Sadly, the exact processes behind hyperpigmentation aren’t entirely known. It remains a very common skin condition, though it’s not one hundred percent understood, which can make it difficult to treat when not receiving care from skin experts. It’s thought that hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin reacts quickly to external changes that threaten or damage it, like when it heals quickly or is exposed to the sun for too long. The rapid reaction includes producing excess melanin within the newly generated skin cells that rush to protect fluctuating areas. Because of their rushed production, these skin cells aren’t always the same colour or tone as our existing surface cells because of their inflammatory response. This creates uneven skin tone and unwanted dark (or light) patches. Thus, hyperpigmentation.
There are many ways hyperpigmentation can develop. Because it’s a reaction to external stimuli and the damage that ensues, it could either develop over time or all at once. Hyperpigmentation can be unpredictable and may seem permanent, but we’re here to assure you it isn’t.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Skin damage, spanning from a sports injury all the way through to aggressive acne healing, leads to excess melanin production and contributes to hyperpigmentation. When you have any kind of skin damage, your body reacts to it with inflammation and an internal healing process. During this healing process and particularly when the skin is in trauma, for example an infected acne spot bursting, the body rushes to produce plenty of new skin cells so much that it can over-produce. This means it occasionally produces melanin that doesn’t match your current skin tone, leading to hyperpigmentation.
Sun damage isn’t kind to our skin, and it does so much more than just temporarily burn us. Sunlight contains ultraviolet light that causes our skin to inflame. This response starts as early as the first few moments of being outside or in sunlight, and prolonged exposure for long periods of time causes these inflammation levels to drastically increase. This is because our skin is trying to protect us from the harmful rays, and our body produces hormones to combat this reaction and protect us. These hormones encourage melanin production in the skin that, over the years, remain permanently active and continue to darken the skin.
Female hormonal changes are a process that we can’t be held accountable for. During pregnancy, while taking birth control, and the ageing process all brings about fluctuating hormone levels that have the potential to develop our pigmentation. The rise in oestrogen and progesterone production cause a fluctuation, resulting in boosted melanin production. This hormonal condition is commonly known as melasma. It can disappear after pregnancy or after hormonal levels are stabilised, but for others this may not be the case.
How does L’Atelier treat hyperpigmentation?
A course of bespoke chemical peels could be the answer to evening your skin tone and beating hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels create a controlled wounding on the surface skin that stimulates the safe production of new skin cells, sloughing the damaged surface cells away to be replaced afresh. This not only soothes hyperpigmentation within a course of treatments, but it will also soften fine lines, bring about a new glow to your face, and assist in clearing any congested pores.
You might find that microneedling is best for you, especially if your hyperpigmentation is in a concentrated area rather than all over your skin. Microneedling utilises the same natural processes that chemical peels do though, though they use a very fine needle to pierce the skin. These controlled punctures create tiny wounds in the skin that the body naturally responds to with healing properties. The skin produces fresh skin cells, new collagen, and gently heals to soften the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
At our Marylebone aesthetic clinic in London, we believe in the promotion and maintenance of your skin’s health. When your skin is healthy it has a glow, is clear and unblemished, and feels great. We want this for all of clients, so if you’re experiencing hyperpigmentation then enquire online today or call 0207 637 3208 to book your bespoke skincare consultation.