In late summer and early autumn, the topic of skin hyperpigmentation comes to the fore.
After all, spots on the skin can appear not only with age but also after abundant “sunbathing.” However, hyperpigmentation is a complex process that has a lot of causes and a lot of manifestations.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a diffuse or focal deposition of pigment in the skin, leading to the darkening of the entire surface of the body or individual areas of the skin. Hyperpigmentation of the skin can be due to various physiological and pathological causes, in connection with which the following types are distinguished: freckles, melasma, chloasma, perioral pigmented dermatitis, secondary hyperpigmentation, etc. The elimination of hyperpigmentation may include the treatment of underlying diseases and cosmetic procedures.
The color of human skin depends on several factors: the filling of blood vessels, the thickness of the epidermis, the skin pattern, etc. The most important factor affecting the color of the skin is the presence and concentration of special coloring substances – pigments, the determining one of which is melanin pigment. Depending on the amount of melanin in the skin, its color can be from flesh to dark brown. Melanin is produced by special cells of the epidermis – melanocytes. Their highest concentration is in the basal layer of the skin (basement membrane).
The formation of age spots largely depends on the state of the basement membrane.
One square centimeter of human skin contains an average of 1200 melanocytes. The number of melanocytes in races with dark skin is slightly higher, while their function of melanin formation is much stronger. It’s genetically predetermined.
Melanin can absorb heat rays, which protects the body from exposure to ultraviolet and infrared rays. Thus, melanin is the main means of protecting the skin from burns and overheating the body.
The main factors provoking the appearance of hyperpigmentation
Ultraviolet radiation (due to being under active solar radiation, it provokes the appearance of age spots in 52-63% of cases).
Hormonal disorders and inflammatory processes (these factors contribute to the appearance of pigmentation in 25-32% of cases).
Pregnancy (provokes hyperpigmentation in 18-24% of cases).
Other causes of hyperpigmentation are chemicals and drugs that increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, especially genetic predisposition. Medications that increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Types of hyperpigmentation
Provoking factors disrupt the production of melanin. This leads to age spots on the skin’s surface, which differ in location and features.
Ephelids (freckles) are the most common manifestation of hyperpigmentation associated with a genetic predisposition. Freckles can appear both on open areas of the skin and on the shoulders, back, and other body parts. In the cold season, they are less noticeable, and in spring and summer, under the influence of sunlight, they appear on the skin more strongly.
Melasma – spots with uneven outlines of different shades, prone to merging. Provoking factors are hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and excess ultraviolet rays. When the causes are established and corrected, they disappear without a trace. A variety of melasma-chloasma occurs with hormonal disorders, diseases of the urogenital area, and during pregnancy.
Senile or senile lentigo (age-related hyperpigmentation) – spots of irregular shape and heterogeneous shade. They appear on open areas of the body exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Caused by a slowdown in metabolic processes in the body, chronic diseases, and impaired melanin transport. They affect the temples, the back of the hand, decollete, lips, and cheeks.
Juvenile lentigo – this also happens. In children, this form of hyperpigmentation occurs spontaneously due to hormonal imbalance.
Drug hyperpigmentation of the skin – appears during treatment with medications and is not associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
The skin is a hormone-dependent organ. Sex hormones primarily regulate their functions. The level of sex hormones in women fluctuates throughout the ovulatory cycle, during pregnancy, when taking contraceptives and during menopause. These factors contribute to the excess accumulation of melanin. Up to a third of women using combined oral contraceptives suffer from excessive pigmentation.
The pigment can accumulate in places of thermal, chemical, or electrical burns, injuries with damage to the skin.
Some plants (legumes, figs, parsley, citrus fruits) contain photosensitizing substances – psoralens.
When present in food, they increase the photosensitivity of the skin. Such plants can be part of cosmetics – if you apply them to the skin and then go out into the sun, hyperpigmentation will occur at the application site. Some drugs also have a photosensitizing effect: sulfonamides, tetracyclines, antipsychotics, etc.
Other types of hyperpigmentation are less common.
Classification and stages of development of skin hyperpigmentation
There is no generally accepted classification of skin pigmentation disorders.
According to one of the classifications, they are conventionally divided into the following types:
- physiological (optional);
- acquired (pathological);
- genetic (not dependent on other factors).
