As we head in to summer, those of us with very fair skin know that we need to wrap up and slather on the sun screen due to sun damage – freckles and the like take a beating in our harsh South African climate. But did you know, no matter your skin tone you should always keep an eye on pigmentation and markings – and have them checked out regularly?
We recently caught up with Dr. Maureen Allem, founder and medical director at the Skin Renewal Institute, who explained to us all about the different types of pigmentation, and what to keep an eye out for this summer especially.
Pigmentation comes in many different varieties and understanding the different types makes management thereof that much easier.
The different types of pigmentation are
•Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
•Pigmentation due to sun damage
•Hormonal pigmentation (Melasma)
Let’s find out a bit more about each one, shall we Hello Joburgers?
Post inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
This type of pigmentation occurs due to injury or inflammation. For example, if you suffered from acne in the past you’re often left with brown spots where there used to be acne lesions. This is due to squeezing, picking and the inflammatory nature of the acne lesions.
Luckily this type of pigmentation can be treated fairly easily through chemical peels, Limelight, Laser Genesis, Microdermabrasion and Transdermal Mesotherapy.
Pigmentation due to sun damage and sun spots
Repeated sun exposure causes this type of pigmentation – the older we get, the more the sun damage from our youth rises to the surface. One bad case of sunburn can, however, also contribute to the condition.
This type of pigmentation can be treated with Fraxel DUAL, Pearl Fusion, chemical peels, Limelight, Laser Genesis, carboxytherapy, microdermabrasion and Transdermal Mesotherapy.
Hormonal Pigmentation (Melasma)
Melasma is one of the most difficult types of pigmentation to treat as it has multiple internal and external triggers, including hormones, leaky gut syndrome, uncontrolled inflammation in the body, etc. Unfortunately, it’s like a disease that you will have to manage and maintain for the rest of your life as the chances of re-occurrence is high if not managed correctly.
This is more challenging to treat and may require intervention by a Health Renewal doctor who can order blood tests to investigate hormonal profiles, gut health, and possible deficiencies. Generally, hormonal pigmentation requires gut restoration, hormone balancing and a reduction in inflammation, before in-clinic treatments will work.
Topical treatments are used to suppress pigmentation while targeted treatments such as Cosmelan and Dermamelan and non-inflammatory treatments like Mesotherapy slowly and systematically target the pigmented areas.
Hypopigmentation is when an area/s of the skin starts to lose pigment, and you’re left with white patches or spots. Again, it’s very difficult to treat as it can have multiple causes, including injury, severe sun damage, scarring and certain diseases. In some cases, especially when related to diseases that completely destroy the pigment producing cells (melanocytes), hypopigmentation is completely irreversible.
It is essential to first consult a Skin Renewal Doctor to ascertain the cause and whether there is any chance of restoring the natural pigmentation process by the melanocytes (pigment producing cells). If not, your only option is to replace the pigment artificially, using permanent makeup.
As pigmentation is not just a straightforward condition, it is advised to visit an aesthetic doctor for an individual assessment to ensure that the correct treatments are prescribed.
For more information on pigmentation, melasma and the treatment thereof, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!