In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies
As discussed in 5 possible causes of pigmentation problems, the type of pigmentation – and whether it’s superficial (epidermal) or deep-seated (dermal), or even both – determines how this common and distressing problem should be treated.
The aim of all treatments is to break down and remove existing pigmentation and to prevent new pigmentation from forming. How they achieve this, however, differs in the techniques used, intensity of treatment,and also the cost of treatment.
First line of defence: Superficial options
Using a safe and effective cosmeceutical skin treatment is your most accessible option, and will often be used alongside any other form of treatment, as well as for aftercare.
NeoStrata’s Enlighten range is a complete skincare routine, from cleanser to serum, which work together to provide lasting brightening and skin tone evening-out results. The dermatologist-recommended range uses advanced ingredients to tackle the various causes of hyperpigmentation.
The star product, Enlighten Illuminating Serum, contains 12 active brighteners (both patented and clinically proven) that target six pigment control systems to help break up and reduce the appearance of existing pigmentation and discourage new spots from forming.
Obagi Medical’s Nu-Derm Fx system penetrates the skin’s surface to correct the damage within, zeroing in on age spots, hyperpigmentation, skin yellowing and redness, as well as roughness. Available in systems for Normal to Dry and Normal to Oily skin, Obagi Nu-Derm is so effective because of the active ingredient, Arbutin which is present in a 7% concentration. This natural hydroquinone derivative extracted from bearberries is a very powerful lightening agent that helps to eliminate and fade those unwanted dark marks.
Sun protection is your absolute essential when dealing with hyperpigmentation. You will find the superior sunscreen solutions you need on the Online Skin Care Shop.
Second line: Getting under your skin
When dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation on skin that has been physically damaged or inflamed by disorders like acne, you probably need a combined strategy of skincare, peels and/or injectables:
NeoStrata ProSystem Free-Glycolic Peel is a medical system of peels that can only be used under the supervision of an aesthetic doctor.
NeoStrata, pioneers in AHA and the use of glycolic acid, have devised a system of glycolic acid peels that vary in strength from 20% to 70% – the appropriate strength is used to suit your skin. The peel works to thin out the outer most layer of skin and plump up the living layers of the epidermis. This helps even out skin tone and pigmentation and decreases fine lines and wrinkles. It is perfect for all skin tones and skin types, including sensitive skin. Usually a course of four to six peels spaced four weeks apart is recommended to see a clinical result or outcome.
The other option (which can be used alongside peels) is injectables such as Mesotherapy. Used correctly, tiny amounts of active ingredient (in this case pigmentation-busting TA) are delivered directly into the mesoderm (middle layer of skin) by micro injections to target hyperpigmentation. For needle-phobes, transdermal mesotherapy, where the ingredients are pushed in to the skin with current rather than needles, is also an option.
The third line: Bring out the big guns
For severe pigmentation or dermal pigmentation (or if you have superficial pigmentation but no budget restrictions), treatments such as the Platelet Rich Plasma (vampire facial), lasers such as the Fraxel DUAL and lights have the ability to reach the deepest layers of the dermis, addressing pigmentation issues at the deepest levels.
The Fraxel™ DUAL incorporates two lasers in one: the original 1550nm restores wavelength, targets skin texture and improves deep lines and acne scars, while the addition of the 1927 Thulium laser ensures that all forms of pigmentation can be treated. This gentle, FDA-approved treatment resurfaces the skin from the inside out, showing dramatic results in the treatment of sun damage and pigmentation with hardly any downtime.
Dr. Maureen Allem, founder of Skin Renewal says: “It is quite a challenge to try and sort out all your ageing concerns in the same treatment session, but every so often aesthetic technology leaps ahead and gives us a gem like the Fraxel™ DUAL.”
The two lasers can be used together or separately, and show results in as little as two to three treatments.
Other light therapies that work effectively to treat dark pigmentation marks include:
Laser Genesis: award-winning, non-invasive light therapy that effectively treats dark marks, uneven texture and blemishes without pain or downtime
Limelight: non-invasive IPL specifically for brown and red marks
Photo Genesis: the super-safe, next-generation IPL photo rejuvenation
Pearl rejuvenation laser: gives you very targeted skin resurfacing, without weeping skin or significant downtime. Suitable for fair to medium-depth complexions.