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Skin Pigmentation

Uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation is result of an over production of melanin. This can be caused by excessive sun exposure, hormones or scarring, leading to a mottled, uneven skin tone.

  1. Sun exposure: brown spots appear as a result of too much melanin being produced to help protect skin from UV light
  2. Hormones: Melasma is a hormone-related skin pigmentation caused by increased hormone stimulation. It very common in pregnancy or through taking contraceptives and can also be a reaction to cosmetics or medications
  3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: this is a darkening of the skin that is the result of scarring, which can be caused by acne lesions or skin injury
    Daily application of an SPF and a brightening skincare regime can help lessen the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Your Question

Q: What is Hydroquinone?

A: Hydroquinone is a topical ingredient popular for skin lightening. It’s classified as an over-the-counter drug in many countries and has been used in concentrations up to 2% within products designed to lighten skin.

While it is popular, there are many concerns regarding its safety. It is estimated that one-third of the population is allergic to Hydroquinone, and skin may become photosensitized with prolonged use, causing an actual darkening of skin. Throughout the years, many highly respected administration agencies have recognized Hydroquinone as a potent cytotoxic (substance toxic to cells).

Q: Why is sun protection important to effective treatment of hyperpigmentation?

A: When a hyperpigmented area is exposed to UV light, more melanin production is triggered on a cellular level, causing further darkening.

Ironically, melanin production and further darkening of skin is just your skin trying to protect itself from UV light. But this can cause the strictest of brightening regimes to fail to produce results. Daily application of a minimum of SPF30 will help shield skin from UV light to control melanin production on a cellular level.

Q: I’m treating my hyperpigmentation, but it’s not going away. Why?

A: It’s important to recognize that there is no quick-fix to hyperpigmentation. However, combining your at-home regime with professional skin pigmentation treatments can expedite the process. It can take up to 50 days for existing hyperpigmentation to lessen in appearance even when skin is being actively treated. This is because hyperpigmentation takes place on a cellular level so it must be controlled before it can be reduced. In addition, if the pigment resides deeper in the skin it is very difficult to treat, and you may need to seek the advice of a physician for a more invasive treatment. If the hyperpigmentation is also being hormonally driven or stimulated, then the cause needs to be corrected. Speak with your professional skin therapist about pairing your at-home regime with a series of professional skin brightening treatments, which can help you see results in as little as 30 days.