Understanding Pigmentation


Pigmentation is the coloring of a person’s skin. When someone says they have pigmentation, it generally refers to discoloration of the skin. This can include age spots, freckles, melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation.

Why do we get pigmentation?

There are many reasons why you might get pigmentation. You may have an overproduction of melanin (a pigment) in your body which causes your skin to look darker or discolored. You may get pigmentation from sun exposure. Or you might have a medical condition which causes you to have more pigment in your body.

How do I get rid of pigmentation?

There are many things you can do to help reduce the appearance of pigmentation on your skin. Pigmentation is not always permanent and there are ways to help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of discolorations on your face, neck and hands.

Pigmentation is incredibly common and yet many of us don’t really understand what it actually is. Pigmentation occurs when your body produces melanin, in areas of the skin that have been exposed to UV rays, and this usually results in you seeing brown spots on your skin, also known as freckles or liver spots.

What Causes Pigmentation?

Pigmentation is often caused by sun damage. The more time you spend in the sun without adequate protection, the more likely you are to develop pigmentation. Even if you do use sun cream but don’t protect your skin all day long, or you don’t apply enough, then there is still a high chance that you will develop dark spots on your skin.

It’s important not to mistake pigmentation for other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, because these will need different treatments in order to clear up. It’s always best to get a diagnosis from a dermatologist if possible.

You may have heard about pigmentation, but what exactly is it?

Pigmentation is when areas of your skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This is caused by the overproduction of melanin in your body. Everyone’s skins produce melanin to protect against the sun’s UV rays, but if you produce too much melanin, you can get pigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation describes darkening of an area of skin or nails caused by increased melanin. It is a common condition with many causes. Often it is a harmless outcome of inflammation (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by sun damage (photoaging), acne, or injury.

Melasma (chloasma) is a common condition that causes patchy brown discolouration of the face and neck. It affects mostly women who are 20 to 50 years old and is more common in people with darker skin tones (such as Asians and Hispanics). The cause of melasma is unknown, but hormones seem to play a role since it most often develops during pregnancy or with contraceptive use. Sun exposure can make the discolouration worse. You should avoid overexposure to sunlight during treatment for melasma

What is pigmentation?

Pigmentation refers to the colour of your skin and is due to a pigment called melanin which is produced by cells called melanocytes. These are located in the outer layer of your skin, known as the epidermis. Melanin controls and regulates the colour of your skin to protect it against the sun’s harmful rays.

The darker your skin, the more melanin you have and vice versa. People with darker skin will have more melanocytes than people with lighter skin but both groups produce the same amount of melanin – the difference lies in how concentrated it is in their skin. This is why those with darker skin tan more easily than those with lighter skin as their cells are able to produce more melanin to protect themselves from sunburn.

Hyperpigmentation occurs when there is an overproduction of melanin in certain parts of your body causing them to appear darker than usual. There are various causes for hyperpigmentation including:

Sun damage (sunspots or age spots)

Pregnancy (melasma)

Hormonal changes (melasma)

Skin injuries (scars)

Pigmentation occurs when the skin produces too much melanin, the pigment that produces colour in the skin. Melanin production is regulated by cells called melanocytes which reside in the bottom layer of the epidermis (the epidermis is the outer layer of our skin).

The majority of pigmentation is a result of sun damage but it can also occur from other factors including hormonal changes (e.g. melasma), inflammation and skin injury (e.g. acne scars).

We are all born with a finite number of melanocytes, however, their density varies from person to person which accounts for why some people tan easily and others who burn easily.

Pigmentation is a skin condition that can affect people of all ages. Pigmentation occurs when there is an increase in the production of melanin, which causes the skin to become discoloured.

Pigmentation can be caused by sun damage, hormonal changes, infection or due to dermatological problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

There are two main types of pigmentation – hypo-pigmentation and hyper-pigmentation. Hyper-pigmentation is where patches of the skin become darker than the surrounding areas, whilst hypo-pigmentation is where patches of skin become lighter than the surrounding area.

Pigmentation can affect any part of the body and can be caused by a variety of factors. Hyper-pigmentation usually occurs as a result of sun damage, whilst hypo-pigmentation is caused by inflammation or injury to the skin.

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