Tweakment Finder TWEAKMENT



How To Treat Your Hyperpigmentation With Our Favourite Treatments

21st November 2023

The clocks have gone back and the nights are getting colder – but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for your sun-damaged skin. If you want to resolve areas of uneven tone and hyperpigmentation, these are our favourite laser, IPL, and radiofrequency microneedling treatments to recapture your glow and smooth your skin.

What is hyperpigmentation?

As a refresher, hyperpigmentation is the name given to patches of uneven tone or ‘dark spots’ on your skin. It occurs when melanin (pigment), which exists to protect you from UV light, starts to cluster together irregularly. This darker pigmentation is often the result of sun damage, caused by accumulated exposure to UVA light over your lifetime. That’s why hyperpigmentation is also referred to as ‘sun spots’ or ‘age spots’. It’s these marks that can cause our complexions to look aged, by making the skin appear less smooth and even in colour.

Aside from sun damage, hyperpigmentation can also be caused as a side effect of conditions such as acne or eczema, because the inflammatory nature of these concerns encourages your skin’s melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) to create more pigment. Or, in the case of melasma, or ‘pregnancy mask’ – often categorised by a butterfly-shaped colour spreading across the centre of the face – it’s triggered by hormonal fluctuations.


What tweakments can work for hyperpigmentation?

While hyperpigmentation can be a stubborn skin condition, there are an increasing number and variety of treatments designed to target it. That includes:

Laser: In general, lasers work by using a specific and controlled wavelength of light to heat up and break down unwanted melanin pigment in the skin. There are a wide-range of different lasers on offer – from downtime-reducing ‘cold lasers’, intensive but fast-working solutions for the time-poor, and innovative ones that combine multiple technologies. 

IPL:  Probably best known for hair removal, IPL is also a solution for age spots. It works in a similar (but less comprehensive) way to laser, due to its use of broad-spectrum light a collection of different wavelengths).

RF microneedling: Combining the skin-tightening benefits of radiofrequency (RF) and the collagen-boosting, skin-smoothing effects of microneedling, RF microneedling can treat a wide-range of concerns, including sun damage, with limited downtime.

Plasma: When Plasma energy is delivered to the skin, it creates heat that damages the skin in a controlled manner, triggering rejuvenation. It is this fibroblast-stimulating response that helps improve the appearance of dark spots and sun damage.

What are our favourite tweakments for hyperpigmentation?

For a multi-faceted approach: SECRET DUO FROM CUTERA

Individually, laser treatments and radiofrequency microneedling are two highly recommended solutions for hyperpigmentation, and with Secret Duo from Cutera you can actually benefit from both in one very clever device. The first technology available in the UK and Ireland to combine 1540nm laser with RF microneedling, this unique pairing makes for a particularly impressive glow-boosting and collagen-stimulating treatment with reduced downtime and fast results a whole host of skin concerns, including pigmentation.

For science-backed RF microneedling: SYLFIRM X

If you want proof that a treatment really works, you need to look for scientific publications, and Sylfirm X is supported by more than 25. A particular standout of the dual-wave radiofrequency microneedling treatment is its ability to treat the tricky skin condition melasma, as well as pigmented lesions.

For fast IPL: BBL HERO

The BBL HERO system from Sciton is one of the only IPL devices that uses light in the broadband spectrum, with High Energy Rapid Output (HERO), to tackle pigmentation. This means it’s four times faster and three times more powerful than traditional IPL, enabling the treatment of larger areas of the face and body in a relatively short time.

For resurfacing: NEOGEN PLASMA

Hitting the headlines due to Shirley Ballas’ transformation, NeoGen Plasma is a resurfacing and tightening treatment that is perhaps best known for targeting wrinkles and laxity, but its pigmentation and melasma results are just as good. It works by generating ultra-high frequency energy mixed with pure nitrogen gas to create nitrogen plasma, so it remodels deep within the skin, without affecting the surface.

For all skin tones: ULTRACLEAR

The world’s first cold, ablative, fractional fiber laser, UltraClear‘s biggest selling point is that it can successfully target pigmentation in all skin types, including Fitzpatrick 6. That’s because the laser uses a specific wavelength of light – 2910nm – so that 95% of the energy emitted ablates the skin tissue, leaving little residue for unwanted thermal damage.

For stubborn lesions: LUMENIS ULTRAPULSE

Ultrapulse is a CO2 laser, which means it works by ablating (removing) the top layer of your skin, with heat also deposited deep into the dermis. That can be exactly what you need if you are trying to treat stubborn skin lesions – although do expect more downtime on certain modes, such as SCAAR FX, which uses powerful pulses of light to treat up to an impressive depth of 4mm.

For first-timers: MOXI

Alice dubbed MOXI an ‘ideal entry-level energy-based tweakment for light sun damage’, and here’s why: it can be used to treat all skin types at any time of the year, and its fractionated laser is designed to be less aggressive (and less painful) than other lasers in the category.

For customisation: LUMENIS STELLAR M22

Lumenis’ Stellar M22 is a multi-tool device meaning it offers your practitioner an arsenal of different options. For age spots, the Q-Switched Nd: YAG laser head or Stellar IPL module can be used to break down the pigment first, before switching to the ResurFX technology – a non-ablative, fractional laser that gently resurfaces. This lessens downtime. Plus, it only needs a single pass across your face to work.


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