Special care must be taken when treating Hyperpigmentation in darker skin types as they are particularly prone to PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation).
The options are:
1. Chemical peel
2. Micro dermabrasion
1. Chemical peel
Mandelic acid peel with Tyrosinase inhibitors is the treatment of choice for darker skin types as it is a large molecule which takes between 5-8 hours to penetrate the epidermis so is unlikely to leave ‘hot spots’ or PIH.
In addition, the Mandelic peel we use at The Hyperpigmentation Clinic has a number of Tyrosinase Inhibitors including: Kojic Dipalmitate, alpha arbutin and Azelaic acid. These treat the new cells being formed on the basal layer to reduce the activity of the overproducing melanocytes.
The most popular chemical peels currently being used are Glycolic acid or TCA peels, both of which are very small molecules leading to rapid penetration of the skin. If left for slightly too long on darker skin, ‘hot spots’ develop leading to skin damage and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
2. Mirco dermabrasion
This is the mechanical removal of the superficial layer of dead skin cells. This will give you a smoother and clearer complexion, however this is temporary as it does not treat the underlying condition, which will return when the new untreated skin cells arrive at the surface.
This is when a roller of stainless steel needles glide over the skin and cause deliberate micro injuries to the skin. This promotes the body to heal the wounds and normalise the melanin production process. This is a long treatment with about 5 treatments needed every 2 months. It is best to use this treatment in conjunction with other treatments for resistant hyperpigmentation.
Lasers work by photothermolysis. This means a particular laser wavelength is attracted to pigmented areas. However, this is not ideal for darker skin types where there is less difference between the dark lesion and the surrounding skin. Laser should be used with caution in darker skins where there may be scatter of this energy.
Laser works well in Caucasian skin, where the surrounding skin does not absorb this energy, and all its energy goes to the targeted pigmented area.
Unfortunately, in brown-skins, the pigment-producing cells are large & quick to over-react to this heat.
Therefore, in Asian & African skins, the risk of over-stimulation of melanocytes (pigment producing cells) is unacceptably high, which results in hyperpigmentation.
In addition, laser can totally destroy melanocytes, leading to hypopigmentation in all skins. This risk is non-existent in Mandelic acid-based peels, as it is not melano-toxic (destroy melanocytes).
Ingredients to look for in Hyperpigmentation Treatment Products:
There are many products available to treat hyperpigmentation however, you should know the most effective ingredients to look for and know their actions and effect, and so you choose the best product for yourself.
These products are available in chemical peels, creams and ointments:
• Mandelic Acid- This is a safe and effective chemical peel especially in Asian, Arabic and African skin types. Rapid exfoliation of the outer dead skin cells.
• Kojic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Phytic Acid and Azelaic Acid- Tyrosinase Inhibitors to reduce over production of melanin
• Dioic Acid (Octadecene-dioic Acid) is a powerful skin lightener. In clinical studies its been shown to be twice as strong as Hydroquinone.
• Retinol- Encourages rapid cell turn over, evens out pigmented granules, interference with pigment transfer to skin cells and improves penetration of other skin lightening ingredients.
• Salicylic Acid- anti inflammatory, and improves penetration of other skin lightening ingredients.
The Hyperpigmentation Clinic of Harley Street uses the highest quality products and ingredients, including those above, to give you the safest most effective treatment in the form of a Mandelic Acid peel.
Ingredients to avoid:
• Hydroquinone – this is a powerful Tyrosinase Inhibitor, which will lighten the skin. Unfortunately, it can lead to rebound Hyperpigmentation (where the pigmentation comes back worse than before.)
• Glycolic/ TCA peels- These ingredients can lead to Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation after the formation of ‘Hot Spots’ on the skin.