What is Skin Pigmentation?
Skin lightening can be achieved by changing or suppressing the behavior of the melanocytes in the basal skin layer. Lightening takes longer than bleaching, but it is still highly effective and much safer.
DermaQuest Skin Therapy has chosen skin lightening over skin bleaching due to its proven safety compared to hydroquinone (the only known skin bleach), which the FDA has determined can be toxic.
Hyperpigmentation is a concentrated and usually localised increase in the skin’s natural colour, most often caused by sun exposure. It is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin due to melanin deposits. The visible patches are called “solar lentigines,” commonly referred to as age or liver spots. These small, darkened patches are usually found on the hands and face and any other areas that receive frequent sun exposure. Some areas, such as the left side of the face and the left arm for frequent drivers, will have more hyperpigmented areas than areas not exposed.
Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body, most commonly on the face and arms. Freckles are an inherited characteristic, and are triggered by sun exposure.
Melasma or chloasma spots are similar in appearance to solar lentigines (age spots), but are larger and result from hormonal changes. Pregnancy, for example, can trigger the overproduction of melanin that causes the “mask of pregnancy” on the face and darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas. Women who take birth control pills may also develop hormone-induced hyperpigmentation because their bodies undergo similar hormonal changes to those that occur during pregnancy. Post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy can also trigger melasma/chloasma. Skin conditions such as acne may leave dark spots after the condition clears, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These spots are caused by the hyperproduction of melanin during irritation and healing. Injuries to the skin, including some surgeries, can also cause dark spots
Prevention of hyper-pigmentation
Ultraviolet (UV) sunlight causes excessive melanin production, when the melanocytes are stimulated and melanin is deposited to protect the skin from overexposure. The visible result of this process is further darkening of areas that are already hyperpigmented, and darkening of new areas that were previously undamaged. Therefore, use of sun protection factor (SPF) products is a must for every skincare client. SPF products allow the skin to absorb the harmful energy of the sun’s rays to prevent hyperpigmentation. The sun screen must be “broad spectrum,” meaning that it blocks both ultraviolet A and B rays.
Treatment of hyper-pigmentation
Treatment of hyperpigmentation must include exfoliation products as well as skin lightening products. DermaQuest™ Skin Therapy products do not include hydroquinone, a phenolic ingredient, instead achieving results with non-phenolic ingredients such as arbutin, emblica and licorice root. These non-phenolic “skin brighteners” inhibit free tyrosinase production, in an action similar to that of hydroquinone but without the damage
Professional treatments for hyperpigmentation include alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) resurfacing. These treatments are performed in a series beginning with skin pre-conditioning with the Balancing Kit and then upgrading to home care resurfacing products such as Glyco Lotion [12%].
Using DermaQuest's Skin Vitalight is an essential step in pre-conditioning for the series to suppress the activities of the melanocyte activity relevant to exfoliation and while also lightening the skin.
The series will methodically exfoliate the discoloured epidermal cells, while allowing the lightening products to decrease pigmentation on the skin. Post treatment, skin lighteners and SPFs must be continued to maintain the lightened skin.