Hyperpigmentation - Dark Skin

People of color are a very large group, which in South Africa includes people of African and Asian descent.

It also includes patients of mixed backgrounds who have more darkly pigmented skin. Darker skin type people represent a significant and growing group of patients seeking aesthetic procedures. This is because of the increased awareness of safe, affordable aesthetic procedures. These procedures include amazing new lasers that are colour blind and are less invasive than previous generations of lasers. Yet special concerns have to be addressed when treating skin of color.

People with darker skin tones are prone to certain skin problems. One of the most common is hyperpigmentation, or dark spots. These spots are caused by an insult to deeply pigmented skin, such as acne, a cut, or a disorder such as psoriasis.

Melanocytes are very sensitive cells and can either stop producing color- hypopigmentation or produce excessive color in cases of inflammation- post inflammatory hyperpigmentation PIH which is most commonly seen in areas where acne blemishes heal, leaving a dark spot behind. These too will fade with time; however, it can be quite persistent.

Skin Renewal Tip

People of colour who are looking to treat PIH with lasers or lights would be well advised to consult with a medical doctor with experience in treating skin of colour to prevent unwanted effects such as full thickness burns, permanent scarring and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. At Skin Renewal hundreds of Patients with dark skin types have been treated for PIH. If the above recommendations and treatments are followed virtually any patient can be a candidate for a lightening of their pigmentation. However PIH is a dynamic condition and one day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1How can one prevent Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation PIH from forming in darker skin types ?
  • 2Is treatment for PIH in Dark Skin Types available at all Skin Renewal branches?
  • If one has a healing acne lesion or cut or insect bite, avoid sun exposure and wear a protective hat when outdoors for extended periods to further block these rays.
  • Treat acne with the Clarity acne range as soon as possible to prevent the formation of PIH
  • Use a a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ to block the UVA rays every day to help prevent PIH .
  • In addition your sunscreen should also contain an anti oxidant as this stops free radicals which cause pigmentation.
  • At least 10 mls of sunscreen should be applied daily to the face and neck twice a day to prevent PIH .
  • Taking an oral anti oxidant supplement such as Pycnogenol from the French Maritime Pinebark is clinically proven to raise one’s level of resistance to the sun and also helps to reduce the melanin content in the skin down the line.
  • As PIH is a dynamic condition and needs to be manage daily and indefinitely. One day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.

Home therapies for Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation PIH in dark skin types:

At Skin Renewal we offer traditional topical home therapies such as AHA s, PHA s, Arbutin, Kojic Acid and Hydroquinone to treat age spots. However these traditional products try combating age spots with disappointing results or worse - cause hypersensitive skin, which in turn aggravates the pigmentation

The traditional way to treat PIH has been to bleach the darkened pigment using hydroquinone based products, whether over-the-counter or prescription. Still, despite best efforts with bleaching agents and exfoliation treatments, pigment from PIH can be stubborn and long lasting. There is a ‘something’ missing in conventional fading creams. Most have side effects. For most people with dark skin, treating pigmentation t is like taking one step forward and one step back. The challenge is to take care of dark skin, fade the dark spots and heal it without scarring

Skin Renewal is pleased to be able to offer the “ something” missing in conventional fading creams .These are recent advances in pigmentation technology such as the recently launched Brighter Concentrate and Luminesce range by Lamelle.

Properties and benefits of Luminesce and Brighter Concentrate by Lamelle :

  • Luminesce and Brighter Concentrate can be safely used in all skin types and will not cause the sensitivity that is associated with traditional lightening/fading creams.
  • Brighter Concentrate and Luminesce, offer advanced pigmentation programs which age spots by reducing melanin at eight points in its production, as opposed to just one point as with other traditional lightening treatments. Brighter Concentrate used twice daily for 8 weeks will reduce the appearance of age spots and is safe for use on all skin types unlike traditional skin lightening cosmeceutical products as well as prescription medications.
  • An added benefit is that the combination of peptides used in the range offers anti-ageing benefits to the skin as they stimulate collagen producing cells.

In Office therapies for Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation PIH in dark skin types:

At Skin Renewal we emphasise that home lightening products such as Lamelle Brighter Concentrate must be used routinely for 2 weeks on the entire before any exfoliation treatment such as peels.

  • Beta Hydroxy Peel With a series of Beta Hydroxy Peels you can quickly achieve substantial improvement in the uneven pigmentation, while making your skin look and feel softer, smoother, and more radiant. Suitable for all skin types
  • LimeLight improves any epidermal pigment in Type 5 skin . This treatment cannot be done on Skin Type 6 ( black skin). The LimeLight procedure can be customized to your skin type and selectively treat the brown pigmentation of PIH in the epidermis . Immediately after the treatment, brown spots will start to darken and your skin may be slightly red. Within one to three weeks, the darkened spots will flake off and fade.
  • Laser Genesis: The epidermis renews itself every six weeks, by six months, any pigment from PIH is probably in the dermis. Traditional skin rejuvenation treatments such as peels, microdermabrasion and bleaching agents are not successful for pigment such as PIH that has leached into the dermis. That is when the use of certain lasers such as the long pulsed Nd Yag become effective to safely treat darker skin including skin type 6. The Laser Genesis procedure by Cutera gently heat the dermis, causing cavitation bubbles, which disrupt the unwanted dermal pigment, breaking it into smaller particles which are able to move upward to the epidermis where it can be easily removed with exfoliation .
  • Transdermal mesotherapy with Brightening mesotherapy & Brighter Concentrate uses peptide technology to reduce melanin at eight points in its production, as opposed to just one point as with other traditional lightening treatments.
  • 10 % TCA overlays in Skin Type 5 & 6 increases the penetration of peels and helps lift resistant pigment
  • PDT Red Light post peel reduces inflammation and evens out skin tone.
  • Chemibrasion ™ is an innovative non-invasive rejuvenating treatment mask peel concept that adds a new dimension to professional superficial peeling with the added benefits of rejuvenation and restoration without aggression or negative side effects and can be used in all skin types
  • Mela T ® peel is a full epidermal peel for PIH that is resistant to treatment with normal superficial AHA and BHA peels and contains: Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Citric acid, TCA and Vitamin A in the form of Retinoic Acid Skin Type 1 to 5 only

Treatment for Hyperpigmentation in black skin is available in Johannesburg, Sandton, Pretoria and Cape Town at the Rivonia, Parkhurst, Sandton, Fourways, Irene, Cpae Quarter, Claremont and Willowbridge branches


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