Pigmentation concerns about your skin can make anyone feel self-conscious about their appearance. For some, cosmetics can be used to cover up dark spots, but those results are only temporary; others may try to use brightening products, but those results may not be as effective as you hope. At Rejuvené MD in El Paso, TX, we know that melasma and pigment correction is most effective when advanced aesthetic treatments are used.
What Can Melasma and Pigment Correction Do for Me?
Melasma and pigment correction refer to any treatment that addresses pigmented lesions on the skin. A pigmented lesion can be anything from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by acne to melasma caused by hormonal changes. Pigmented lesions can also include damage from sun exposure, blemishes, freckles, and overall skin that is not evenly toned.
Melasma and pigment correction treatments essentially speed up the cellular turnover cycle so new, unblemished skin cells are visible. When dark or damaged skin cells are exfoliated from the skin, your skin tone will appear more evenly toned. Correcting pigmentation concerns can make you appear much younger and even healthier, depending on the type and location of your pigment concerns.
What Are Melasma and Pigment Correction Treatments?
There are a few treatments that can be used to address pigmentation concerns. One of the most effective is IPL treatments or intense pulsed light therapy. With this treatment, light waves are used to stimulate cellular turnover and increase blood flow to promote skin healing. IPL treatments are versatile and flexible, so you can address many pigment concerns with only a few treatments.
Another common pigment correction treatment is a chemical peel. Chemical peels are also able to be tailored to your skin type, skin tone, and skin concern. For most, a light chemical peel is adequate for minor pigmentation concerns, while a medium peel is better for addressing melasma or deeper pigmentation concerns. We will help you determine the appropriate peel for your pigmentation concerns.
What Causes Pigmentation Concerns?
There are many causes for pigmentation concerns, and for most people, pigmentation concerns are caused by a combination of factors. What this means for you is that identifying the cause of your pigmentation concern will rely on correctly identifying your skin condition and creating better skincare habits, if possible. The main pigmentation concerns and their causes include:
Melasma is a skin condition characterized by dark patches of skin, typically on the cheeks and nose. Melasma is associated with hormonal changes, particularly in women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who are going through menopause. Hormonal changes affect the way the skin behaves when exposed to melanin-triggering events, such as sun exposure or tanning beds.
As much as we might wish for it, melasma will not go away by itself, unlike some other forms of pigmentation concerns. Melasma often darkens or continues to spread when left untreated. The best way to deal with melasma is to seek expert advice and aesthetic treatments tailored to your skin needs.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is generally associated with acne or other wounds to the skin. This type of pigmentation is temporary, but it can also last for several weeks or months depending on your skin type. People who have sensitive acne-prone skin often contend with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that is resistant to brightening products and exfoliation. IPL treatments and chemical peels are ideal for treating this skin condition.
Uneven Skin Tone
Uneven skin tone is a general term that describes skin that is not evenly toned. While natural skin has a gorgeous marble quality, particularly on the face where there are natural highlights and lowlights, an uneven skin tone is marked by blemishes, spots of red, and minor to moderate discoloration. Correcting an uneven skin tone happens with a combination of the right aesthetic treatment and skin care products.
Sun Damage and Dark Spots
This one is obvious. The main cause of sun damage and dark spots is unprotected exposure to the sun. While it may seem okay to go a day or two without sunscreen, the fact of the matter is that sun damage is cumulative and will catch up with your skin eventually. Most people who develop signs of sun damage during adulthood (particularly middle age) will usually have had bad sun protection habits during their youth.
Exposure to UV rays creates free radicals in the skin cells that cause them to darken, usually in patches on the cheeks, forehead, chest, and shoulders. In addition to unprotected sun exposure being a calling card for potential skin cancer, UV ray damage can also create dark spots that are difficult to reverse without serious cosmetic intervention. It’s always in your best interest to wear SPF when you plan to be outside, or even if you’re sitting near a window on a sunny day.
Which Treatment Is Right for You?
The ideal melasma and pigment correction treatment for you will be determined by a consultation appointment. During your consultation, one of our experts will analyze your skin tone, type, and condition to determine what pigmentation concerns are challenging you. Then we will work together to build a treatment plan that addresses your aesthetic goals.
For some people, IPL treatments or chemical peels alone are adequate to address pigment concerns. For others, it may be necessary to combine or alternate these treatments. We will also discuss skincare habits and products that may be beneficial for your overall goals.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
As with many other aesthetic treatments, you will typically need multiple treatments before you will see significant results. For IPL treatments, it’s common to need three to six treatments spaced a month apart to achieve optimal results. When you have the results you want, you may want to continue IPL treatments with an annual appointment once every six to 12 months depending on the skin concern you are treating.
The frequency you should have a chemical peel will depend on the type of peel and the skin condition you are trying to address. Most people with mild pigmentation concerns can benefit from a light chemical peel, which can be done regularly once a month or once every other month based on your skin type. For those who are using a medium peel, you can do this treatment about once a year to continue concerns like melasma, fine lines, and wrinkles.
When Will You See Results?
Most people will see initial results in as little as one to two treatments of either IPL or chemical peel sessions. Your initial results will continue to improve as new skin cells replace damaged ones. How quickly you will be able to see your final results will depend on the number of treatments you need and how quickly your skin turns over new cells. Your final results should appear about two to four weeks after your last treatment.
How Long Do Results Last?
While some aesthetic concerns, such as scars, can produce long-term results, treating pigmentation concerns is usually only semi-permanent. The longevity of your results will greatly depend on how well you take care of your skin after your treatment. It’s also important to remember that the natural cellular turnover cycle takes about 28 to 40 days to complete, so since your skin is constantly in a state of turnover, certain pigmentation corrections will only be temporary.
That said, treating melasma, sun damage, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can produce long-term results with the right treatment and the right maintenance strategy. This is because these types of pigmentation concerns are generally caused by environmental factors or, in the case of melasma, hormone fluctuations. By making certain lifestyle changes, you can better protect your results.
Lifestyle Changes To Consider
First and foremost, the most beneficial lifestyle change to make is integrating sunscreen into your daily routine, particularly if you plan to be outside. Protecting your skin from UV rays will slow the aging process, prevent sun damage, and also stop pigmentation concerns from darkening. It’s also best to avoid certain activities that can trigger melanin production, such as tanning beds and self-tanning products. You may also want to incorporate skincare products like retinol that encourage cellular turnover or niacinamide to encourage more even-toned skin.
Find Your Melasma and Pigment Correction Treatment
An uneven skin tone can be difficult for anyone to deal with, particularly when over-the-counter products to brighten the skin don’t seem to be very effective. If you’ve been struggling with melasma or other pigment concerns, finding the right treatment can promote even-toned skin. Contact us at Rejuvené MD in El Paso, TX to schedule your first appointment today.