Treating Hyperpigmentation in the Winter

Hyperpigmentation is a condition whereby a segment skin becomes darker than the surrounding skin.  This ailment is caused by a persistent buildup of melanin within layers of skin cells.

Melanin is the substance secreted within skin cells in response to external stimulation such as sun damage or trauma. It is also responsible for tanning.

Hyperpigmentation can occur in all skin types.  It most commonly occurs in areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun.

Even though, with light sun exposure, a tan can look healthy, the repeated sun exposure causes cumulative damage to skin cells over time.  Here at Maine Laser Skin Care, we frequently make the analogy to rust.

Rust develops on metal over time with gradual exposure to oxygen and moisture.  Similarly, gradual sun exposure on the skin results in accumulation of melanin within those skin cells, and then the development of persistent "age spots," or a blotchy appearance to the skin.

Some medications for a variety of conditions can make your skin most sensitive, and can actually further enhance the development of hyperpigmentation.  Hormone changes due to medication, pregnancy, or menopause can also sensitize the skin to the sun, and again promote hyperpigmentation.  Melasma, or "mother's mask," during or after pregnancy is one such example.

So we know what hyperpigmentation is.  What can we do about it?

First and foremost, prevention is key.  Wearing sunscreen every day regardless of weather is a major part, and avoiding the sun as much as possible (e.g. seeking shade, wearing hats and SPF clothing, etc.).  Even after treatments to remove sun damage induced pigmented areas, prevention will maintain your investment in younger-looking and less-blotchy skin.

Chemical peels and exfoliation will help if the hyperpigmentation is very superficial and recently appearing.  However, if the darker and the larger pigmented areas are generally caused by longer term damage to deeper layers of the exposed skin, more aggressive treatments are needed to deal with the deeper pigmented cells.

That's where laser treatments come in.  Specific and precise wavelengths of laser energy can be used to target the melanin pigmentation of the damaged skin cells.

This pulse of laser energy causes those cells to exfoliate at a much faster rate than surrounding undamaged skin.  This process results in a progressive lightening of the pigmented spots over a series of treatments.

As you can tell from our name Maine Laser Skin Care, laser treatments are one of our many strengths.  We have been performing cutting-edge laser skin procedures in Maine since 2003, and have one of longest track records for these treatments in the state.

Don't trust your skin, especially your face, with just anybody.  Our staff has the most training and experience to assess your skin pigmentation issues and construct an individualized treatment plan.

To schedule your appointment and start your journey for refreshed and most youthful skin, call us either at (207) 303-0125 in Scarborough, or at (207) 873-2158 in Augusta.  The number of laser treatments you may need depends, of course, on the extent of skin pigmentation and damage, and/or the goals of the individual, and we can discuss these and other treatment options with a free and confidential consultation.