Hyperpigmentation (also known as sun spots, freckles, age spots and dark marks) is estimated to affect 30 million people worldwide and in many cases can cause significant distress. The good news is that with the latest technological advances in treatments and products, treating hyperpigmentation and keeping it at bay has become much easier.
In part 1 of our perfect pigment blog, Dr. Wade Merchant, consulting Medical Aesthetic Doctor at Legs eleven Beauty Aesthetic Specialists, shared his insight into the causes and types of hyperpigmentation and key steps to correct it. We will now discuss the different treatment approaches available to manage Hyperpigmentation, with a specific focus on newer, novel technology: Brightening Dermapen and Redermalization.
Three Rules to Fight Pigmentation
To recap, there are 3 rules to live by, if you are battling with hyperpigmentation:
PROTECTIONwith daily SPF and Antioxidants
PREVENTION / PIGMENT SUPPRESSIONUsing Pigment inhibiting products at home to suppress the future production of pigment (melanin). Read about Dr. Wade’s product recommendations in Part 1 of our blog.
PIGMENT REMOVAL TREATMENTSRemoval of existing Hyperpigmentation with appropriate in-office depigmentation treatments.
Depigmentation Treatment Options
There are many in-office treatment options available – the choice of treatment depends mainly on the type and extent of hyperpigmentation, how deep the pigment is in the skin and the client’s skin tone. The first step is to book your professional skin consultation with a qualified therapist at Legs eleven to receive a tailor-made treatment plan. This is essential to avoid making inappropriate treatment choices that may actually worsen your pigmentation or lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
“Combination treatments work the best - and this must go hand in hand with the correct at-home skin care regimen in order to optimize the results” according to Dr Wade Merchant It is also important to follow the pre and post-treatment instructions provided, to ensure the best outcome.
Chemical peelsSuperficial chemical peels specificlally designed for Pigmentation Correction e.g. Beta Peel (Salicyclic acid) by Lamelle Research Laboratories, are effective in treating sun-induced epidermal hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels speed up your skin’s own renewal process, removing the top layer of old, damaged skin cells containing the excess pigmentation, allowing new, healthier-looking skin to appear.
A course of 3 -6 peels are recommended and may be combined with other treatment modalities for the best outcome. You may experience dryness and mild flaking for up to 3 to 5 days post-peel but there is no real downtime associated with these treatments.
IPL Skin RejuvenationThis is one of the most popular treatments to treat sun-induced epidermal hyperpigmentation and photodamage in lighter skin tones. It is not performed on clients with melasma. How it works is the pulse of light is absorbed by the excess pigment which breaks it down. The small particles of pigment rise to the surface and gently flake off, leaving the skin smooth and clear.
A course of 3-4 treatments is required for optimal results and maybe used in combination with other treatments. It’s a great option, but be prepared to have some initial redness, and a darkening of the pigmentation for a few days after the treatment. Strict avoidance of sun exposure, for 4 weeks before and after a treatment, is essential, so these treatments are normally performed in the cooler months.
Brightening Dermapen Treatment:Dermapen micro-needling has been on offer for several years and is one of the most popular skin rejuvenation techniques worldwide. Normally, when the skin is needled it creates tiny columns of injury to the skin. The skin then heals itself by calling on a host of immune cells that essentially clear up the mess. One of those cells that arrives on scene is the macrophage. Once at work they engulf (eat) the excess pigment in the area that has been needled. This pigment is then cleared from the skin and the result is a brighter, clearer complexion.
So what makes Legs eleven’s NEW brightening dermapen treatment so special? The answer is that we use a specially formulated, scientifically researched, sterile cocktail of active ingredients that enhances the depigmenting needling action. Whilst we needle, we are creating 1296 channels on the skin that allow the passage of these active ingredients to the deeper dermal layers of the skin – directly targeting the pigmented cells. These channels close spontaneously after 60-90 minutes. Clinical Studies have shown this method of optimized needling to be very effective when it comes to dealing with stubborn areas of hyperpigmentation.
Microneedling Treatment with Mesoestetic Depigmentation serum
Before and 15 days after treatment 5
Our depigmentation cocktail by Mesoestetic, includes 4 powerful active ingredients that block melanin synthesis and have an anti-oxidant effect:
- Tranexamic acid: A novel depigmentation agent which also has an anti-inflammatory action.
- Nicotinamide: Blocks the transfer of melanin to the other skin cells
- N-acetyl glucosamine: Tyrosinase Inhibitor (the enzyme needed in order to make pigment)
- Ascorbic acid: This has antioxidant and skin brightening effects
A course of 3 treatments is recommended and it is most often combined with other treatments e.g. chemical peels, for enhanced results. Post-treatment you may experience some redness, dryness and flaking for 1-3 day, however you can apply a medical concealer immediately after treatment.
In addition to the potent depigmentation effects of this treatment, you will also benefit from the dermapen’s collagen induction action. Renewed collagen and elastin production will lift and tighten the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve texture and minimise pore size for a smoother, rejuvenated, more youthful-looking skin.
Redermalization is the process of injecting a mixture of Hyaluronic acid and Sodium Succinate using a special technique, to stimulate renewal of the deepest layer of the skin known as the dermis (re-derma-lization). This is a Medical Aesthetic procedure that is performed by Dr Wade Merchant, who was appointed as the Western Cape trainer for this treatment by the Hyalual institute.
Redermalization aims to re-organise as well as stimulate production of collagen and elastin fibres, resulting in an improvement in overall skin quality with an increase in skin tightness, elasticity and improved hydration and texture of the skin.
In addition to these anti-ageing effects, both active ingredients have been shown to block the pigment production process. Hyaluronic acid also works to remove existing pigment by activating immune cells to engulf (eat) the pigment granules, plus sodium succinate is a powerful anti-oxidant which blocks the pigmentary effect of free radicals.
Before and immediately after 1 Rederm targeted pigmentation treatment
Directly after the treatment there will be mild redness and some very small bumps (almost like an insect bite), where the product has been injected and this may last for around 2-4 days. A course of at least 3 redermalization treatments is required and as with all pigmentation treatments, they are best when combined with other in-office treatments as well as the correct at home skin care regimen.
Rederm is one of the latest treatment options for hyperpigmentation and we are very excited to offer this treatment in the Cape Town area.
In summary hyperpigmentation is a serious condition from which many people suffer (and in many instances they suffer in silence). It needs to be treated in a holistic manner whereby triggers, at home skin care and in-office treatments are combined in order to get the best results. There is no quick fix, but when a scientific medical approach is taken, the results can be extremely rewarding.