What is Pigment : The formation of pigment is created by a cell called the Melanocyte which is found in the lowest layer of the epidermis called the basal cell layer. The basic color of the skin is determined by the concentration of these Melanocytes which produce a pigment called melanin when exposed to UV light. This response is a result of a chain reaction that occurs to protect the skin from UV damage by forming an “umbrella” over the chromosomes in the cell and therefore protect its DNA. As the skin cell ages and moves up towards the skin surface (and of course closer to the UV rays), it sends a message back to the Melanocytes to make more pigment.
Pigment has an important job to protect the skin against UV rays. The UV rays damage proteins that form the skin cell, and all dermal structures including the blood vessels. It also destroys the receptors that utilize vitamins for repair and defense and will damage the cell DNA rendering the cell irreparable. An enzyme ‘Terosinase’ is essential for the formation of Melanin but needs to have oxidation to work. That is why antioxidants are so effective against pigment problems and have a skin lightening effect. Acidity can also transform melanin into colorless melanin and that is why acidic products such as Vitamin C work so well.
To describe skin types we commonly use a “Fitzpatrick Skin Classification”.
- Type 1 has very fair skin, blond hair, light eyes, always burns and never tans.
- Type 2 also has fair skin, usually burns and takes a while to achieve a tan.
- Type 3 has a fair to olive skin, brown hair sometimes burns and will tan easily.
- Type 4 will have olive to light brown skin and rarely burns.
- Type 5 has dark brown skin, black hair, dark brown eyes and very rarely burns.
- Type 6 will have black skin, hair and eyes and almost never burns.
Causes of Pigmentation
- UV Exposure
- Photo-allergy which occurs from using substances such as fragrances including aftershaves, essential oils, disinfectants, medications, herbal medications and surprisingly some sunscreens.
- Genetic factors which include the Fitzpatrick Skin Classification above.
- Hormonal influences
- Trauma including Acne, scars, and inflammation.
- Vitamin A, C and essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Types of Pigmentation
Diagnosing pigmentation is difficult and the Medical Practitioners at Face Today Medi Clinc specialize in skin pigment problems and procedures.
- Chloasma and Melasma are used to describe hormonal pigmentation often appearing during pregnancy, with ovarian or thyroid dysfunction and when taking the contraceptive pill or other medication. It usually occurs towards the centre of the face where as sun damage occurs towards the outer area of the face. It is resistant to treatment and sometimes can temporarily improve it but then return darker than before. Malasma will often fade in time but is better controlled with Tyrosinase inhibiters such as Face Today Rx Skincare’s A-Luminere.
- Solar Lentigines occur in fairer skin types and are caused by repeated sun and sun bed exposure and evolve slowly over time. The colour of these lesions can be improved with Chemical peels, Intense Pulse Light and Photodynamic Therapy. In the long term the DNA of the cell is altered and the underlying skin is permanently damaged. Doctors at Face Today are happy to check any of these pigmented or irregular spots on the skin for cancerous changes.
- Freckles are common in fair skinned people and are usually occur across the nose and cheeks. Those who have freckles seem to be more prone to skin cancers and the Doctors at Face Today Mediclinic are experts. The favourite treatment is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) which has a wow effect after treatment as the freckles darken and gradually disappear.
- Poikiloderma or pure Sun Damage is a combination of pigmentation and the destruction of skin cells, blood vessels, collagen and elastin. It is commonly found on the sides of the neck and décolletage where less attention has been applied to protection of the skin or photosensitive fragrances and chemicals have been applied. The most impressive treatment for this condition is Intense Pulsed Light combined with Regen PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and medical grade skin care including Face Today Rx skincare Nouveau (The gentle Retin A that is found naturally in the skin) and Nutrify (a powerful and natural antioxidant).
- Post Inflammatory Pigmentation is usually caused by an inflammatory response of the skin to trauma, infection, allergic reactions, picking or surgical procedures, burns and skin irritations such as dermatitis combined with UV exposure during the first days of healing. Face Today Rx Luminaire is used to reduce the pigmentation but also repair and calm the skin.
- Loss of pigment can be permanent and is caused by UV exposure or skin trauma. It is usually combined with hyperpigmentation and treatment usually combines Intense Pulse Light or chemical peels to lighten and blend darker pigmentation with surrounding skin. Several treatments of Regen PRP(Platelet Rich Plasma) are used with amazing results to repair damaged skin cells and stimulate the Melanocytes to repopulate the damaged skin cells. Because the Vitamin A and C skin receptors have been damaged, it is important to use topical Face Today Rx Nouveau (Retinaldihyde that is non-irritating and found naturally in the skin) and the FaceToday Rx Skincare Nutrify, a potent antioxidant serum.
Treatment of Pigmentation.
Each person needs to have a consultation with our expert Doctors and Nurses to determine how your individual pigmentation should be treated. A Visa analysis will determine the degree and depth of the pigmentation and can also show the improvements throughout your treatment. Depending on the depth and type of pigmentation treatment recommendations could include Intense Pulsed Light, Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, Portrait Plasma Resurfacing, Regen PRP(Platelet Rich Plasma), Tyrosinase Inhibitors and medical grade Face Today Rx Skincare.
- Cleanse with Face Today Rx Skincare’s Deluxe Enzyme Cleanser to help gently remove the dead pigmented skin cells.
- Gently exfoliate with Face Today Rx Skincare’s Reveal Enzyme Mask to soften and remove those annoying pigmented epidermal cells on the surface of the skin.
- Apply Face Today Rx Skincare’s A- Luminere serum, a totally natural, gentle Tyrosinase inhibitor combine with skin calming agents and Retinaldyhide (a form of Vitamin A found naturally in the skin).
- Also essential is a powerful antioxidant serum, Face Today Rx Skincare’s Nutrify that will assist to repair and revitalize damaged inflamed skin cells.
- So important is the Sun block protection, Face Today Rx Skincare’s Parasol, which is like the melanin, shelters the DNA of the skin cells from the damaging UV rays.
- The Face Today Rx Shelter can be combined with the beautiful Face Today Rx Skincare’s Moisture Devine.