Skin Pigmentation in Hertfordshire
What Is Skin Pigmentation?
The term skin pigmentation refers to the colouring of your skin. Skin pigmentation disorders are skin conditions that alter the natural colour of your skin. These disorders are sometimes referred to as skin discolouration. Whilst some skin pigmentation disorders only affect certain areas of your skin, others alter the colouring of your entire body.
What Causes Skin Pigmentation Disorders?
The colour of your skin is determined by a skin pigment called melanin. You have pigment cells in your body responsible for producing the melanin that you need to maintain your natural skin colour. Sometimes, these cells get damaged. When this happens, they cannot produce normal, healthy levels of melanin, and the colouring of your skin changes as a result. Typically, if your body begins to produce more melanin than it needs, your skin will become darker in colour. Alternatively, if your body does not produce enough melanin, your skin will become lighter in colour.
Types of Skin Pigmentation Disorder
Birthmarks are patches or marks on your skin that are different in colour to your normal skin tone. As their name suggests, this skin disorder is visible at birth, albeit sometimes birthmarks can appear a few weeks after birth. They can be pink, red, purple, brown, blue or grey, and they can appear in almost any area of the body.
Although the majority of birthmarks are benign and harmless, some can be dangerous, so it is important to discuss your skin discolouration with a medical professional.
Freckles are small brown spots on the surface of your skin. They appear when your body produces too much melanin, which typically happens when your skin has been exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Alternatively, freckles can appear as a result of your genetic code.
Melasma is a skin condition that causes coloured marks or spots to appear on the surface of your skin. Typically, these marks will appear on the face, though they can appear on other areas of the body, too.
Akin to freckles, melasma is caused by the overproduction of melanin in the body. Although the disorder can affect both men and women, it is mostly women who suffer from it, especially whilst they are pregnant.
This is because pregnancy hormones can cause the overproduction of melanin. Similarly, hormonal replacement, medical conditions which affect your hormones, or birth control pills can trigger melasma. Alternatively, the condition can be caused by too much exposure to the sun.
Solar lentigines are brown spots or patches on the surface of your skin. Colloquially, they are sometimes called age spots or liver spots. Solar lentigines usually appear on the areas of the body which are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, shoulders or the back of the hands.
This frequent exposure to the sun encourages your pigment cells to produce too much melanin, which causes the formation of solar lentigines. Although young people can be affected by them if they experience lots of sun exposure, solar lentigines usually only affect people over the age of 40.
Additionally, people with light skin are most susceptible to solar lentigines, though they can affect people of all skin types.
When you suffer from an injury (such as a burn, cut, or insect bite), your body responds by producing more melanin than it normally would if you were healthy. It does this in order to heal the wound, but a side-effect of the healing process can be the formation of coloured patches or dark spots. This form of skin discolouration is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Treatments We Offer
At Aventus Clinic, we offer a variety of treatments that target skin discolouration and heal skin pigmentation disorders. These include:
Medical Skin Peels
A medical skin peel, also known as a chemical skin peel, is a non-surgical procedure which improves the appearance of your skin. The treatment works by removing the damaged top layers of skin to reveal the clearer and softer layers underneath.
This procedure can therefore be used to remove the layers of skin which have been affected by a skin pigmentation disorder, thereby replacing them with the more even skin tone beneath. Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after your chemical skin peel, so you should use sunscreen for at least a month after the procedure.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a non-surgical treatment that treats scars, marks, and discolouration whilst simultaneously volumising and revitalising the skin. The treatment works by injecting the patient’s blood plasma into the membrane below their skin.
This plasma contains platelets, which repair and regenerate damaged tissues, thereby helping to heal scars and skin discolouration. By injecting platelet-rich plasma into your skin, this treatment encourages your body to heal itself naturally, which combats skin pigmentation disorders and results in volumized, vibrant skin.
The treatment does not require any downtime, so you can return to your normal daily activities after the procedure is completed. Typically, patients will notice the final effect of the procedure after approximately three months have passed following their final treatment.
In the case of medium or heavy skin peeling treatments, it is a good idea to rest for the remainder of the day following your treatment and to arrange for a friend to drive you home from the clinic.
Laser treatment is a non-invasive procedure that heals skin pigmentation disorders. The procedure targets the melanin pigmentation in the skin with pulses of wavelength energy light. This reduces the amount of melanin in your body, bringing it back down to normal and healthy levels. This, in turn, removes the skin pigmentation disorder that the excess of melanin had triggered, such as freckles or solar lentigines.
Although some patients experience an immediate improvement in the appearance of their skin, the complete result is only visible after approximately five weeks following the laser treatment.
Extensive exposure to the sun or hormonal fluctuations can cause skin discolouration to reappear after your cosmetic treatment. Nevertheless, laser treatments typically remove skin pigmentation disorders permanently. However, you will have to book three to four laser treatments to achieve this permanent effect. By contrast, PRP therapy produces results that last for approximately two years following your final treatment.
Similarly, medical skin peels cannot produce permanent results, though a deep peel can treat skin discolouration for up to ten years. If you book more skin peeling treatments at regular intervals, you can maintain the effects for as long as you wish.
You are a suitable candidate for any of our treatments if you suffer from skin discolouration or a skin pigmentation disorder. However, you should avoid arranging a skin peeling treatment if you are pregnant or if you have taken an oral acne medication called isotretinoin in the last six months. Moreover, you should avoid PRP therapy if you suffer from certain skin diseases or an active infection.
Finally, you may not be a good candidate for laser treatment if you have very deep wrinkles or active acne. If you are concerned about your suitability for any of our treatments, arrange a consultation with one of our friendly dermatologists, who will discuss your concerns with you and provide advice.
PRP therapy takes approximately 30 minutes to administer, whilst laser treatments take between 15 to 30 minutes. The duration of skin peeling treatments, meanwhile, depends on whether your medical skin peel is light, medium, or deep. Typically, the treatment takes between 30 to 90 minutes to complete, with light peels being quicker and deep peels taking longer to administer.
After any skin pigmentation treatment, your skin may feel tender, and there may be some mild redness, swelling, or bruising. Cool packs should be used in the hours following the procedure to reduce discomfort. After laser treatment, areas of skin discolouration, such as freckles, will typically turn darker in colour. This is normal, and your skin will shed off these dark areas within two weeks.
After this, your skin tone will look clearer, fresher and more even, and you will see the complete effects of the procedure once five weeks have elapsed. Meanwhile, you can expect to see the final result of your PRP treatment after approximately three months have passed. After a skin peeling treatment, your skin will typically appear dry and flaky for three to four days following the procedure.
It is best to let the skin peel naturally and not to pick or peel it yourself. After four days, most of the peeling will be complete, though it can take up to a week before new skin grows. You will notice the final effect of the treatment within one to two weeks, after which time fresh, new skin will have developed.
Although the majority of patients say that they did not experience any discomfort during their laser treatment, everyone’s sensitivity is different, and some might experience mild discomfort. PRP therapy involves injections, so this, too, can cause some discomfort. Finally, medical skin peels can create a sense of tightness or a tingling sensation, but you should not experience any pain during or after the treatment.
Medical skin peeling treatments carry a very small risk of infection or scarring. However, if you have suffered from cold sores before, then there is a risk of them returning after your skin peeling treatment.
On the other hand, the risk of side effects from PRP therapy is minimal, as the procedure involves injecting a substance into your skin that has come directly from your own body, so there is no risk of an allergic reaction or other such complications. However, as with any form of injection, there is a very small risk of infection or tissue damage. Finally, laser treatments carry a very small risk of scarring, infection and changes in skin colour.