Having a gorgeous, glowing complexion is a goal everyone shares. However, the key to Instagram-worthy skin is an evenly toned complexion, which is something that may be difficult to achieve for those with pigmentation issues such as dyschromia. At Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY we believe having radiant skin is easy with the right dyschromia treatment!
Can Pigmentation Be Removed?
Can pigmentation be removed? The short answer is yes. Pigmentation issues are removed or made less obvious in dermatology clinics every day. In fact, dealing with pigmentation issues is one of the most common problems we deal with day-to-day.
We understand that pigmentation issues can be devastating for many patients and that seeking treatment can often be frustrating. An uneven complexion caused by pigmentation issues can be a cause for loss of self-esteem, lower self-confidence, and even the development of social anxiety. When you aren’t comfortable in your skin, it can be difficult to feel comfortable in your daily life, too. Treatment to remove pigmentation at our office can help you renew and replenish your confidence.
What Does Pigmentation Look Like?
Pigmentation can look like a lot of things. Broadly speaking, pigmentation issues are any skin-related condition that causes the skin to look lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Pigmentation can be localized to one region, such as the face, or it can be on multiple areas of the body.
Pigmentation can present in many ways, such as:
- Patchy or discolored skin
- Redness or dark spots
- Damage caused by sun
- Loss of pigment on skin
Pigmentation issues can appear as small as freckles or as large as the palm of the hand. Some patients are born with pigmentation concerns, such as dark or red birthmarks in irregular shapes on the face or body. Discussing your pigmentation concerns with a dermatologist will help determine the severity of your condition.
What Is Dyschromia?
Dyschromia is a medical term that refers to any irregular discoloration on the skin, which can include dark spots and lighter patches. Dyschromia is one of the more common pigmentation issues suffered by many patients across the nation. Dyschromia is almost twice as common in women as in men.
Common Dyschromia Conditions
There are enough pigmentation issues that divining which condition you have can be difficult. There are a handful of skin conditions that are related to dyschromia that are commonly treated at dermatology clinics. Dyschromia can include the following conditions:
Melasma appears as brown, grey, or grey-brown patches on the skin. Melasma is typically found on the face, particularly the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and upper lip. Melasma can also be found on other areas of the body that are frequently exposed to sun, such as the shoulders, upper arms, chest, back, and even the legs.
Hyperpigmentation is characterized by small dark-colored patches on the skin. Hyperpigmentation usually appears on skin that is exposed to sunlight, including both the face and the body. Hyperpigmentation often clusters in a way similar to freckles.
Similar to hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears as small patches of brown or red skin that is left behind after inflammation of the skin. The most common type of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs with acne, where the hyperpigmentation is seen in the area of previous skin inflammation.
Hypopigmentation is the opposite of the previous skin conditions. Hypopigmentation is characterized by small light-colored patches on the skin. Hypopigmentation typically presents as areas of skin that are lighter than the natural skin tone but that are not completely without color. Although related, hypopigmentation and vitiligo are not the same condition.
What Causes Dyschromia?
Many patients who suffer from dyschromia want to know what causes the skin condition, especially because this condition can be a cause for cosmetic self-consciousness. There are several factors that are common causes for dyschromia, including:
Age-relating skin changes are responsible for many cosmetic concerns, such as skin laxity and the formation of wrinkles. Aging is also responsible for the development of dyschromia, particularly as dark spots and sun damage. Why? The easiest explanation is that aging skin is not as strong or resilient as youthful skin. It is also true that aging skin displays damage that has occurred over the lifetime, which is especially true in the case of sun damage.
Genetics determines everything about you, including how much melanin you are able to retain in each of your skin cells. Melanin is responsible for the pigment of your skin, which means those with less melanin have lighter complexions and those with more melanin have darker complexions. Melanin is also part of the reason why some people can tan under the sun and why others burn.
For dyschromia, the amount of melanin in your individual skin cells is determined by your genetics, and that means that you may have a genetic predisposition to lose melanin. Many patients with pigmentation who cannot pinpoint a single cause – such as sun exposure or injury to the skin – often site genetics as being the cause for the seemingly random loss or gain of melanin.
Some medications are responsible for the development of dyschromia, particularly medications that are applied topically. Dyschromia caused by topical medications was much more common in medications used before the 80s, but some topical medications today can still cause pigmentation damage if exposed to excessive sunlight.
