What is Pigmentation?

Hyper pigmentation presents as a darkening of the skin, which occurs when excess melanin has been stimulated. It commonly presents on areas most exposed such as the face, shoulders, neck, décolletage and backs of the hands. Pigmentation does not discriminate and affects all skin colours and all skin types and conditions.

There are many causes of hyperpigmentation which include: 

  • Sun Exposure
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Ageing
  • Inflammatory Process
  • Genetic Tendency
  • Photosensitizing Medication
  • Exposure to Chemicals

Types of Pigmentation


Illustration from Anatomy & Physiology, OpenStax.


Freckles are clusters of concentrated pigmented cells, which are most easily visible on people with a fair complexion. Freckles occur when melanocytes (pigment producing cells) have overproduced melanin granules, changing the colouration of the outer skin cells. This is typically caused by sun exposure/UVB. Common freckles themselves are quite harmless and are extremely safe and effective to treat. See “Freckles”

Solar Lentiges (Age/Liver Spots)
Flat tan, brown or black spots on the skin common with age. Common in older adults, people with fair skin and people who’ve spent lots of time in the sun are most prone to liver spots. Age spots are harmless and are safe and effective to treat.                              

Seborrheic Keratosis
Appears as a waxy brown, black or tan growth that is elevated in appearance. A seborrheic keratosis is one of the most common non-cancerous skin growths in older adults. While it’s possible for one to appear on its own, multiple growths are more common.

Seb K’s can be treated however they are typically quite stubborn and take more treatments to remove.

Dermal Pigment (Melasma/Chloasma)
A condition in which brown patches appear on the face that can last for years or be lifelong. Melasma can be due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or from genetics and sun exposure. Women are much more likely than men to develop this condition than men. The brown or grey-brown patches of melasma appear most often on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin and are symmetrical from one side of the face to the other. This type of pigment is not suitable for Photo rejuvenation treatment as it can cause the pigment to worsen, however can be treated using other modalities such as Q-Switch laser and Cosmelan. For more information, see “Melasma”

Pigmentation Treatment Solutions

Microdermabrasion is a deep cleansing, surface exfoliating treatment using a Diamond encrusted head glided across the skin to loosen up and remove dry dead skin and may reduce and improve the appearance of superficial pigmentation, sun damage and uneven skin tone. Microdermabrasion works best on those with superficial pigmentation as it works by removing the surface layer of skin, lightening the affected pigmented areas. Pigmentation also responds to Microdermabrasion as the increased exfoliation and skin cell turnover can reduce the occurrence of any further hyperpigmentation. Microdermabrasion is generally not effective on deep or dermal pigmentations.

Chemical Peel
Chemical Peels are the use of active ingredients on the surface of the skin which work at dissolving dry, dead and damaged skin cells, while also providing targeted infusion of active ingredients for specific skin concerns depending on the type of peel used. A series of chemical peels can reduce pigmentation by exfoliating, encouraging skin cell turnover and helping shift the pigmented cells from the affected area. Cosmedix peels can help manage pigmentation by regulating melanocyte activity (pigment production), evening out skin tone and normalizing skin function. A course of 6-10 treatments is recommended every 2-4 weeks depending on your skin condition.

Laser Photorejuvenation using the Candela Gentlemax Pro is an extremely effective method for removing unwanted pigmentation. Using a 755nm wavelength, the Gentlemax Pro specifically targets excess melanin in the skin. The light is absorbed and converted to heat which shatters the pigmentation, resulting in the temporary darkening and crusting of the treated area before the pigment gradually falls away. Photorejuvenation is most effective for such skin imperfections as superficial pigmentation, freckles and age spots, causing them to fade or disappear permanently.

Laser Correction Facial
Our Laser Correction Facial Treatment utilizes Q-switch laser technology. The rapid speed of the laser combined with a high repetition rate causes vibration in the skin which helps to treat superficial and dermal pigmentation, as well as eliminate impurities and stimulate collagen. The 1064nm wavelength specifically targets the deeper layers of the skin, breaking up dermal pigmentation whilst avoiding damage to the upper layers of the skin. This provides a versatile and safe treatment for all skin types, and is extremely effective for the removal of dermal pigmentation. While the 532nm wavelength specifically targets pigment within the top upper layers of the skin. The light is absorbed as heat which shatters the pigmentation resulting in the temporary darkening and crusting of the treated area before the pigment gradually falls away, removing and lightening the unwanted lesion. The 532nm wavelength is not suitable for all skin types and is best for freckle and age spot removal. A skin analysis will be performed to determine your treatment plan for maximum results.

