Pigmentation / Melasma Treatment

Hyperpigmentation is the name that doctors give to patches of skin that become darker than the normal surrounding skin area. It affects many of us in many different ways. Melasma is one of the common hyperpigmentation disorder many Malaysian faces. 

We interviewed Dr. Edmond Lau about Hyperpigmentation and melasma, as well as the treatment option we have in Malaysia.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

The term hyperpigmentation refers to an increased in pigments. When it is used to describe the skin, hyperpigmentation means the skin produces more melanin (skin pigment), giving rise to a darker patch of skin. Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition and it affects people of all skin types.

Are all Hyperpigmentation the same?

There are many different types of hyperpigmentation of the skin. Some forms of hyperpigmentation, including melasma and sunspots, are more likely to affect skin that is exposed to the sun such as, face, arms, and legs. Other types of hyperpigmentation can occur anywhere on the body after an injury to the skin or skin inflammation.

Having extra pigment is usually harmless, but some hyperpigmentation condition can indicate a certain medical condition. The hyperpigmentation that affect the face can lead to one loss of self-confidence, and can even lead to depression.

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How to prevent hyperpigmentation?

To prevent hyperpigmentation, or to stop it from becoming more prominent.

Avoid exposure to the sun. Use a topical sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher. Try Heliocare FernMar Plus for its sun protection benefits.

Avoid picking at your skin. To prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, do not pick on acne, scabs or spots.

Speak to your doctor if skin hyperpigmentation arises after oral contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy. Some of these hormonal therapies can give rise to a hyperpigmentation skin problem such as melasma.

How to get rid of hyperpigmentation?

Although hyperpigmentations are harmless, many people wish to get rid of them. Before starting on any treatment, you should get your hyperpigmentation checked by a doctor to establish the diagnosis.

There is a range of possible treatment methods that you can do to reduce your hyperpigmentation.

Topical Creams.

Topical creams and cosmeceutical are probably the most commonly used treatment modalities for hyperpigmentation. Topical creams and medication that contains skin lightening agents are helpful to control and reduce skin hyperpigmentation. Commonly used skin lightening agents include;

Azelaic Acid, Corticosteroids, hydroquinone, Kojic Acid, Arbutin, retinoids, Vitamin C and Niacinamide.

Cosmetic dermatology procedure:

Certain procedures can also help improve and lighten skin hyperpigmentation. Some of these procedures include:

Laser therapy (PicoWay Laser, Dual Yellow Laser, Q-switch Lasers), Chemical Peels, mesotherapy and Microdermabrasion such as GentlePeel and SilkPeel.

People who are considering to undergo one of this procedure should consult their doctor about the benefits and potential side effects of each of these treatments prior to their treatments.

Oral supplements:

A certain oral supplement can also help improve the appearance of skin hyperpigmentation. One of the more popular supplement among melasma sufferer is Crystal Tomato.

Generally, combination treatments work best for skin hyperpigmentations.

What is your advice for people suffering hyperpigmentation?

The result of hyperpigmentation these days is generally satisfactory. Although we may not stop pigmentation from building up, with combination and consistent treatments, we can keep hyperpigmentation controlled.

My advice to people with skin hyperpigmentation is to get professional advice early. At Ko Skin Specialist, all our doctors are well trained to deal with skin hyperpigmentation issue.

Dr. Edmond Lau is a fully certified medical aesthetic physician at Ko Skin Specialist, currently practicing at Klinik Dr. Ko, Juru Penang. He has a MB BCh BAO (Ireland), Diploma in Dermatology (Australia), Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine (US), and he is a KKM fully certified Medical Aesthetic Practitioner (LCP-holder).

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