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Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin colour of people of any race.

Age or "liver" spots are a common form of hyperpigmentation. They occur due to sun damage, and are referred to by doctors as solar lentigines. These small, darkened patches are usually found on the hands and face or other areas frequently exposed to the sun.

Melasma or chloasma spots are similar in appearance to age spots but are larger areas of darkened skin that appear most often as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy, for example, can trigger overproduction of melanin that causes the "mask of pregnancy" on the face and darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas. Women who take birth control pills may also develop hyperpigmentation because their bodies undergo similar kind of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. If one is really bothered by the pigment, the birth control pills should be stopped.

Changes in skin colour can result from outside causes. For example, skin diseases such as acne may leave dark spots after the condition clears. Other causes of dark spots are injuries to the skin, including some surgeries. Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face and arms. Freckles are an inherited characteristic.

Freckles, age spots, and other darkened skin patches can become darker or more pronounced when skin is exposed to the sun. This happens because melanin absorbs the energy of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays in order to protect he skin from overexposure. The usual result of this process is skin tanning, which tends to darken areas that are already hyperpigmented. Wearing a sunscreen is a must. The sunscreen must be "broad spectrum" (i.e. it blocks both UVA and UVB).

Pigment Removal Including stubborn Melasma

There are various types of pigmentation that occur on the body and face, which can be either congenital or acquired. Causes of acquired pigmentation include photodamage, hormones, medication, trauma, skin diseases and the natural aging process.

There are various ways to remove unwanted facial and body pigmentation, but the method chosen depends on the nature and depth of the pigments. Much also depends on the individual's skin type, as well as their personal preference. There is no single individual method of removing all pigments; in fact, in many cases, combination treatments are necessary to successfully remove pigments.

At the Square Mile Clinic multiple treatment modalities are available to remove skin pigments. 

Scabbing is more prominent after laser treatment as compared with IPL treatment. On the other hand, more IPL treatment sessions are needed for the same clearance rate as a laser. However, if the patient requires minimal down time, IPL would be a better alternative because of its less-obvious residual outcomes. 

Treatment of pigmented lesions on Asian skin is always a challenge. Some lesions will respond to both laser and IPL, yet there are cases where a lesion will respond only to one and not the other. Asian skinis also prone to post treatment pigmentary change and proper skin care is needed before and after treatment to reduce these effects.

Brown Spots & Hyperpigmentation

Causes and Cures to Blotchy Skin

"I've got brown spots on my face. Can you get rid of them?"

There are a variety of treatments for brown spots and hyperpigmentation. Each solution is case-dependent and certain treatments work better than others for the underlying reason you have brown patches on your skin in the first place. Square Mile Clinic carefully determines which treatment is suitable and most effective for your particular skin color, skin type and skin problem.

Some of us have hyperpigmentation (the over-production of natural pigment in our skin) from the time we were so young we don't recall when it began or why. For others, it is a result of hormone shifts, the use of birth control pills or the sudden appearance of a "pregnancy mask" that refuses to go away.

For most of us, though, splotchy skin and brown markings on the face, chest, arms and hands are a direct result of sun exposure. Whether termed brown spots, melasma, age spots, "liver spots", sun spots, sun freckles or any other name, hyperpigmentation is a melanin response to some type of trigger. That trigger is usually the sun.


Understanding Hyper Pigmentation

The Role of Melanin To have an understanding of what hyper-pigmentation is, it's important to understand the role of melanin. Skin gets its color, whether light or dark, from melanin. Melanin is the pigment that your body produces which determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. The more melanin, the more color and the more "color-potential" you have in your skin

What Determines Your Brown Spot Potential?

Your ancestors determine your susceptibility to having brown spots or brown patches on you skin. If you are of Latin America, Middle Eastern or Asian , you will have far more melanin cells and the resulting likelihood of hyperpigmentation is far greater than someone whose ancestors came from the Scandinavian or northern Celtic countries.

A Look at the 3 Major Causes of Hyper Pigmentation and Brown Spots

I. Hyper-pigmentation from Sun Exposure One of the primary functions of melanin production in your skin is to protect you from UV rays from the sun. A "tan" is the prime example of your body's melanin response to the sun.

When the skin is assaulted by repeated exposure to the sun, you experience sun damage in a variety of ways and one of those is brown spots and hyper-pigmentation resulting from an over-production of melanin. Once the cycle of pigment over-production has started, it is difficult to stop it and usually medical intervention is required





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"Imagine my surprise therefore after the first treatment my age spots and sun damage pigmentation reduced enormously and my skin looked brighter and clearer than it has for many years. Pauline B." Read the whole story

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