There are some physical conditions that can cause dyschromia. For example, skin rashes associated with viral or bacterial infections like chicken pox or measles can leave pigmentation evidence on the skin after the infection is one. Dyschromia can also be caused by physical damage to the skin, such as a scrape or a burn. Acne is another physical condition that can create darker patches on the skin, such as with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
A treatment for dyschromia is any dermatological intervention that aims to even out the tone or complexion of the skin. For dermatologists, determining the type of dyschromia treatment that is appropriate for you depends entirely on the condition of your skin, particularly the type of pigmentation issue you have and the severity of the issue. There are several treatments that can be used to treat dyschromia, including:
Laser toning is a type of laser treatment that penetrates the sub-dermal layers of the skin without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. Laser toning treatment is used to decreased the amount of melanin in affected skin cells. This treatment can be used to treat superficial pigmentation issues, such as sun damage and dark spots.
Fractional laser treatments use dispersed laser energy to create micro-injuries to the skin that stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. Fractional lasers help the body create new skin cells, which can reverse the appearance of pigmentation issues.
Microneedling is a promising treatment for several dyschromia skin conditions. Microneedling involves creating micro-injuries on the skin that induce the body’s natural regenerative abilities, which can stimulate the production of melanin within the skin and assist with treating depigmentation. Microneedling is especially helpful with hypopigmentation and other related conditions.
Vitamin C Iontophoresis
Vitamin C Iontophoresis is a treatment that is used to inhibit or prevent the production of melanin in the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of dyschromia. This treatment combines the topical application of concentrated Vitamin C serum and a gentle electric current to promote deeper penetration of the serum. This treatment is thought to be more preventative to sun damage than sunscreen.
Some prescription-strength topical creams are also used to treat dyschromia. Topical creams are generally used to lighten the tone of skin and are appropriate for patients with severe or large patches of discoloration. It is common to use hydroquinone or steroid creams to correct dark pigmentation concerns. Sometimes we also combine these creams with other treatments to enhance results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Laser Treatments Work?
Laser treatments and other energy-based treatments for skin resurfacing are effective for treating dyschromia because they take advantage of the body’s natural regenerative response to injury. Laser treatments create minor damage to the skin surface and the top-most dermal layers, which prompts the body to generate certain proteins and enzymes in the skin. In the case of dyschromia, laser treatments can help the body turn over skin cells and correct the amount of melanin that is present in the skin.
Why Is Vitamin C Important?
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the body and the skin. Vitamin C serums applied to the skin can inhibit the production of certain enzymes that assist in the development of melanin, which can reverse and prevent mild pigmentation concerns. Vitamin C is also regarded as a safe, more natural treatment as it is able to lighten darker skin without damaging the lighter skin around it. Vitamin C serums and other topical products can help even skin tone and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Are Dyschromia Treatments Permanent?
While most treatments for dyschromia conditions can last for a long time, the results are not usually permanent. It is possible for these treatments to last for several years, after which the pigmentation issues will return. Laser-based treatments can last for one to four years or more, while other treatments can last for several months to one year.
Will Pigmentation Come Back?
It is possible for pigmentation to return. Pigmentation that is linked to genetic predisposition can mean that dyschromia will return at some point after the effectiveness of the treatment wears off. Other pigmentation issues, such as those associated with injury to the skin, can mean the return of pigment gain or loss depending on the depth of the injury.
Pigmentation caused by sun damage or sun exposure can be limited by regular application of sunscreen, but that does not always prevent pigmentation issues from returning.
When Can I See Results?
You will see results depending on what type of treatment you are having. For laser-based treatments, the results can be seen after skin is done healing, which is usually about five to seven days after treatment. For topical treatments, you can see results between two and four weeks of consistent use of the product.
Am I a Candidate for Treatment?
Any adult who is suffering from pigmentation issues is likely a candidate for one or more of our dyschromia treatments. Ideal candidates are those who do not have any additional skin condition issues, such as psoriasis, eczema, or melanoma. You may be a good candidate for these treatments if you want to:
- Perfect skin complexion
- Correct uneven skin tone
- Reduce the appearance of dark spots
- Improve sun damage
- Reduce the appearance of scar damage
Renew Your Skin and Remove Pigmentation With Dyschromia Treatment!
A glowing, gorgeous complexion doesn’t have to be an unobtainable dream. If you’re ready to renew your skin and remove pigmentation, then it’s time to rethink the way you treat your skin. If you think any of our dyschromia treatments are right for you, contact Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to schedule your consultation!