The colour of ones skin is mainly due to the amount of brown pigment melanin.This is produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes. The amount of melanin is determined by constitutional colour (white, brown or black skin) and the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (e.g Sun) .
Hyperpigmentation(dark patches) is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin.
Hyperpigmentation is known to be associated with a number of skin conditions and diseases eg.Melasma (a skin condition more common in women and thought to be related to hormones as in pregnancy, use of combined contraceptives, HRT etc), Tinea(fungal infection usually in moist areas e.g. armpits, under breasts, groin etc) and a host of other medical conditions. Hyperpigmentation is also seen following injury to the skin or inflammation of the skin which leads to PIH.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a discolouration of the skin that occurs after there has been an insult to the skin and it has healed. PIH can occur after the following skin infections, dermatitis, Acne, exposure to ultraviolet light(Sun), allergic reactions, reactions to medications, trauma etc.Sometimes no cause is found.
There are several ways to treat problems with hyperpigmentation, ranging from supervised use of topical products like Hydroquinone, tretinoin, azelaic acid, arbutine, liquorice, Kojic acid, to use of modern lasers, medical microdermabrasion, exfoliants and also regular use of sunscreen.
At Laserderm clinics, we cannot over emphasize the importance of individuals seeking advice of registered clinicians or dermatologist before embarking on any treatment for hyperpigmentation. We also hope to educate people on the risk of using creams sold on the open market for skin lightening/bleaching. Most do not know the concentration of toxic compounds in some of these creams including the ‘mixed’ creams bought in various outlets. The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukemia, liver and kidney cancer as well as other severe skin conditions like allergic dermatitis, ochronosis which is a skin condition which makes the skin to turn a dark purple shade.