According to another classification, two types of hypermelanosis are distinguished:
1. Epidermal – brown skin staining caused by increased melanin in the epidermis. Epidermal hypermelanosis is of several types:
limited – spots like “coffee with milk”, Becker’s nevus, flat nevus;
diffuse – scattered, isolated spots (freckles), net spots (congenital dyskeratosis), or indistinctly defined spots (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
2. Dermal – caused by the presence of melanin in the dermis, impaired development of dermal melanocytes, and macrophages (cells that capture and digest foreign and harmful particles). The skin acquires a gray, gray-blue, or blue tint. A similar color can also be caused by other factors not related to melanin: ochronosis (staining of connective tissue in brown or blue-black color), tattoo, and the action of drugs.
The Best Ways to Combat Hyperpigmentation
One of the universal methods for removing excessive hyperpigmentation is Photorejuvenation.
The essence of the technique lies in the activation of regenerative processes in tissues, which is achieved with the help of intense pulsed light. A special Ellips Flex device works on each problem area during the procedure.
During the removal of age spots, a cooling gel is applied to the surface to be treated; a light pulse is passed through it. This is necessary for correctly exposing the light beam to the spot. The target for the beam is just the melanin pigment. As a result, the pigment spot darkens and disappears, and the skin color evens.
When carrying out this kind of rejuvenation, delicate heating of certain epidermis layers with a light beam also occurs. Such heating has a very beneficial effect, as it activates the synthesis of collagen fibers. As a result, the skin becomes more elastic and even thickens, acquires a healthy tone, and wrinkles are smoothed out. In other words, there is a complex therapy – rejuvenation and alignment of the texture and color of the skin. After the procedure (or, according to the doctor’s prescription, a set of procedures), the skin will regain its ideal look and color.
REMOVAL OF AGE SPOTS WITH A LASER
Laser exposure is an effective and safe method for removing age spots of any complexity.
The most proven method is Fraxel fractional laser treatment.
The principle of the Fraxel laser effect on age spots and areas of hyperpigmentation differs from other common ones. Fraxel acts not on melanin but on the cells that synthesize and accumulate this pigment. When the laser penetrates the skin, these cells die, and the melanin in them is processed by the surrounding “utilizer cells.” It does not matter at what depth in the skin the pigment is located: Fraxel effectively treats any form of hyperpigmentation.
Subsequently, young cells appear on the site of the destroyed skin microsection, which synthesize and accumulate an amount of pigment adequate to external solar exposure. Thus, old cells in which the formation of melanin is impaired are replaced by new ones: normally, colored skin is formed in place of the pigment spot.
It is important to note that pigmentation can be treated with the Fraxel laser on skin of any color (even black!) and any part of the body. So, the age of a woman often gives out age spots on her hands. Many standard techniques cannot be applied or are not very effective when used on the skin of the hands. Fraxel is recommended for treating pigmentation on the hands, neck, and décolleté, and an impressive rejuvenation result accompanies pigment removal.
Indeed, in the microzones of laser exposure, the regeneration process of new structural proteins involved in renewing our skin – collagen and elastin- begins. Therefore, the skin after Fraxel will look noticeably rejuvenated – dense and elastic, as in youth.
Dermal radio wave optical thermolysis (DROT) combines fractional Fraxel laser and radio frequency exposure (RF). This combination accelerates the replacement of melanin cells with new active cells synthesizing collagen. Thanks to this, the skin is cleansed of stains and rejuvenated. The wide possibilities of impulse design allow you to work at different depths with different intensities, which greatly expands the possibilities and increases the effect of the procedure.
The new skin-healing treatment combines many different effects. Including effectively eliminates age spots.
The procedure is based on the innovative Vortex-Fusion technology, which combines mechanical exfoliation, the effects of multifunctional serums, and vacuum skin stimulation. Thanks to this, HydraFacial provides an effective skin treatment. SPA cleaning, chemical peeling, microdermabrasion, and non-injection mesotherapy are combined in one procedure.
The procedure includes six main stages, each of which has a healing effect on the skin. At all stages, unique patented HydroPeel nozzles and basic active serums are used.
HydraFacial is a completely physiological and safe method suitable for all skin types, including sensitive ones. The procedure can be performed at any time of the year. To combat hyperpigmentation, a special “Skin Improvement” program is used.
