The Causes and Treatments of Pigmentation Problems

Skin pigmentation problems such as age spots or blotchiness have many different causes and they occur in all skin types and skin tones. At Dr. Lipton’s, our Medical Spa provides various treatments that improve pigmentation issues, everything from chemical peels to Intense Pulsed Light to Pixel laser resurfacing.

For this first blog of February, let’s get into pigmentation issues that vary depending on skin tone, along with treatments that can help.

Sun damage is behind most pigmentation problems in light-skinned people

For patients with lighter skin tones, the main cause of pigmentation issues is the sun. Years of exposure to the sun’s UV rays can result in spotted hyperpigmentation, a condition marked by an increase in pigment production that results in patchy skin color or a blotchy complexion. The extent of the issues, obviously, is influenced by the amount of long-term exposure and also its intensity.

These are the typical treatments for patients with lighter skin tones:

  • Dark spots from early sun damage in these cases tend to be more superficial. These spots can be treated with products containing hydroquinone.
  • Superficial peels, typically glycolic acid, can be used when topical options don’t have much effect.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be used to make these dark spots peel off.

Dark-skinned patients are prone to more difficult pigmentation issues

In patients with darker skin tones, the two most common pigmentation problems are melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma is a patchy brown discoloration that shows itself on exposed areas of the face. It often occurs during pregnancy and is known as “the mask of pregnancy.” Because melasma often affects the dermis (the skin layer beneath the epidermis), it can be more difficult to treat.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when there is an injury or inflammation that causes the skin to increase pigment production. The most common cause is acne, but the condition can also arise from psoriasis, a burn, or injury.

Beyond topical treatments, these are the other options for patients with darker skin tones:

  • Microdermabrasion and medium-strength chemical peels (peels using salicylic acid, lactic acid, and other ingredients)
  • Non-ablative fractional laser treatments, such as our Pixel laser skin resurfacing, which are more aggressive than the IPL treatments used for lighter-skinned patients

At Dr. Lipton’s we offer many different options beyond surgical procedures. Check out all we have to offer by hitting this link. And then give us a call to schedule your appointment at (972) 420-0023.

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