Melanin is the pigment that provides the majority of the colour in the skin. Sometimes, areas of skin can develop that have greater levels of melanin than the rest, and this is known as hyperpigmentation. Exposure to sunlight causes greater amounts of melanin to be synthesised, which increases the risk of uneven pigmentation across the body. Some medical conditions also alter the skin pigments.
There are now a number of ways in which the skin pigmentation can be made more even. Avoiding exposure to the sun is the first step that should be taken, as this means that melanin synthesis will slow down, and regular use of sunscreen will also be beneficial. It is then possible to reduce the level of pigment in highly affected areas of skin through the use of cosmetic treatments.
Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) can both be used in order to reduce levels of melanin. These can break down the pigment and cause bleaching of the skin. However, as this is a lasting treatment leading to depigmentation, it must be carried out gradually, using extreme caution. Sessions should be approximately four weeks apart, and it will be necessary for you to follow the skincare advice that your therapist will provide. You are likely to experience a number of side effects, such as the formation of scabs and blisters. Resist the urge to scratch at these, because doing so may lead to the onset of scarring, which could be more unsightly than the original problem of uneven skin pigmentation.
*Individual results may vary