What is Pigmentation?
Pigmentation has 2 main forms, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation which both have several symptoms. They are both common and usually harmless, but can often be embarrassing.
1.Hyperpigmentation:- is where patches of skin become darker in colour than normal, healthy skin. This darkening often occurs because there is an excess of melanin, which forms deposits in the skin. The colour of the skin depends mainly on the pigment Melanin which is present in the skin. Hyperpigmentation is the most common skin condition affecting people of all colors and ages worldwide. Many of us accept brown patches of pigmentation as part of growing older just like wrinkles. Many of our confidence is affected by imperfect skin especially if these conditions appear at an early age.
2.Hypopigmentation:- is caused by the reverse process of hyperpigmentation. Hypopigmentation is the result of a reduction in melanin production, causing patches of skin to become lighter than the surrounding skin. Common types of hypopigmentation and pigment loss are sun damage, vitiligo and albinism.
Causes of Pigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation :- causes of hyperpigmentation includes melasma, chloasma, sun damage and freckles.
- Malasma - is a skin condition appearing as brown patches on the face of adults. Both sides of the face are usually affected. The most common sites of involvement are the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip. Melasma usually occurs in women and women who take birth control pills often develop this type of pigmentation. Only 10% of those affected are men.
- Chloasma - Some pregnant women overproduce melanin and develop a condition called Chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy", on their faces or abdomens. This can cover a relatively large area and may worsen after sun exposure.
- Sun Damage - Age spots, sometimes called liver spots, are a form of pigmentation. They usually occur as a result of damage to the skin, from the suns rays. The small, dark spots are found generally on the hands and face, but any area exposed to the sun, can be affected. Exposure to the sun’s rays and a daily onslaught of environmental elements such as air pollution and the toxins in our food, all wreak havoc on our skin, damaging cell walls and connective tissue. This results in the visible signs of aging we see in our skin. Skin can look dull and lack lustre, pigmentation and age spots start to appear and wrinkles become more prevalent.
- Freckles - are common and usually a hereditary skin blemish. Though freckles are often thought of as attractive, some people do seek out treatment to reduce them. They are usually multiple in number. With sun exposure, they become more apparent; therefore, in the winter months, they are often imperceptible.
Hypopigmentation:- causes are described below
- Sun Damage - If you’ve had a skin infection, blister, burn, or other trauma to your skin, you might have a loss of pigmentation, in the affected area. This type of pigment loss can be temporary in nature and re-pigment later.
- Vitiligo - causes smooth, white patches on the skin. In some people, these patches can appear all over the body. It is an disorder in which the pigment-producing cells are damaged. There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are several treatments, including cosmetic cover-ups, corticosteroid creams, or light treatments.
- Albinism - is an inherited disorder caused by the absence of melanin. This results in a complete lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, or eyes. People with albinism have an abnormal gene that restricts the body from producing melanin. There is no cure for albinism.
Treatments - Prevention of Pigmentation?
- Avoid ultraviolet rays which are the main cause of skin damage, so avoid sun exposure.
- Apply sunscreens with a SPF 15 – 30 and moisturizers at regular intervals.
- Avoid offending sensitizer
- Pigment Lightening Agents - like citric acid (Vitamin C), kojic acid, creams for lighten dark pigmented patches while regenerating the skin and preventing further pigmentation.
- Use of bleaching Agents.
- Surgical - Laser Treatment, Excision, cryoslush, dermabration(skin polish), dermaroller, Electrosurgery, Mesotheraphy etc.
- Camouflaging or masking agents.
- Home remedies - lime juice, curd, honey etc.
- Last but not the least please visit a Skin Specialist for best advice and treatment.
Depending on the type of discolouration you have, our specialists will help you to choose between laser treatment or skin peels according to your specific requirements.
- Skin lightening creams
- Skin lightening peels
- Pigmentation treatment
- Cosmetic camouflage for vitiligo (white patches)
- Tattooing & cosmetic comouflage
- Home remedies - lime juice, curd, honey etc.
A course of treatment will help to blend away the problem area and give you back the even complexion you desire.