover, expedite the exfoliation process and reveal a more even and uniform complexion. (Example: SkinMedica® Retinol Complex)
Chemical peeling is a procedure that accelerates skin turnover and speeds pigment reduction, resulting in healthier skin and a more uniform complexion. There are several mechanisms through which chemical peeling creates these changes in the skin:
- Chemical peels help remove the superficial layers of damaged skin and eliminate discolored skin cells. This also enhances penetration of bleaching agents.
- By inducing production of new collagen and stimulating new healthy skin cell growth, peels help reveal a more youthful, radiant complexion.
When chemical peels are combined with a skin lightening regimen, the effectiveness of the treatment is significantly improved.1
Skin lightening is not a fast process; it requires patience and compliance. Always remember that sun protection is critical while treating skin discoloration since it only takes a short time for sunlight to darken the areas you are working so hard to improve.
1. A Case Study Report on Combination Therapy for Melasma and Post-Inflammatory Hyper pigmentation: Serial Very Superficial Chemical Peels and Microentrapped 4% Hydroquinone and Retinol with Antioxidants. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, Kim Nichols, MD, Saonjie Hamilton, BS, and Jocelyn Papacharalambous, MD