Sadly, the smooth, regular, glowing skin tone of our youth is one of those things that we rarely appreciate until it’s gone. We think of our skin color as a constant that will never change no matter how old we get. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. The aging process and exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays can have a dramatic impact on our skin’s color, texture, and tone. Luckily, irregular pigmentation as a result of aging can be reversed and our natural, youthful glow enhanced successfully, cost-effectively, and without the downtime of surgical procedures.
Our skin gets its natural color from special skin cells that produce melanin. When these special cells get damaged or become unhealthy, they can no longer produce melanin correctly, leading to pigmentation irregularities. Sometimes called “hyperpigmentation”, pigmentation irregularities can take several common forms.
- Age spots or liver spots, sometimes called lentigines, are small, dark patches on the face and hands, usually brought on by exposure to the sun.
- Melasma (chloasma spots) causes the appearance of brown or gray-brown spots on the face, especially the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip. These spots are similar to age spots, but are larger in appearance. They can be formed as a result of exposure to the sun, but may also be the result of hormonal changes such as pregnancy or birth control pills.
- Acne and skin diseases are another common cause of pigmentation irregularities because they may leave dark spots even after the condition clears up.
Gentle Touch Aesthetics and Wellness, located in Los Gatos, California, was founded by primary care physician Dr. Arbella Sarkis with the help of Dr. Esther Chen in order to provide the latest in state-of-the-art pigmentation treatments. By combining the latest medical technologies with a holistic approach designed to treat the whole individual from the inside out, the staff at Gentle Touch Aesthetics and Wellness can help you achieve optimal results: younger, smoother, and more regular skin texture and tone.
PIGMENTATION TREATMENT OPTIONS
In some cases, mild or minor pigmentation irregularities can be treated with prescription-strength creams designed to lighten skin tone. Most of these creams contain hydroquinone, which slows the production of melanin, fading darker skin patches until they match the surrounding skin. For more severe cases of pigmentation irregularity, prescription strength cortisone creams or creams with tretinoin may be recommended. Unfortunately, cases of moderate to severe pigmentation problems may respond very slowly to these creams, which can also be irritating to sensitive skin.
Light-based treatments may prove more effective than creams for these moderate to severe cases of hyperpigmentation. Photofacials using either LED (Light Emitting Diode) or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) are excellent at treating pigmentation irregularities. Flashing the affected skin with either narrow (LED) or broad (IPL) spectrum stimulates the natural production of new collagen, and new skin cells are formed to replace damaged melanin-producing cells, thereby restoring the skin’s natural, youthful coloring and smoothness. Laser treatments can also be highly effective at combating dark spots and other pigmentation problems; however, laser light is extremely intense, and there is a risk of worsening pigmentation problems if the procedure is not conducted by knowledgeable, experienced practitioners.
The best treatment for your pigmentation irregularities depends on the scale of the irregularity, its placement on the body, your aesthetic goals, and your medical history. At your initial consultation, the staff at Gentle Touch Aesthetics and Wellness will conduct a thorough medical review and help you understand all the options available to you, as well as select the treatment option that will maximize your results.