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Beneath the Surface: Pigmentation

We are exploring the typical characteristics of pigmentation, the different types of pigmentation and our top product recommendations to target and improve the appearance of pigmentation.

What is Pigmentation? Pigmentation refers to the colour of our skin. Within the body, a pigment called melanin is produced by specialised skin cells known as melanocytes. Melanin determines the colour of skin, eyes and hair by the amount and type of melanin produced. Those with darker skin types tend to have a higher quantity of melanin in their skin cells than those with lighter skin. However, imbalances and skin disorders can lead to inconsistent colouration, patterning and blotchiness of the skin.

Healthy skin cells make the skin appear normal and even but damage or unhealthy skin cells leads to extra melanin production to help protect the skin. Although, if the cells that are producing the melanin are damaged, it prevents melanin production and, as a result, patches of skin may turn darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation).

What causes Pigmentation?

The tone of your skin is the result of a complex process where special cells inside the outer layer of the skin (melanocytes) produce melanin. Inside melanocytes are organelles (mini organs of the cell) called melanosomes. Variations in skin colour depend on the size, amount and functioning ability of these tiny melanin producing factories.

Melanin has two main types:

  • Eumelanin. This is brown/black in colour and protects the skin by limiting the amount of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that break through and pick up reactive oxygen radicals which could damage the cell’s DNA and lead to further health conditions.

  • Pheomelanin is yellow and red in colour and provides very little UV protection. This supports the production of reactive oxygen radicals and the damage they cause.

Pigmentation of the skin is determined by the balance of these two types of melanin in the skin. This can alter for many reasons such as:

  1. Sun Exposure: The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays stimulate melanin production as a protective response. Prolonged sun exposure can cause an uneven distribution of melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation, commonly known as sunspots or age spots.

  2. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, or due to birth control pills can trigger melasma—a form of hyperpigmentation often referred to as the "mask of pregnancy." It manifests as dark patches on the face.

  3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis can leave behind darkened areas after healing due to increased melanin production as part of the skin's healing process.

  4. Skin Trauma: Any form of skin trauma, such as cuts, burns, or surgeries, can result in hypopigmentation, leading to the loss of skin colour in the affected area.

  5. Genetics: Certain genetic factors can make individuals more prone to developing pigmentation disorders like vitiligo, where patches of skin lose their pigment.

Preventing Skin Pigmentation: Prevention plays a pivotal role in managing skin pigmentation. Here are some measures you can take:

  • Sun Protection: The most crucial step in preventing pigmentation is protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of 50, wear protective clothing, seek shade when the sun is strongest and avoid prolonged periods in direct sun.

  • Avoid Picking at Skin: Picking at acne or other skin blemishes can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Avoid touching your face and let your skin heal naturally.

  • Manage Hormonal Changes: If you're prone to melasma due to hormonal fluctuations, consult a healthcare professional for advice on managing these changes to limit the affects.

What No.109 can do for your Pigmentation

Hydrafacial with Murad Vit C Booster HydraFacial is the only hydradermabrasion procedure that combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection simultaneously, resulting in clearer, more beautiful skin with little-to-no downtime. The treatment is soothing, moisturizing, non-invasive and generally non-irritating. Utilising the Vit C booster, containing tranexamic acid and glycolic acid, brightens the skin whilst evening the appearance of the skin tone whilst also minimising the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation.

LED The treatment has eight steps with pre-cleanse, cleanse, tone, treat, prevent, mask, correct and protect with different products being used at each stage such as SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector which is clinically proven to improve the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation, skin luminosity and tone. Our Opatra LED pro will also be used during treatment with the green light for hyperpigmentation to target melanocyte cells and inhibit the melanin from travelling to the surface.

SkinPen Microneedling This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin, which stimulate the body's natural healing process and collagen production which can help improve skin texture, tone, and overall appearance. This treatment can also be customized to the patient's specific needs, as the depth of the needles can be adjusted to target different areas of the skin.

Obagi Blue Peel Radiance This chemical peel contains a unique blend of Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic acid to provide a gentle but effective peel. It works by exfoliating the uppermost damaged layers of the skin, helping to shed dead skin cells, unclog pores and improve areas of pigmentation, revealing a brighter, more even complexion.

Obagi Nu-Derm® System

Complete Skin Transformation Prescription System specially formulated to help correct hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and melasma, and transform the appearance of ageing skin. Nu-Derm transforms the skin by increasing skin cell turnover and exfoliating dull, dead skin cells. Nu- Derm contains two main active ingredients: 4% hydroquinone and zinc oxide. Hydroquinone is prescription only and works by blocking the process in the skin that leads to discolouration; it suppresses the melanocyte metabolic process. Zinc oxide acts as a sunscreen by deflecting the sun, providing broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Zinc oxide is known for it’s non-irritating and non-allergenic properties, and protects the skin while the hydroquinone takes effect to target pigmentation.

SkinCeuticals Discolouration Defence Serum Discoloration Defence Serum is a high potency serum that helps target and reduce the appearance of key types of discolouration. Leaving skin looking visibly brighter and a more even skin tone. In clinical assessment, this formula delivered a 41% average improvement in the appearance of stubborn brown patches.

La Roche Posay 10% Niacinamide Concentrate This multi-tasking dermatological serum evens skin tone, repairs and brightens, whilst improving the appearance and prevention of dark spots. It contains 10% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES which gently exfoliates to slough off dead skin cells. The serum also incorporates hyaluronic acid which helps to retain the skin's natural moisture.

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