Dealing with Hyperpigmentation? IPL is absolutely your way to go!

“Freckles are a symbol of freedom,” said Ross Burton. Freedom from makeup and cover-ups. What was once covered is becoming an openly embraced beauty trend. All around the world, individuals are donning faux freckles. The trend has gotten so popular that pens specially made for that very purpose now exist too!  

Despite the trend and sky-rocketing popularity, not everyone shares the appreciations for them. In fact, some might feel uncomfortable with their pigmentation spots. If you’re one of those looking to feel more comfortable in their skin, this is just the article for you!

pigmentation

Credit: Tommy van Kessel

Pigmentation Vs Hyperpigmentation- What’s The Difference?

We know you might be wondering – there’s a difference?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, they mean very different things.

Pigmentation gives us our skin tone. It is a result of the pigment melanin, which is made by cells known as melanocytes. Hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, is the result of an overproduction of melanin. These hyperpigmentation spots can be caused by a variety of reasons (which we cover later on). When treatments state that they can remove pigmentation, they actually lighten hyperpigmentation instead.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is caused when excess melanin is produced. But what causes this over-production? While there are many causes – each different for every person – here are the 3 common types of hyperpigmentation and their causes: 

1. Sunspots

Sunspots, sometimes known as liver spots or age spots, can be caused by sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure such as tanning beds. As such, sunspots are usually found on parts exposed to the sun, such as the face and arms. These spots form because the body’s melanocyte cells react to the UV rays. This causes an increase in melanin production, which is the skin’s natural protection against UV damage. Sunspots are commonly found in people with fairer skin tones.

2. Hormonal fluctuations

Usually known as Melasma or Chloasma, the ‘Mask of Pregnancy’ mostly occurs in pregnant women. Hormone fluctuations of oestrogen & progesterone cause over 90% of pregnant women to experience this condition. These dark patches are similarly caused by an overproduction of melanin, in response to the hormones produced by the body.

3. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

PIH spots are usually found where previous injury or inflammation occurred. These are common in people with acne and are more likely to affect individuals of darker skin tones. A common misconception is that PIH and acne scars are the same. Though both may initially start as a darker patch of skin, PIH typically fades after some time while scars remain on the skin for longer periods. Plus, acne scars, take either of 2 forms: a loss of tissue – pitted or depressed scars, or an overgrowth of tissue – raised scars. For more information on acne scars, check out this article!

hyperpigmentation skin

Credit: Melanie Kreutz

Now let’s get down to business! IPL is quickly becoming the most popular method of hyperpigmentation removal in Singapore, but what is it all about?

How Does IPL Treatment Work?

IPL or Intense Pulse Light is a treatment that emits a broad spectrum of light wavelengths in brief pulses to heat and breaks down hyperpigmentation in the skin. After the treatment, the broken down hyperpigmentation either manifests on the skin’s surface as scabs, shedding away in about a week, or gets removed by the body’s lymphatic system. 

What Should I Do Before My IPL Facial?

Ensure any products containing retinoids or vitamin A ingredient have been stopped for a week before going for the treatment.

Take note that IPL is not for everyone, and the facial is unsuitable for the following individuals:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Individuals with skin tones darker than 5 on the Fitzpatrick scale
  3. Individuals with photosensitive skin, a tendency to develop keloids, active eczema, thyroid disorder or Active Herpes Simplex
  4. Individuals with sunburns, broken or extremely dry skin, sensitised skin or skin cancer
pigmentation treatment at porcelain skin

How Is The IPL Facial Process Like?

Now that you’re all set for your IPL facial, here’s what you can expect in the treatment:

A highly trained therapist will prep your skin by double cleansing and exfoliating. Products to conduct these steps are selected based on your skin type and needs. Once your skin is ready, a medical-grade IPL device is used to deliver the treatment. During the procedure, you may feel a snapping sensation paired with bright flashes of light. This has been described as something similar to having an elastic band being ‘snapped’ on the skin.

While this may sound daunting, you need not worry as the snapping sensations only last for 1 –2 minutes!

At Porcelain, out ZapBright™ facial for removing hyperpigmentation utilises IPL yellow light to zap excess melanin, lightening these dark spots. The yellow light also reaches deep into the skin to encourage skin rejuvenation and fibroblast repair, give you brighter, tighter and more youthful-looking skin!

Is There An Aftercare Routine?

After your IPL hyperpigmentation removal facial, follow these steps to reap all the benefits of the treatment:

  1. Stay out of direct sun exposure for the next 14 days
  2. Apply SPF to protect your skin from (further) sun damage.
  3. Lather up on HA+ Hydrating Serum over the next week.
  4. Hydrate your skin Bio-Cellulose mask over the following 3 days for optimal results.
porcelain facial treatment

Alternatives To IPL Pigmentation Removal

For those who have lower pain tolerance or are unsuited for IPL hyperpigmentation removal, don’t panic! Your hyperpigmentation issues can still be helped with these alternatives:

Cryotherapy™ uses Korean medi-technology to chill the skin’s surface up to -10°C. This stimulates microcirculation and restores radiance to dull skin. The CryoStamp reduces redness and inflammation while increasing the absorption of our in-house products. The CryoProbe increases circulation to illuminate skin and lighten scars.

Illuminate™ unites oxygen therapy, microdermabrasion and Vino Therapy. The Italian-made 2 in 1 diamond microdermabrasion involves gentle skin resurfacing and oxygen infusion to brighten skin. Vino Therapy uses a grape wine peel to lighten sunspots. The customised cocktail of products is infused in the skin by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, increase cellular regeneration and promote healing, reviving your skin’s glow.

Looking for help for other skincare concerns? Check out the articles below to learn more!