Pigmentation

Pigmentation means colouring. Skin pigmentation disorders affect the colour of your skin. Your skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. Special cells in the skin make melanin. When these cells become damaged or unhealthy, it affects melanin production. Some pigmentation disorders affect just patches of skin. Others affect your entire body. If your body makes too much melanin, your skin gets darker. Pregnancy, hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, contraceptive pills and sun exposure all can make your skin darker. If your body makes too little melanin, your skin gets lighter. Vitiligo is a condition that causes patches of light skin. Albinism is a genetic condition affecting a person's skin. A person with albinism may have no colour, lighter than normal skin colour, or patchy missing skin colour. Infections, blisters and burns can also cause lighter skin. Melanin is the brown pigment that produces the various shades and colours of human skin. Colouration (pigmentation) is determined by the amount of melanin in the skin. Without melanin, the skin would be pale white with shades of pink caused by blood flow through the skin. Fair-skinned people produce very little melanin, darker-skinned people produce moderate amounts, and very dark-skinned people produce the most. People with albinism have little or no melanin and thus their skin appears white or pale pink. Usually, melanin is fairly evenly distributed in the skin, but sometimes people have spots or patches of skin with more melanin. Examples of such spots include freckles, age spots (lentigines), and melasma.

Treatments and Therapies:

-    Chemical Peels
-    MicroDermabrasion
-    Laser Therapy
-    Dermafraq


Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition. Age or "liver" spots are a common form of hyperpigmentation. They occur due to sun damage( solar lentigines). These small, darkened patches are usually found on the hands and face or other areas frequently exposed to the sun.


Melasma or chloasma spots are similar in appearance to age spots but are larger areas of darkened skin that appear most often as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy, for example, can trigger overproduction of melanin that causes the "mask of pregnancy" on the face and darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas. Women who take birth control pills may also develop hyperpigmentation because their bodies undergo similar kind of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Changes in skin colour can result from outside causes. For example, skin diseases such as acne may leave dark spots after the condition clears. Other causes of dark spots are injuries to the skin, including some surgeries. Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the face and arms. Freckles are an inherited characteristic. Wearing a sunscreen is a must. The sunscreen must be "broad spectrum" (i.e. it blocks both UVA and UVB).

A single day of excess sun can undo months of treatment. Lentigines, or liver spots, are benign lesions that occur on the sun-exposed areas of the body. The backs of hands and face are common areas. The lesions tend to increase in number with age, making them common among the middle age and older population. They can vary in size from 0.2 to 2 cm. These flat lesions usually have discrete borders, are dark in colour, and have an irregular shape. Lentigines are usually benign therefore treatment is not necessary. For cosmetic purposes, some successful treatments include cryotherapy, hydroquinone preparations (bleaching preparations), retinoid cream, chemical peels or lasers. Protective measures should be taken to avoid any excessive sunlight exposure. These include sunscreen and protective clothing, such as hats and long sleeve.

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