Troubled by dark patches or age spots on your face and other parts of your body? Wondering how to get rid of the discoloration and get back your glowing skin? Well, there are many treatments out there today that help reduce or eliminate these spots. Let’s understand the what, why, and how of skin pigmentation.
What is facial pigmentation?
Pigmentation defines our skin colour. Cells in our skin produce melanin (the substance that gives colour to our skin). When some cells produce too much of it, dark spots appear on the skin. This change or uneven darkening of the skin is called hyperpigmentation, which may appear as dark patches, age spots or melasma (tan or dark skin discoloration). They can be on any part of the face or body.
Facial pigmentation is fairly common. Some spots develop over time, while others may appear suddenly. The pigmentation treatment for face varies depending on the cause and type of condition.
Why does hyperpigmentation occur?
The most common causes are:
- Too much sun exposure
- Skin irritation
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Certain medications
Hyperpigmentation is more a cosmetic than a medical issue, though some medical conditions may also result in this complaint. While it is usually harmless, a visit to the doctor is in order if too many dark spots appear. These are usually treatable.
Before you choose to go for facial pigmentation treatment, you need to understand what the different types of pigmentation are.
- Epidermal pigmentation – this is superficial and is near the surface of the skin. It is usually caused by too much exposure to the sun. For example, liver spots or freckles
- Dermal pigmentation – this is in the dermal layer of the skin. For example, moles or birthmarks
- Combination dermal/epidermal pigmentation – is found on the superficial as well as the deeper layers of the skin. For example, melasma
Read more about the cost of pigmentation treatment
Facial pigmentation treatment
There is no need to panic if you have dark spots. Nowadays there are several affordable hyperpigmentation treatments available.
Prevention is key!
The best thing you can do for your skin is to take good care of it. While lighter skin is more prone to dark spots, dark skin is not immune either. The majority of dark spots are a result of direct and extended exposure to the sun. Here’s what you can do –
- Protect your skin from the sun. Apply good sunscreen lotion with high SPF before stepping out.
- Have Vitamin C
- Use brightening creams and serums
- Use topical creams that lighten the skin
There are several natural pigmentation treatments for the face that you can try to get rid of dark spots. Applying ingredients from your kitchen like aloe vera gel, green tea extract, apple cider vinegar, red onion juice on the affected area can help lighten the spots.
If these home remedies don’t work and you decide to go the route of medical treatment, there are several cosmetic procedures available for you to choose from. These lighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Why should you go in for pigmentation treatments for the face?
Pigmentation removal treatments may be cosmetic in nature, but they have their benefits.
- They remove or minimize the hyperpigmentation
- They have minimal side effects and recovery time
- They can be used to treat facial and body marks
Medical hyperpigmentation treatments
Chemical peels – chemical solutions are applied to the area being treated. The skin exfoliates and peels or falls off. This removes the damaged skin cells and the healthier skin underneath emerges. This new skin is less damaged and smoother. These peels can be light, medium or deep.
Benefits of chemical peels–
- They work well on hands, neck, and face.
- They are safe and convenient.
- They improve the feel and appearance of the skin.
Microdermabrasion – a special applicator with an abrasive surface is gently rubbed on the affected area. It sands off the thick outer layer of the skin and rejuvenates it.
Types of microdermabrasion
- Diamond – uses a diamond-tip applicator that gently exfoliates the dead cells off your skin and suctions them off.
- Crystal – fine crystals are gently sprayed by a crystal-emitting applicator so that the outer layers of the skin are rubbed off and the dead skin is suctioned off.
- Hydradermabrasion – maximizes blood flow to the skin through a combination of crystal-free exfoliation and simultaneous dermal infusion of products. This then stimulates the production of collagen.
Benefits of microdermabrasion –
- Minimally invasive
- Renews overall skin texture and tone
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, age spots, melisma, etc.
IPL or intense pulsed light – the light penetrates to the dermis (second layer of skin). Pigment cells absorb this light energy and convert it into heat energy. This heat then destroys the unwanted pigment and clears the wrinkles, spots, and freckles.
Benefits of IPL –
- Does not damage the epidermis (top layer of the skin)
- Causes less damage to the skin
- Light is scattered and easily treats wrinkles as well as facial hair.
- Quick and effective
Laser resurfacing – uses high-energy laser light to focus on the outer layer of the skin. At the same time, the lower layers of the dermis are also heated. More collagen is produced and the new skin becomes firmer and smoother.
Benefits of face pigmentation laser treatment
- Works better on lighter skin
- Light is focused on a smaller area
- Quick procedure
So you have decided to go in for one of these hyperpigmentation treatments? While they all have their positives, you should also be aware of their side effects. Most side effects are temporary and disappear in a few hours, though cleansing and after-care are very important.
- Chemical peels – burning, redness or dryness of the skin, maybe a bit of swelling. Sometimes there may be skin infection or permanent scarring, or some heart, liver or kidney damage.
- Microdermabrasion – swelling, tenderness or redness of the skin.
- IPL – swelling or mild redness which fades in a couple of days. Some bruising, blistering or skin infection is also possible.
- Laser resurfacing – rash, swelling or burning is common. Peeling or scarring may also take place.
Nowadays all these treatments are available in India. There are several well-established and reputed clinics offering the same. While the costs of these treatments vary by the kind of clinic you choose, they are competitive compared to other countries. Here are some ballpark figures to keep in mind:
- Chemical peels – can range from Rs. 1500 – 3000 per sitting
- Microdermabrasion – anywhere from Rs. 800 – 2500 depending on how much surface is being treated
- Laser resurfacing – may vary from Rs. 1500 – 50,000
So choose one of these treatments, and say goodbye to dark patches and pigment spots on your face.