Painting skin discoloration in a different light

by Imee Ong-Maghanoy
AS a skincare specialist, I’ve heard the most common misconceptions anybody can say about skin discoloration: ‘Only older people get it,’ ‘Sunblock is the solution’, ‘fair-skinned people won’t ever have to worry,’ ‘there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.’
Sadly, these are what most people think and some actually fall prey to false promises from treatments that don’t really address the problem.
I take it upon myself to educate my clients to help them see skin problems in a different light – especially those who warrant a more ‘expert’ opinion.
Skin discoloration is defined as any change in the natural color of the skin and can occur for a variety of reasons. Normally, it is a result of the skin’s natural pigmentation, called melanin and the overproducing of it in any given area. This discoloration affects the topmost layer of skin, leaving you with brown patches.
Contrary to popular belief, the main culprit in melanin overproduction is not just excess sun exposure but also melasma, liver or age spots, dark patches, poor diet, liver problems and indigestion. Some of the more common causes for changes in skin color are illness, injury, and inflammatory problems.
Melasma (also called chloasma), on the other hand, is a condition where tan or brown patches appear on the body, typically on the face. They can often be triggered by hormonal changes, and frequently occur in pregnant women. For this reason, people refer to it “the mask of pregnancy.” Melasma can also be caused by contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and excessive sun exposure. While it’s more common in women, men can still suffer from melasma.
Although this condition doesn’t do any physical harm, you may feel self-conscious about the way it looks and can undoubtedly detract your quality of life.
Most people think that skin discoloration only occurs with age and that only older people are prone to it than younger ones. Truth is, it can appear at any age and on any part of the body. While pigmentary changes occur in the skin as we age, causing it to become more avascular and pale, the same problem can also occur in younger adults.
But — there’s good news and bad news! The bad news is that skin discoloration is the hardest to treat, as well as the most common; the good news is that it is treatable.
At our facility, our first order of the day is to prep client’s skin – it’s very important.
When I say prepping the skin, this means we need to hydrate, do some light peels to see how the client’s skin responds, and then we do intensive treatment followed by maintenance.
Since skin discoloration is one of the most challenging conditions to treat, it takes time, patience, and cooperation from clients. We do not guarantee the result; it depends on how the skin responds to the treatment.
Aside from that, there are so many treatments available, like laser technology, chemical peels and other active ingredients. Because melanin is part of our skin, you cannot just get rid of it, however, we can suppress the melanin pigment with the help of active ingredients like Hydroquinone, Kojic Acid, Vitamin C and many more and laser technology and glutathione – all of which are available at our facility.
Having skin discoloration is a long-term maintenance but with good treatment, follow-up and home maintenance treatment, it will help lighten the skin or better yet – it may no longer show in the long run.  But remember, there is always a risk of it coming back knowing that we have melanin pigments in our body and it will continue to produce. It is always best to consult your physician to rule out any underlying medical causes before you start starting any home or natural treatments
In conclusion, I recommend that in order to combat this problem, you need to first, protect your skin from the sun. Secondly, choose the right products depending on your skin type. Every individual must have basic cleansing: toner, moisturizer and SPF. And third, clarify the potential side effects of medications. Some drugs can increase melanin production and bring about hyperpigmentation.
Our skin is very important and is very prominent even from a distance. Treating any type of skin problem is worth every dollar. I always tell my clients that their skin is their best accessory.
Luckily, there are treatments for this problem. But since each individual is different and would have different possible causes, we at Image Body Spa and Image Spa MD customize every treatment.
You can get a free consultation at our spa; Image Body Spa is located at 8709 West Hollywood. Image Spa MD is located at 9227 Haven Ave. suite 120 Rancho Cucamonga, and at 499 N El Camino Real, C-20 in San Diego.
Truth be known, it is always best to keep ourselves informed before we jump into conclusions. Such can be said about skincare. I hope I gave you a fresh perspective on this topic. Until next time! Thank you all for reading.
Imee is an established aesthetician, a business owner and a managing partner for Image Spa MD and CEO of Image Body SPA. She has a degree in Biology and Doctor of Dental Medicine. Image Spa is now one of the most reputable medical spa facilities in LA and has branches in Rancho Cucamonga and Encinitas for Image SPA MD and Image Body SPA-West Hollywood. Imee has been in the aesthetics industry for over 20 years.

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