What you need to know about lightening pigmentation
Let’s face it. Pigmentation in this part of the world are like crooked teeth in the West. Just like perfect, straight teeth are considered beautiful among our Western counterparts, perfectly clear, blemish-free, porcelain skin is prized in Asia, and women here undoubtedly spend more time and effort to ensure their faces are free from pigmentation.
Ironically, Asian women are more prone to experiencing pigmentation because of higher melanin concentrations in their skin. One of the main culprits of skin pigmentation is excessive sun exposure. Other culprits include hormonal changes and inflammatory skin condition. In fact, two of the most common hyperpigmentation problems seen here are melasma sunspots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Sun spots, also known as age or liver spots or solar lentigenes are patches of darkened skin resulting from exposure to the sun. They often look like round or oval patches of darkened skin in people aged 40 and above in sun-exposed areas such as the face, back, arms and feet.
Triggered predominantly by sun exposure and hormonal influences, what distinguishes this condition from other forms of hyperpigmentation is that melasma is incredibly stubborn and difficult to treat. Conditions such as pregnancy and taking oral contraceptive pills have been known to trigger or darken melasma, as do other hormonal therapies.
The truth is if you have melasma, you should try to avoid direct and long exposure to the sun and also avoid the heat. This means places such as hot saunas and steam rooms are not advised for you.
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Call it a little unfair, but women have much higher risks of having melasma than men, and if you have darker skin. Melasma is harmless to our health but it could reduce a person’s self-esteem, as it can be quite extensive and not limited to the cheek areas, with the ability to cover the forehead, bridge of nose, and even the upper lips.
Effective laser treatments and topical creams have been found to be effective in treating melasma. Laser treatments are generally a popular choice as visible improvements can be seen in 1 or 2 sessions.
Pico Discovery Plus which is equipped with 3 different laser wavelengths uses the latest picosecond laser technology, as well as an IPL. This treatment has been studied in many clinical trials and has been shown to be very successful in treating pigmentation and even the removal of tattoos.
Utilizing premier Fraxel technology, Fraxel Light can help to improve dull, fatigued complexions and even correct skin discolouration and texture irregularities without significant downtime. The microlaser peel works well to erase stubborn pigmentation and other imperfections such as pores, lines and rough dull skin. At the same time, this laser energy encourages cellular renewal, self-repair and collagen replenishment for an enviable radiance.
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If laser treatments aren’t what you’re after, consider a topical alternative like Super White, with Cysteamine as its key ingredient. Super White is applied as an intensive 15-minute treatment mask to lighten existing pigmentation.
In the past the go-to for depigmentation creams would be hydroquinone. However, cysteamine is set to replace hydroquinone as a novel, safe and effective depigmenting treatment for hyperpigmentation, amidst growing fears of hydroquinone’s carcinogenicity and links to ochronosis.
Cysteamine, which is already naturally present in human cells such as breast milk, works to reduce melanin in the epidermis and has been found to reduce pigmented marks and achieve a more uniform and lighter complexion. Super White is available at aesthetic clinic, SW1 Clinic.
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