Hyperpigmentation is a type of skin condition that makes patches on the skin to turn darker in color compared to the natural skin color. Regardless of the cause of hyperpigmentation, it is a condition that adversely affects individuals of all ages and races.
Hyperpigmentation has many causes, but the main ones include the following:
Melanin can be described as a brown pigment that is charged with maintaining the skin’s regular color. However, when melanin is produced in excessive amounts, it begins to form darker spots on different patches of the skin.
Birth control pills
Taking birth control pills has been known to result in hormonal imbalance thus causing hyperpigmentation.
Pregnancy can trigger a hormonal imbalance, and this can lead to the excess production of the melanin pigment. The result is hyperpigmentation that is popularly referred to as mask of pregnancy.
This is known to trigger the surplus production of melanin hence hyperpigmentation.
Age spots or live spots
These types of pigmentation are caused by the over exposure of the skin to harmful sun rays.
Chemical peels are among the effective solutions for hyperpigmentation especially for people who want fast results. Chemical peels help with hyperpigmentation, fine lines, freckles, age spots, melasma, acne scarring and acne by improving clarity, texture, tone and color.
There are various acids that are used for chemicals peels, these are used in varying strength as the patient’s needs will dictate. The acids include the following:
- Mandelic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid.
Lactic acid peel
Lactic acid can be defined as a pigmentation-fighting and an antiwrinkle ingredient that is present in both over-the-counter (OTC) as well as in skin care products manufactured to professional standards. It is derived from milk and is classified under a group of anti-aging ingredients referred to as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs).
Chemical peels operate by employing acids such as lactic acid on naked skin. It works by removing the skin’s topmost layer i.e. epidermis but there are also formulas that penetrate to the skin’s middle layer i.e. dermis.
It does not literally peel off, but it leaves the skin under the removed epidermis looking brighter and feeling smoother.
Lactic acid is mainly utilized in the treatment of hyperpigmentation and age spots. Other benefits are reduced pore appearance and improved skin tone.
There are several advantages that are associated with the use of lactic acid as a peel for hyperpigmentation, the notable ones are as follows:
- Lactic acid is the gentlest peel that is currently available because it causes minimal skin discomfort. The acid is skin-friendly and hypoallergenic because it is a skin component that is naturally occurring.
- It is relatively safe particularly for patients who have a darker skin tone. This is because it lacks abrasive particles thus suitable for hypersensitive skin.
- It does not cause strong skin flaking because of the mild effect of peeling off very thin layers of skin cells that are dead, which is not even noticeable.
- Lactic acid peel is not known to cause dehydration of the skin. This is because it provides an ultra-deep moisture as well as restoration of the protective barrier of the skin. It is these unique properties that make lactic acid peel suitable for oily skin and dry skin.
- Lactic acid does not have a photosensitizing effect. This means that it can be successfully utilized all-year round.
The advantages above are not exhaustive as there are many more.
The following are the comprehensive stages of lactic acid peel:
It does not need skin preparation for pre-peel. The patient just needs to avoid exposure to sunlight for at least two weeks prior to undergoing the procedure. In addition, use a sun screen whenever you are out.
Makeup removal/ skin cleansing:
Remove makeup by employing cleansing lotions, gels as well as other products. This removes contamination on the skin surface.
Fruit acids or lactic acids with skin toner is utilized in the removal of fat as well as to toning up the skin.
A special type of pre-peel treatment that has lactic acid is what provides an even penetration of lactic acid in the skin. It enhances the procedure’s efficiency and also examines the sensitivity of the skin prior to the procedure. However, it should be noted that this is not obligatory.
A beauty therapist is responsible for the application of lactic acid, a cotton swab or a special brush is normally used for this purpose. The application takes the following sequence:
- Periorbital area
The 1st procedure ought to be performed using lactic acid of very low concentration and should have short exposure time. It should be noted that the exposure time is increased gradually depending on the skin reaction. The beauty therapist is in charge of setting the pH level, concentration and exposure time of lactic acid. However, the skin features of the individual are the determining factors.
Neutralizer should be directly applied above the peeling composition and the order should be from the areas that are most sensitive to the ones that are least sensitive. Afterwards, plenty of cold water should be used to wash it. This is because hot water or warm water have the potential of causing irritation due to the high temperatures. Use a towel to gently dry the face.
Finish the skin peeling procedure using a calming mask. Apply a good moisturizing/ nourishing cream that has jojoba oil or aloe vera oil.
Post peel care
The procedure is cost-effective in the sense that it does not require many products for post-peel care. Good moisturizers with a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen should suffice for good home skin care. This should be performed for about one week following the last procedure.
Lactic acid has many desirable properties that make it ideal for use as an effective skin peel. Some of the notable properties are its antioxidant effect, bacteriostatic effect, anti-inflammatory effect, comedolytic effect, sebostatic effect, hydrating effect etc. Nonetheless, there are a few side effects that might be experienced, and it is good to be aware of them before making the decision to undergo lactic acid peel for hyperpigmentation.