Freckles |Sun Spots |Melasma
Pigmentation of skin is generally determined by racial origin and the amount of sun exposure.
The pigment cells (melanocytes) are located in the base of the epidermis (surface layer of skin) and the produce melanin which is the protein responsible for the skin’s colour.
Melanin is transported to the surface of the skin by other cells called keratinocytes. Dark-skinned people produce more melanin than light-skinned people.
What causes pigmentation problems?
The skin produces more pigment when it is injured, such as when it is subject to UV radiation from the sun (sunburn) or from physical injury such as cuts and lacerations. Some skin types are more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) which is when more pigment is produced after the skin is inflamed such as after eczema, acne or infection.
What types of pigmentation problems can be treated?
At Rewind Skin & Laser, we treat a range of pigmentation problems such as Melasma, Poikiloderma of Civette, Naevus of Ota, Naevus of Ito, benign moles, freckles and sunspots. As there is such a wide range of pigmentation disorders, we recommend that you consult a doctor before getting any treatment as misdiagnosis can be potentially catastrophic.
How can pigmentation problems be treated?
This depends on the cause of the pigmentation, so an accurate diagnosis is crucial. Treatments can range from prescription medications, IPL, laser, peels and cosmeceutical skin care products under doctor or therapist supervision.
At Rewind Skin & Laser, we perform a full skin analysis including 3D photographs. Some pigment problems can be easily treatment such as freckles and sunspots, whereas others such as melasma are chronic conditions and will need longterm management.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends on the cause of your pigmentation and your skin type. All of these issues will be addressed during your consultation to tailor a treatment plan that is personalised to you.
Is Laser or IPL suitable for me?
At Rewind Skin & Laser Centre, we use only the highest standard, medical-grade laser and IPL machines. These are safe to use on all skin types.
It is very important when considering IPL or laser treatment, that you ask your healthcare practitioner about the quality of their machines and the healthcare practitioners qualifications. Unfortunately, we often see patients for second opinions with poor results who have had treatments done by inadequately trained practitioners using inferior Chinese or Korean made machines.
People with darker skin types can have treatment done with IPL and laser, but need lower energy levels to avoid side effects such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
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Freckles and Brown Spots
Brown spots (medical term lentigines) tend to be larger and more defined than a freckle. The are most commonly found on the face and hands.
Who get’s Brown Spots?
The most common type, solar lentigines, tend to arise in people from their 20’s – 30’s and become more common with age. They are more prevalent in fair skinned people who have had chronic sun exposure (sun spots). Some darker skinned people are also predisposed to getting them.
The colour of brown spots (lentigines) is due to skin pigment (melanin), which is produced in deep skin cells called melanocytes, spreading into the surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes. They tend to last longer than freckles and tend not to fade during winter.
Reduced sun exposure, wearing sun protective clothing including a hat and using sunscreen (SPF50+)can help reduce the amount of brown spots.
This ideally needs to be done from a young age as once they appear the chronic sun damage has already been done.
It is very important to have a full skin check done prior to any treatment to distinguish benign brown spots (lentigines) from their more serious, cancerous counterparts called melanoma or lentigo maligna.
A doctor trained in skin cancer detection will be able to do this and if there is any doubt about the brown spots, a biopsy should be taken to exclude cancer.
A good cosmeceutical brand such as Ultraceuticals with active ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids, retinol, vitamin C and other botanicals can also help fade brown spots and prevent pigmentation reoccuring.
Freckles (medical term ephelides) are small flat brown marks that arise on the face and other sun exposed areas.
Who get’s Freckles?
They are most often seen in fair skinned people, especially those of Anglo-Celtic origin and those with red hair. Some darker skinned people are also genetically predisposed to getting freckles.
The colour of freckles is due to skin pigment (melanin), which is produced in deep skin cells called melanocytes, spreading into the surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes. Freckles are more prominent in summer when there is more sun exposure and fade during winter.
Not all freckles can be prevented, as some fair skin types will produce them regardless of any measures people take. Reduced sun exposure, wearing sun protective clothing including a hat and using sunscreen (SPF50+)can help reduce the amount of freckles.
Freckles are not dangerous and do not need to be treated unless they are cosmetically not desired.
It is important to note however that any brown mark on your skin that is changing should be checked for skin cancer, as it is important to distinguish between freckles and early melanoma.
Freckles may fade with daily use of SPF50+. A good cosmeceutical brand such as Ultraceuticals with active ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids, retinol, vitamin C and other botanicals can also help fade freckles and prevent pigmentation reoccuring.
The condition causes dark, discolored patches on your skin.
It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too.
Melasma causes patches of discoloration. The patches are darker than your usual skin color. It typically occurs on the face and is often symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.
It isn’t totally clear what causes melasma. Darker-skinned individuals are more at risk than those with fair skin. Melasma is a hormonaly driven pigmentation, Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity are also associated with the condition. This means birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma.
Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes)
Once Melasma occurs it can be lightened and managed but can never be fully removed. Hormonal fluctuations, stress and other external factors will cause melasma to darken and become more prominant from time to time. Depending on the severity of your melasma the team and Rewind Skin and Laser can taylor a treatment and maintenance plan for you.
Melasma can be treated safely at Rewind Skin and Laser Centre with PicoSure, Skin needling and Ultraceuticals advanced facials.