What is pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation and sunspots are the body’s natural defense against sun damage and are a normal function of a healthy skin. Pigment in our skin comes from a substance called melanin. Hyperpigmentation refers to abnormal darkening of the skin due to increased production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. The problem can appear in small patches or involve larger areas of the skin. These darkened areas can be challenging to conceal with regular cosmetics. What causes this condition and what can you do about it? Hyper-pigmentation (hyper = too much, oversupply) occurs when the skin is stimulated through trauma, environmental damage or hormone imbalance which results in uneven skin tone or patchy brown marks on the skin.
What Causes Excessive Pigmentation of the Skin?
The number one cause of dark spots is sun damage that is easily visible on generally exposed parts of your body. When exposed to harmful UV rays, the skin reacts by producing a protective pigment called melanin. Even though melanin provides some shielding from the sun, the damage has already occurred deep in its layers – and it surfaces as sunspots. Make sure you wear a sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage.
When hormone levels are up and down, one of the most common side effects is a change in pigmentation. Mostly seen during pregnancy or changes in birth control, uneven skin tone. Pregnant women often develop melasma which results in dark patches on the nose, cheeks, jawline, forehead or chin.
Age spots or liver spots are also caused by sun damage, accumulated over many years of exposure. Most frequently areas of abnormal pigmentation are due to sun damage or injury to the skin. Darkly pigmented areas called solar lentigines or age spots are very common on the hands and face. They are caused by damage due to sun exposure. Some medical conditions can contribute as can certain medications.
It is also typical to see areas of increased pigment with other skin conditions such as psoriasis, pityriasis rosea, lichen planus and atopic dermatitis. These skin diseases cause inflammation, which stimulates melanin-producing cells called melanocytes to secrete more melanin. Inflammation can cause skin cells called melanocytes to produce too much pigment.
Hyperpigmentation occurs more frequently in people with skin that is darkly pigmented. There is a skin condition called melasma that occurs more often in those with deeper skin tones. The condition causes dark patches to form on the face, especially on sun-exposed areas.
Exposure to sunlight is the major cause of hyperpigmentation and will darken an already pigmented area. It is vital to wear a minimum of SPF30 with UVA and UVB protection for these skin types or any professional skin treatments will be rendered ineffective.
- Environ Vitamin Infusion Facial
- Vitamin or Organic Peels
- Intense-C Infusion