Pigmentation is a condition referred to darkening (hyper pigmentation) or lightening (hypo pigmentation) of the skin. Its known causes are exposure ultra violet rays, medication, trauma, chemical substances, hormonal changes, vitamin A & C deficiencies and deficiencies of essential fatty acids.
The skin cells of human body also known as melanocytes, produce melanin substance which makes brown colour of the skin. When these melanocytes are distributed unevenly, it results in problem of pigmentation. Although the discoloration condition of the skin is harmless, people should know the stage where it becomes a cause of concern.
Types of Pigmentation:
- Pigmentation caused by hormonal changes of the body is known as Melasma and Chloasma. These are the terms that are used to describe pigmentation of skin. Hormonal changes in the body occur during the pregnancy or reproductive years and thyroid dysfunction. Contraceptive pills and photosensitizing medications can also bring hormonal changes in the body. Mask during pregnancy that usually fade after birth, is recognized as Cholasma.
- In Melasma, the pigment macules spread over the large areas of face like forehead, chin, upper lip and cheeks. Women are mostly affected by Melasma. The condition is mostly found in the people with dark skin. People with lighter skins can also be affected, if their family has history of pigmentation.
This is increased stage of pigmentation, which occurs due to intense and constant exposure to sun light and mostly found the back, neck and face.
Causes of Pigmentation
Pigmentation problem can occur to all people regardless of their race, region and skin colour & type. After pigmentation the skin will either become lighter (hypo pigmentation) or darker (hyper pigmentation). The reason behind is that either the skin produces excessive amount of melanin or insufficient amount of melanin. The amount of melanin determines the skin colour. An enzyme namely tyrosinase is responsible for triggering of melanin. Melanin forms the colour of hair, eyes and face.
Melanin has two main types:
- Eumelanin – people with brown skin and hair colour are the affected persons.
- Pheomelan – impart a yellow to reddish tone
Melanin is a natural sun block of skin, depending on the amount there; it shields the skin from ultra violet rays.
Skin damage is also among one of the causes of hyper pigmentation, as it is present in scars. Usually this also prevails in the people with darker skin tones. It is a matter of fact that the major cause of skin discoloration, brown spots and dark areas of skin is the unprotected exposure to sunlight. The different forms of pigmentation of skin appear in later life due to years of direct exposure to sunlight.