Cosmelan is a highly effective and intensive 12-week program aimed at dramatically fading superficial and dermal pigmentation.

Cosmelan has a two-pronged effect:

1) Cosmelan contains a tyrosinase inhibiting complex, which works by preventing pigment from moving through the skin and stops deep pigment from reaching the superficial layers.

2) Cosmelan also contains Exfoliating agents and a Vitamin complex, which aims to reduce the amount of pigment that has previously formed as well as stimulating skin renewal, stimulating collagen production and revitalizing the skin.
Cosmelan is a 2-stage depigmentation treatment, consisting of both an in-clinic professional treatment mask application and homecare treatment products to be applied throughout the 12-week program. It is extremely important that all homecare for Cosmelan is strictly followed as it is vital to the treatment results. If homecare is not strictly followed, Cosmelan can be rendered ineffective and may even cause pigment to worsen.

Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT)
Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) utilizes 3B cold laser technology, which stimulates cell production by emitting various light wavelengths, triggering a variety of healing, regenerating, stimulating and corrective responses that can stabilise and normalise skin function with no heat, discomfort or downtime. For those with pigmentation, LILT effectively treats hyperpigmentation by reducing sun damage and stabilizing over-active melanocytes (pigment producing cells).

*A skin analysis will be performed to determine which pigment treatment may be suitable for your concerns

Skin Care

Cosmedix Simply Brilliant
Cosmedix Simply Brilliant is an effective tyrosinase inhibitor, without the use of hydroquinone or arbutin. Tyrosinaseis an enzyme that controls the production of melanin as part of our skin’s natural defence mechanism against UV rays. When our skin undergoes trauma or becomes inflamed, this causes Tyrosinase to misfire resulting in an overproduction of pigment, causing hyperpigmentation. Use of a Tyrosinase Inhibitor daily, will prevent the enzyme from misfiring, thus inhibiting the overproduction of pigment in the skin. Simply Brilliant also contains 10 skin-specific brightening ingredients that improve existing discoloured, hyperpigmented, photodamaged and uneven skin.

Vitamin A and C
Using cosmeceutical products that contain good quality forms of Vitamin A and Vitamin C can drastically reduce the appearance of pigmentation, sun damage, skin discolouration and age spots. L-ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, not only helps break down any current pigmentation, but it also helps prevent new pigmentation from forming. Cosmedix Pure C uses a high concentration of vitamin C (100% L-ascorbic acid) which fights the formation of hyperpigmentation, accelerates skin cell turnover, breaks up dark spots and removes dull skin. The crystallized formula is simply added to other Cosmedix serums and moisturizers for maximum impact. NOTE: A skin analysis should be performed to determine your ideal Pure C/serum/moisturiser combination for maximum results.

Vitamin A helps to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Cosmedix AGP complex (Vitamin A) does this by improving skin exfoliation and decreases clustering of melanin granules, visibly reducing the appearance existing pigmentation. Vitamin A also repairs the structure of the epidermis, optimizing your skins ability to protect against UV. NOTE: Define, Refine and Refine RX Serums require a skin analysis to be performed by your clinician to determine the ideal serum for maximum results.

Physical Sunscreen
Prevention is better than a cure, and the daily use of SPF will not only work to prevent any further pigmentation from forming but will also help improve the appearance of any current pigmentation present on the skin. All pigmented cells within the skin react the same to UV exposure, so as your skin colour darkens and tans, so too will your pigmentation. SPF is extremely important as many clients notice their pigment worsening or being triggered during the summer months or after periods of prolonged sun exposure. A Physical sunscreen, those containing Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, is the most ideal as it protects from both UVA and UVB damage and creates an instant blanket like protection.

Request an appointment

Consult with one of our therapists about transforming your skin today.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.