26 Jun 2024

The Truth about Pigmentation

Normal skin colour is due to a mixture of the pigments melanin, oxyhaemoglobin and carotene. The principal determinant of the skin colour is melanin. You can have problems with too little pigmentation (hypopigmentation) or too much pigmentation (hyperpigmentation). Hyperpigmentation is mostly the result of an increase in melanin in the epidermis (hypermelanosis). This hypermelanosis can either be due to an increase in the number of pigment cells (melanocytes), known as melanocytic hypermelanosis (i.e solar lentigos) or due to an increase of melanin in the pigment cells without an increase in pigment cells, known as melanotic hypermelanosis (i.e melasma)

Is any type of skin more prone to pigmentation problems?

All skin types can have pigmentation although more common in darker skin types (III-VI) and mixed-race skin.

What factors can make pigmentation worse?

Factors that play a role in pigmentation issues include auto-immune conditions, genetic, hormonal, inflammation, and most important UV exposure. Certain drugs can also play a role in pigmentation disorders. ONE FACTOR THAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED IS HEAT. Heat is just as big a culprit as sun exposure when it comes to hyperpigmentation. This means you could spend all day in the shade, wearing a hat and covered in sunscreen, but if it’s hot out and your internal temperature is rising, the melanocytes will still be triggered. But it also means that cooking all day next to the stove inside your house can also worsen your pigmentation!

Treatments to Consider:

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