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Ever noticed that babies don't seem to have freckles? This is because freckles - although genetic - are not features we are born with - they are features we develop.
Although often regarded as just a common characteristic of a fair complexion, freckles are, in fact, only brought to the surface (in certain predisposed people) over time and exposure to UV light. This is because freckles are small, concentrated spots of a skin pigment which respond to sunlight by prompting an influx of more melanin (the chemical responsible for visible pigment). It is the deposits of melanin in the skin which cause this discolouration.
When this same discolouration becomes more of a generalised complaint, covering larger patches of the skin, we call it Hyperpigmentation.
Your Pigment Problems Solved
All skin types produce a natural chemical known as melanin. Melanin is what is responsible for adding colour to our skin. Some people produce lots of it, and have a subsequently darker complexion, whereas others produce smaller quantities and have a visibly lighter complexion.
How evenly the skin produces that melanin is rather another story. In some people these melanin-producing cells are spread evenly all over the body, in others they are a little more dense and disorganised. This is what results in freckles, dark patches and splotches on the face and body that don't quite match the surrounding skin. In essence: Hyperpigmentation strikes when certain parts of the skin begin making too much melanin. This is often can be triggered by hormone spikes, meaning it is commonly brought on by pregnancy when estrogen and progesterone overstimulate melanin production. This is known specifically as Melasma or Chloasma.
Conversely, the condition hypopigmentation is characterised by a lack of pigment in the skin - a melanin depletion which has stripped the colour from the skin entirely. Vitiligo is a common example of this.
Hyperpigmentation is often embedded in our DNA and therefore genetic. That unfortunately means that those born to hyperpigmentation sufferers - or even just to grandparents with the complaint - run a significantly higher risk of developing it themselves.
...Having said that, it is not exclusively a hereditary condition. Hyperpigmentation can also be a direct result of a number of different hormone-affecting conditions such as Grave's or Addison's disease, Cushing's Syndrome, Coeliac disease, Hyperthyroidism, Type 2 Diabetes - even Ringworm!
But you are not alone. Skin discolouration - such as melasma and vitiligo - has been known to impact many a celebrity too. That's right, Kim K, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Jon Hamm, Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington, Steve Martin, Lindsay Lohan and Louise Redknapp are all right there with you.
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Understanding the origin of your hyperpigmentation will help you both manage and improve it. Hyperpigmentation has 3 main causes:
- Hormone changes (such as those that occur with pregnancy, contraceptive-use, illness, medication etc.)
- Trauma (scarring from things such as burns, infection, acne, physical injury etc.)
- Sun exposure (exposure to intense or prolonged UV radiation)
Moderate hyperpigmentation can be somewhat managed at home with products such as chemical exfoliants - those containing a low dose of Glycolic or Alpha-hydroxy acids particularly. However, if you are on the hunt for drastic improvement, we would suggest taking a look at some of our 'in-house' treatments aimed at penetrating deep down into the skin and stripping away the surface layers for a miraculously smoother complexion.
Harley Street Skin can help you eradicate any trace of hyperpigmentation through courses of Microdermabrasion, Glutathione Drips, Chemical Peels, IPL, SmartXide Laser, Photodynamic Therapy and many of our stimulating Facials. Alongside diligent skincare, we want to help put your pigment problems to bed - permanently. If you feel you are battling hyperpigmentation, vitiligo or melasma speak to one of advisors - for free - about finding a treatment plan than that works for you!
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