Are there dark patches on your facial skin? Are they spreading and becoming darker over time? If your answer is yes, you should take this condition seriously. These patches might be pigmentation – an annoying as well as one of the hard to treat conditions. However, if you know its type, treating it will become quite easy. Want to know the kinds of pigmentation? Keep reading.
What is pigmentation?
Pigmentation is the skin condition in which discoloration occurs on some areas of skin. This condition does not carry any threat but it is aesthetically unacceptable and annoying for many people.
Melanin – responsible for skin pigmentation
Skin color varies from one person to another. Do you know what causes it? Is skin formation of every individual different? No, this variation is caused by a pigment present in the skin – known as melanin. This pigment is produced by the cells in our body called melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for giving color to the skin and hair. It is responsible for protecting your skin from harmful UV radiations but can also cause pigmentation disorders.
Who are more prone to pigmentation?
The fact is we are all prone to pigmentation disorders. However, fair-skinned people are more prone to this condition and it is visible on their skin. Well, another cause behind pigmentation is excessive sun exposure. As mentioned earlier, melanin protects skin from sun damage but excessive sun exposure can also cause more melanin production in attempt to protect skin. As the amount of melanin increases, your skin becomes dark and tan. Certain other factors like hormonal changes may also trigger more melanin production. Sometimes pigmentation disorders are hereditary.
Types of pigmentation
Well, if we talk about types of pigmentation, basically there are two types of pigmentation – hypo-pigmentation and hyper-pigmentation. Hyper-pigmentation – commonly referred to as just pigmentation – is however more common. It is caused by overproduction of melanin. Listed below are some common types of pigmentation.
Freckles are caused by concentration of melanin in small patches which darkens with excessive sun exposure. Though freckles can occur on any skin tone, they are more common in fair skinned people. The prevention for freckles is avoiding excessive sun exposure and using sunscreen regularly.
Liver spots/age spots
Liver spots – aka solar lentigo – are a kind of pigmentation that is associated with aging as well as the exposure to UV rays. Live spots are usually more common in people over age of 40 when skin starts losing ability to repair sun damage. This pigmentation disorder mostly appears on face, hands, arms and back. Liver spots are characterized by light brown to black patches on skin.
Melasma is another common type of pigmentation that can affect both men and women but is more prevalent among women. It is more common in pregnant women, using contraceptive pill and this is the reason that this condition is aka pregnancy mask. Over activation of melanocytes caused by female sex hormones – estrogen and progesterone – is said to be the reason behind melasma. Excessive unprotected sun exposure worsens the condition. Most common areas affected by melasma include forehead, cheeks, nose and lips.
Certain kinds of birthmarks fall in the category of pigmentation disorder. They occur in the form of irregular blemish on the skin which is found at the birth time and continues to develop a few weeks after birth. Birthmarks are of two types – vascular birthmarks (caused by vascular disorders) and pigmented birthmarks (caused by over melanin production). Some common types of pigmented birthmarks are moles, Mongolian spots and cafe-au-lait spots.
Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is caused by increased melanin production triggered by inflammatory response. Inflammation may occur as a result of trauma to epidermal and dermal layers of skin. The causes of trauma may include acne, dermatitis, infections, allergic reactions, medications and certain diseases. Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is usually temporary.
Now that you have come to know about the types of pigmentation, you can get proper treatment according to the type of pigmentation you are experiencing. If you think dark patches on your skin are the signs of pigmentation, we recommend you to see a practitioner and get your condition treated.
At Dubai Cosmetic Surgery, we offer a wide range of pigmentation treatments –from topical medications to laser and skin care treatments like chemical peeling and Fractional CO treatment. So, if you want clear and even skin tone, don’t delay booking a free consultation with us.
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