What is Skin Pigmentation?

In its most basic form, pigmentation simply refers to the levels of colours present in our skin. Almost all of us have some level of pigmentation; this is what gives us our skin tones. Only albinos, who lack the chemical melanin in their skin, are completely free from pigmentation.


Most have pigmentation that varies somewhat from one patch of skin to another; very few of us have completely even skin tones. For example, freckles represent places on the skin that have heightened levels of pigmentation. Freckles are not generally a problem for those who have them, but other kinds of pigmentation irregularities can be.


As we age, the level of pigmentation tends to increase, due to a variety of factors. These include exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and the increased production of hormones that occurs at the onset of puberty. These factors can cause us to develop darker spots and blotches on the skin; in some cases they may be much larger than the typical freckle. Most people will have noticed this increased pigmentation in friends or relatives, if not yet in themselves. The spots or blotches go by various common names, such as age spots, sun spots and for those with a more scientific approach, melasma.


Although age spots can appear anywhere, they are typically found in areas that have had significant levels of exposure to the elements. They include the face, hands, shoulders, back and upper chest area. Sun spots, or age spots, are less frequently seen on areas such as the legs.


What all these spots have in common is that they are typically considered to be somewhat unsightly. It may seem that there is nothing to be done about them, since they will not wash off, but there are actually effective treatments available. One of the most effective is to remove them using laser treatment.


How does laser pigmentation treatment work?


Pigmentation spots consist of additional melanin that the body has produced in response to stimuli such as hormones or sun exposure. This melanin is typically present deep in the layers of the skin. Laser treatment works by focusing parallel beams of light at a specific wavelength, which is designed to reach the correct layer so that it can deal with the melanin. The laser affects the melanin in such a way that the body breaks it down and removes it using natural processes.


Laser pigmentation treatment is most effective if the skin to be treated has been shielded for at least two weeks from excessive ultraviolet rays. This means avoiding both direct sunlight and artificial sources of ultraviolet light, such as tanning beds.


The skin area treated will look slightly worse directly after the treatment; for example, spots will be darker. However, it will only take a few days before the body begins to carry the damaged melanin away. At this point the skin will take on a more even tone as spots begin to fade away.


To find out about more about skin pigmentation treatments please call Thérapie Clinic on 1890 650 750.