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April 30,2020  |  Posted by: CMC

Skin Pigmentation: Understanding Conditions, Treatment and Recovery



What is Skin Pigmentation

Melanin determines the colour or tone of human skin. When the cells that produce melanin become damaged or unhealthy skin pigmentation variability occurs.  Problems with excessive skin pigmentation are referred to as
various forms of skin hyperpigmentation. The term refers to all conditions characterised by the formation of skin patches that are darker than the surrounding tissue.

Excessive skin pigmentation can be brought on by several trigger factors. The dark spots are usually most visible on the hands, the face and the neck. For some people, these can cause a massive loss of confidence. Hence, they’ll seek one or more treatment options.

If you’ve had dark spot formation recently and you’re wondering what to do about it, the following guide will take you through all of the essentials. There are effective treatment options and it’s easy to discover the one best suited to your needs.


Types of Skin Pigmentation

There are primarily three types of skin pigmentation.


The most common type of pigmentation is freckles. These develop after repeated exposure to sunlight, particularly if you have a fair complexion. 

Solar Lentigines

Also known as liver spots or sun spots. They may occur anywhere on the body and vary in colour from light brown to black. These spots are caused by how much UV light these melanin pigments are exposed to. These must be monitored as they may develop into skin cancer and melanoma. Annual checks with your skin specialist are essential.


Commonly found in women, melasma or chloasma is pigmentation that is deeper in the skin’s dermis. Though causes are unknown, it is often stimulated by hormonal changes. The condition is made worse with UV exposure, some medications, pregnancy and stress.


Skin Pigmentation Disorders and Their Causes

Skin pigmentation conditions always result from the excessive concentration of melanin in some skin patches.

Various internal or external factors can contribute to the formation of these dark spots. These include:

  • Exposure to the sun without having sunscreen on – it contributes to the formation of melasma and sun spots (and can also increase the risk of skin cancer or melanoma development!)
  • Skin inflammation that occurs after injuries, for example
  • Fungal infections
  • Autoimmune conditions 
  • Hormonal changes in the body, for example, during pregnancy, when a person is taking oral contraceptives or is being on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Taking medications that increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight
  • Some people may experience hyperpigmentation as a result of the normal ageing process
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Birthmarks


Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation

It is very easy to tell if you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation. The most common symptoms of this condition, regardless of the contributing factors, include:

  • Darkened areas of the skin
  • Darkened skin patches can vary in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres
  • Darkened areas could be circular, oval-shaped or an irregular shape
  • The appearance of freckles or age spots on the skin
  • In some instances, the dark spots will be localized in a part of the body that’s been exposed to sunlight. 


Preventing Hyperpigmentation 

The good news is excessive skin pigmentation can be often managed or prevented. Avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight or using a high SPF sunscreen rank high among the most important preventative measures. 

In some instances, however, very little can be done to prevent the appearance of dark spots. Luckily, if these have already appeared, various therapies can be utilised to improve the condition of the skin.


Types of Skin Pigmentation Treatment

If you want to learn a bit more about excessive skin pigmentation, check out the US National Library of Medicine collection of sources. These will shed a lot of light on hyperpigmentation conditions and what the best treatments for those are.

Hyperpigmentation treatments are divided in two main categories – topical products and cosmetic procedures performed at a clinic.

Topical products may give you some effect but they’re not potent enough to overcome serious dark spot formation. Such creams and ointments rely on one or more lightening ingredients like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Corticosteroids
  • Kojic acid
  • Retinoids
  • Azelaic acid

Prescription medications, either topical or oral, may assist further.

Most of these will work by making the skin peel and reveal new layers of skin underneath. Some will also decrease the rate at which new pigment is formed. With time, prominent dark spots can be reduced.


Some of the typical cosmetic procedures used to address hyperpigmentation include:



Whilst these procedures are costlier, they tend to deliver more pronounced results. 


Getting Ready for Hyperpigmentation Treatment

The preparations you’ll need to go through depend entirely on the kind of hyperpigmentation you have and the skin pigmentation treatment you’ll be undergoing.

If you’ll be having a laser procedure, there will be specific before and after-care instructions. These are completely different for the people who have a chemical peel or microdermabrasion.

Have a consultation with one or more experienced doctors in your area. This is the perfect opportunity to have the condition of your skin assessed and to ask questions. A doctor will suggest the best treatment for the removal of the dark spots and let you know how many sessions will be required to get a lasting outcome.

Once you agree on the procedure, you will be given suggestions for the preparations and the after-care you’ll have to go through in the days following the dark spot removal.


It’s Crucial to Protect Your Skin!

Skin pigmentation conditions can reoccur, even if you’ve had a session with the most skilled doctors.

It’s essential to protect your skin after getting a skin pigmentation treatment, regardless of the original cause of the dark spots. A day cream with a high SPF is mandatory for your face and for other exposed body parts. Limiting your exposure to sunlight and being careful about the medications you take will also be important for restoring a beautiful and flawless complexion. If you have more complex skin conditions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our professional to book in a skin consultation.

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