Pigmentation FAQ


Pigmentation or hyper pigmentation is a term that is used to describe the appearance of dark spots, patches or even general darkening of the skin. The upper layers of the skin contains cells call melanocytes which produce pigment called melanin.

Human beings come in a spectacular spectrum of colours light, dark , freckled, auburn, blonde, brunette, grey or black hair. It’s amazing to think that this is due to a single type of pigment called melanin. The melanin is evenly distributed in our skin and gives us our skin colour .

Other than to colour the skin (plus hair and eyes), the role of melanin is to protect the skin – it absorbs UVB radiation from the sun. A sun tan (melonogenesis) is the result of higher melanin production, the body’s own defences against that damaging UVB.

Excessive skin pigmentation is a result of abnormal producti
on and deposition of melanin by the melanocytes. Production of melanin is dependent on UV or sun exposure, and is a natural protective mechanism of the skin.

Hyperpigmentation, areas that are darker than the rest of the skin, result from excess melanin production and deposition. This discussion will only encompass pigmentation that is in the skin, and will not involve discussion of raised pigmented lesions, moles, or skin cancers.

Hypopigmentation is the loss of skin pigmentation. This will not be discussed here.

Excess skin pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation is usually caused by an overwhelming of the melanin-protective system. This leads to excess production and clumping of melanin, and the appearance of brown or darker spots of pigmentation in the skin.

There are various causes of hyper-pigmentation both external and internal factors. The commonest external cause of is exposure to ultra violet radiation from the sun whereas the commonest internal cause is hormonal changes.

The skin’s natural protection mechanism is to inject melanin or pigment like an umbrella over the cell nucleus, to try to prevent DNA damage. Unfortunately, too much UV oxidises the melanin, creating the freckles or dark spots, and will still damage skin cell DNA. Once the DNA has mutated, it will keep repeating this cell mutation.

Pigmentation problems can be broken down as follows 

  • Freckles: A cluster of cells which have produced more melanin. They’re prominent on people with fair skin. Most common in children, they’re caused by exposure to the sun.
  • Sun spots/age spots: Appear as a result of exposure to the sun over a long period of time.
  • Melasma: Also known as pregnancy mask, this is the darkening of the skin on the face and body
  • Post-inflammatory: Any dark mark which is left on the skin after a burn, spot, cut or other injury has healed, due to the trauma the skin has endured. Acne scars come under this category.













Treatment varies depending on the type of pigmentation problem and the individual’s skin.

A full clinical assessment is performed at your initial consultation including an examination under the Woods Lamp ( UV light) which helps determine the severity and depth of pigmentation

The more superficial the pigmentation the easier it responds to treatment: there is no perfect one treatment fixes all option !

  • Skin care  At Jeunesse MedSpa® we use a variety of skin care ranges including OsmosisMD, Aspect Dr, SkinMedica and Cosmedix. We use a combination of hero products from each range to given you optimum results
  • Prescription strength topical creams – Our doctors can have a bespoke prescription compounded for you to speed up the process which may include hydroquinone, vitamin A and a mild steroid or a combination of hydroquinone and kojoic acid ( pigment blocker )
  • Dermal Infusions – Many forms of hyper pigmentation exist on the upper layers of the epidermis, hence an infusion – which removes blemishes and dull cells from the surface – can prove successful. It also improves the visible texture and smoothness of the skin, so is an ideal all-round, low-maintenance treatment.
  • Light based therapy – IPL / Laser and light rejuvenation is generally acknowledged as a more permanent and visible solution. At  Jeunesse MedSpa®  we use Intense Pulsed Light treatment, which targets, breaks-up and lightens deep sun damage to create a more even skin tone. Although a single session can show notable improvements, a course of three or four treatments is usually recommended.

Although pigmentation is a natural and unavoidable part of ageing, you can take steps to minimise its effects.

  • Use a broad-spectrum moisturiser that protects you from the sun. Don’t just leave the sun cream for the summer holiday – wear a daily SPF, especially on the face, ideally a minimum of 30+. For women, there are plenty of foundations that also have SPF built in, but a quality mineral-based sunscreen will protect your face and can be worn under make up too.
  • Leave any spots, scabs and lesions alone to prevent scratching and damaging the skin surface. By disturbing the skin cells, you are causing them to react and leave a mark.
  • Regular dermal therapy in clinic treatments can rid the body of dull skin cells and moisturising afterwards can help the skin become more resistant to scratches, etc.
  • Though there is no evidence to suggest a link with diet, it goes without saying that good skin does come from within. A healthy and balanced diet, crammed with antioxidants, should enable your skin to better protect itself whilst making you feel and look great.

The first step towards clear skin, is simply contacting us for your initial consultation with one of our doctors, where we will discuss  assess and discuss your needs  and plan your pigmentation treatment.


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