Skin pigmentation is an ailment that affects the natural colour of the skin. Pigmentation causes a certain colouring to appear, which is either darker or lighter than the natural skin colour of a person. The primary pigment responsible for determining skin colour of a person is ‘melanin’.
Hyperpigmentation causes a darker pigmentation to appear on the skin. Hypopigmentation, on the other hand, causes the skin to appear lighter at some areas. Pigmentation occurs in blotches over the skin, and not uniformly across. It is a common problem area targeted by the cosmetics industry with many products available to treat dark spots and age spots. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the problem is visible and persistent.
A high exposure to sunlight can lead to hyperpigmentation and the resultant formation of dark spots on the skin. Also, it can be caused by skin injuries, damage or overproduction of melanin. Individuals with a darker skin tone are more prone to hyperpigmentation.
Hypopigmentation is mostly caused due to some kind of trauma on the skin like injury, burns, blisters etc. Cosmetic treatments gone wrong can also lead to this ailment. The loss of skin colour can also be because of an imbalance in the formation of internal amino acids.
A major symptom of pigmentation is the visible change or difference in skin colour on some patches of the skin. It can be due to an internal pigment condition, or due to external causes like injury or damage to the skin.
Pigmentation can occur in any shape and size, in the form of small spots or large patches. Symptoms differ in each individual case.
A general method of curing pigmentation is to avoid overexposure to the sunlight. It is a good idea to always use sunscreen with a strong SPF as a protective measure. Also, one must not pick at the affected skin, as this can lead to further problems like acne and formation of scabs on the skin.
Doctors also recommend certain medicinal ointments to cure pigmentation. These creams generally contain one or more of the following ingredients: kojic acid, retinoids, vitamin C and azelaic acid. Cosmetic treatments are also available such as: laser therapy, chemical peels and pulsed light treatment. Home remedies to cure hyperpigmentation include: usage of aloe vera, licorice and green tea extracts on the areas affected.