Understanding Skin Pigmentation Problems
People of any skin type or tone can suffer from a number of skin pigmentation issues that cause discolouration, dark spots on face, irregular pigmentation, and extreme freckling. While some of these issues are genetic, others can be caused by environmental factors or when the body produces too much melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its colour. Skin pigmentation issues can be medically treated through a number of different procedures that may either fade or erase dark or light areas. Many of these procedures can be done on an outpatient basis and allow those who undergo them to avoid a lengthy hospital stay. Any individual who has skin pigmentation issues should make an effort to understand the root cause of the problem, in order to select the best treatment option, and clearly understand any long-term side effects associated with these treatments.
The Causes of Skin Pigmentation Problems
DNA and the genes that people inherit from their parents determine the colour of their skin and how much melanin it contains. However, skin pigmentation can change due to controllable factors such as UV exposure from the sun and from tanning booths, or the use of long-term use of harsh skin cleansers or brighteners.
Problems from underlying skin conditions like melasma and vitiligo, can also lead to pigmentation problems. In such cases, the skin pigmentation issue is almost always caused by production of either too much or too little melanin. Melasma often occurs in expectant mothers when hormone surges cause an increase in skin pigmentation, but it can happen to almost anyone. Vitiligo, which causes a depigmentation of the skin, usually occurs in people with darker skin and is more common in women who are pregnant and young people because of shifts in hormone levels.
These skin pigmentation problems are not the only cause of uneven skin tone. Age spots or other dark spots which are caused by exposure to the sun, can also disrupt proper pigmentation. Harsh chemical peels that contain glycolic acids and other chemicals that remove layers of dead skin can also cause dark or light blotches to appear over time, especially if they are used often. However, not all skin pigmentation problems can be prevented, and when they occur, there are several medical treatments that may help.
Skin Pigmentation Treatments
Some skin pigmentation issues can be treated medically, on an outpatient basis, with a number of procedures. While age spots and dark spots on the face that are caused by sun exposure are usually responsive to laser treatment, melasma does not seem to fade with laser treatment and may only absorb the light and grow darker.
Patients who suffer from melasma may find that microdermabrasion and prescription facial peels will fade the dark blotches on their skin more effectively than lasers, and these procedures have a low instance of side effects as well. Those who are considering these skin pigmentation treatments should understand that they are often considered to be cosmetic treatments and may not be covered under insurance. While not everyone will experience the side effects that may occur, others who have sensitive or thin skin should be aware of that possibility.
Side Effects of Skin Pigmentation Treatment
While most skin pigmentation treatments are either harmless or mildly irritating, there are other side effects that may occur. The most common one that is reported with laser treatments is a stinging or snapping sensation against the skin during the procedure and then redness and irritation for approximately 24 hours afterwards. Microdermabrasion treatments may also cause irritation, redness, and in some cases, swelling, depending on the depth of the treatment. Any individual who is considering these skin pigmentation treatment options should discuss their medical history with their dermatologist in order to make an educated decision tailored to their specific skin type.