ASCP Skin Deep

MAY | JUNE 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 68 29 expertadvice SKIN SOLUTIONS Hit the Spot Facts about hyperpigmentation and how to treat it by Mark Lees Hyperpigmentation, often visible as blotchy dark spots and splotchy uneven skin tone, is one of the biggest concerns for skin care clients. In simplest terms, hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin; the entire process is called melanogenesis. The sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays stimulate the process as the body works to protect itself. Melanocytes, whose only job is to protect the skin, live in the very lower epidermis (basal layer) and the upper papillary dermis. Melanocytes act as dispatchers and make melanosomes. The melanosomes are like tiny vehicles that carry the pigment (melanin) to the keratinocytes via dendrites—branch- like arms that help it reach the skin's surface to put up a shield. That shield translates as hyperpigmentation. UV rays from sun exposure are the most common melanocyte stimulant and also the biggest contributor to hyperpigmentation issues. Hormones, infl ammation, and skin injuries also can cause hyperpigmentation. THE SIGNS Hyperpigmentation can present in many ways: • Liver spots, named for their color, have nothing to do with the organ. Liver spots are seen most often on older clients' hands and are caused by cumulative and chronic unprotected sun exposure. • Melasma, often called a pregnancy mask, is a pattern of splotches that occurs across the face, primarily around the mouth and cheeks. Melasma is caused by hormonal imbalances that signal the melanocytes to overproduce melanin. It often occurs with pregnant or menopausal clients who are experiencing large shifts in hormones. Other medical conditions that infl uence this condition are hormonal contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and thyroid conditions. Until the hormones are balanced, this skin condition can be diffi cult to successfully treat. • Mottling is the speckling of darker color that occurs over sun-exposed areas like the face and hands. Mottling is one of the fi rst signs of sun-related premature aging.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ASCP Skin Deep - MAY | JUNE 2016