What is pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation is the colour of your skin, you can get pigmentation problems which cause patches of your skin to appear a different colour to your usual skin tone. Skin gets its colour from Melanin, which is a pigment. Pigmentation disorders happen when something affects the production of this Melanin. This can be age, sun exposure, acne or injury and inflammation or hormonal changes.
Hyperpigmentation is when too much Melanin is produced, causing darker spots to appear on the skin creating an uneven skin tone. Pigmentation can occur due to genetic factors or by too much exposure to sunlight called sun spots or age spots. This production of too much Melanin can also cause problems such as melasma. Age spots or sun spots occur most commonly in the areas frequently exposed to the sun and appear as small brown marks. Melasma appears as darker patches of pigmentation, most commonly on the face. It can occur more commonly in women as hormonal changes can trigger melasma.
Hyperpigmentation can also appear after an injury or acne, as once it heals the pigmentation can leave a slightly different colour mark, often due to particular cosmetic procedures.
People with darker skin tones are more likely to develop hyperpigmentation than lighter skin tones as the pigmentation is stronger in dark skin tones.
Once hyperpigmentation has occurred it can be worsened by further exposure to the sun. Sun cream is the easiest way to prevent pigmentation problems or to prevent worsening of existing hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels and laser treatments are methods of removing or decreasing the visibility of existing hyperpigmentation.