Real miracles in getting rid of pigmentation are created by the Japanese placental drug Melsmon (Melsmon).
The composition of the Melsmon drug includes more than 100 components, such as:
- All 20 amino acids that exist in nature, including essential ones, which perform plastic and many other functions in the body;
- Mucopolysaccharides are necessary for the construction of connective tissues;
- Nucleic and organic acids, nucleosides that enhance protein biosynthesis;
- Vitamins B2, B3, C, D, and PP provide the antioxidant effect of the drug and are catalysts for metabolic processes;
- Enzymes – catalysts of metabolic processes in the body;
- Minerals (zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, selenium, etc.) are involved in the construction of the skeleton, the formation of hemoglobin, and regulate the metabolism of vitamins and hormones.
Our body perfectly absorbs all these components. Melsmon activates the appearance of cells instead of damaged, altered, and worn ones while preventing their uncontrolled division. A healthy microenvironment is created around each skin cell: if the cell is not actively dividing, then Melsmon activates this process, and if it is hyperactive, it normalizes, as, for example, melanocyte cells responsible for pigment production. Thus, the mechanism of suppression of hyperactive division is turned on. As a result, age spots fade and disappear.
The unique drug Melsmon is included in the composition of 3D mesothreads, which can have a powerful rejuvenating effect. Opening under the skin, they not only remove traces of excessive pigment but also remarkably tighten the tissues, providing a lifting effect. Therefore, Melsmon threads are recommended for mature fabrics.
To remove pigmentation, placental peeling or resurfacing is also used – rubbing into the skin of a bioactive extract based on the placenta, which whitens, rejuvenates the skin, smoothing and improving its color. This is a universal procedure suitable for everyone and always.
Plasma therapy against age spots
Plasma therapy is an injection method for stimulating tissue regeneration by administering a drug from the patient’s blood. This ensures complete biocompatibility and virtually eliminates the risk of an allergic reaction.
The technique has no age and seasonal restrictions, goes well with other cosmetic procedures and has a minimum of contraindications.
For injections, plasma is obtained from the patient’s blood using a special centrifuge. During processing, erythrocytes and leukocytes are removed from it, and at the same time, the process of saturation with platelets occurs. Platelets are small non-nuclear bodies in the blood responsible for coagulation. In addition, they contain a large proportion of biologically active substances (including proteins, minerals, amino acids, hormones, vitamins, and glucose), which take part in the regenerating processes of the entire organism. Thus, the patient’s platelet-rich plasma, injected into problem areas, activates the regenerative processes in the tissues and starts the process of “self-rejuvenation.”
Peptides against hyperpigmentation
The peptide preparation Aquashine (Aquashine) can slow down the aging of the dermis at the cellular level.
Peptides are organic substances that regulate the state of cells. When introduced into the body, they make the cells work properly. Aquashine products contain several peptides. For example, Acetyl Decapeptide-3 activates the production of fibroblasts. Oligopeptide-24 improves skin regeneration, increases collagen production, improves tone, and reduces scars. Oligopeptide-34 stops the aging process energizes skin cells, and reduces the manifestations of pigmentation. Oligopeptide-72 prevents the formation of wrinkles and smoothes the skin. Oligopeptide-23 improves metabolism. Oligopeptide-51 reduces pores and stimulates the formation of elastin.
In addition to peptides, the products of the line contain hyaluronic acid, vitamins, 24 amino acids, minerals, and other components.
Hyaluronic acid is contained in Aquashine preparations in two forms – high and low molecular weight. At the same time, high molecular weight acid helps to carry peptides into the layers of the skin and accumulate them; low molecular weight acid quickly saturates the skin with moisture and serves as a “transport” for other components.Hyaluronic acid against hyperpigmentation
Hyaluronic acid is also effective in fighting natural, age-related, and other types of hyperpigmentation. In particular, cosmetologists use drugs such as Restylane and Belotero in various modifications to remove skin defects.
Preparations can be used independently and with various vitamins and substances that lighten the skin. As part of the course, mesotherapy. The Restylane and Bnlotero preparations moisturize the skin, create a long-term rejuvenation effect, and fill fine wrinkles and skin irregularities.