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Skin problems

Pigmentation

Everyone desires flawless skin; skin that does not have blemishes, marks, acnes and pigmentations that can ruin their beauty. Our skin the largest organ of our bodies and it is exposed to pollution and weather while trying to protect and stabilizing our body temperature.

 

The skin encompasses of the epidermis and the dermis which are divided into other layers. The lowest layer of the epidermis, also known as the basal layer has melanosomes. Melanosomes consequently had cells known as melanocytes that produce melanin. 

 

Melanin is simply pigmentation and determines the color of our skin, hair and eyes. In fact, when one is healthy, it reflects a normal skin tone. However, when one is injured or unwell, skin pigmentation disorders happen depending on the amount of the melanin produced; too much or too little.

These disorders cause changes in your skin’s colour. When one’s skin tone appears uneven with patches of hypo- or hyperpigmentation, many may feel it affects their confidence level, leading one to conceal the imperfection using makeup. However, doing so without proper makeup, in the long run, may lead to other skin problems, which includes breakouts and pores congestion. 

Types & Causes of Pigmentation

  • Hypopigmentation

Hypopigmentation is one of the more common types of pigmentation disorder there is. It appears in the look of decreased or entirely no pigmentation at all. Albinos are results of this type of disorder, when one does not have pigmentation and they have to take extreme care when under the sun. 

  1. Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is the total opposite of hypo and instead of absence of melanin production, hyper refers to the surplus of melanin production. Freckles are one of the results caused from this and are not from birth. It is the exposure to sun that normally instigates freckles. Liver spots, also known as Age Spots, are a common type of hyperpigmentation.

  • Pigmented Birthmark

However, there is pigmentation from birth and this is known as pigmented birthmark. Moles are also in this group of pigmentation. They are generally discoloration of the skin and are not protruding. Several names have been given to these birthmarks depending on the appearances. 

    1. Cafe-au-laits: Cafe-au-laits are brownish spots that appear randomly on the body whereas, compared to other pigmented birthmarks, about 10% of the general population have 1 or 2 of these spots without any related disorders associated
       
    2. Mongolian Spots: Mongolian spots are blue pigmentation that looks bruised and commonly appear on buttocks. The discoloration usually disappears by age 4, so it does not require any treatment.

 

  • Macular Stains

There is another type of light red marks that can appear anywhere on the body which does not protrude as well. They are known as macular stains and are very common vascular birthmarks. They can come in the form of ‘angel’s kisses’ which will fade gradually or in ‘stork bites’ which appear at the back of the neck and continue to last until adulthood.

  1. Port-Wine Stains

Port-wine stains on eyelids are thought to suggest an increased risk for glaucoma, and over time, these may become raised and thickened. Physicians have tried many ways to treat port-wine stains, but laser therapy is considered as one of the best choices since it destroys capillaries without damaging the rest of one’s skin.

Additionally, port-wine stains are abnormally formed blood vessels and these stains last for a lifetime. They can be in different shades of color, ranging from pink to purple to red and are often found on the face, arms and legs. 

  1. Melasma

Chloasma also called as melasma are brown patches that appear on the face and they are also known as ‘pregnancy mask’. Although it is named as such, men can also develop the condition. Melasma is marked by tan or brown patches that specifically appear on the forehead, upper lip, cheeks, nose, and chin. It may also occur in women taking postmenopausal estrogen or birth control pills. 

  1. Vitiligo

Vitiligo is another pigmentation that occurs when the melanocytes are destroyed. When the melanocytes are no longer there, white patches of skin will form randomly on our bodies. Until today, it is still uncertain what the main cause of vitiligo is although some research says physical trauma and certain disease trigger this skin pigmentation.

Reducing / Getting Rid of Pigmentation

There are several treatments for skin pigmentation that can be used solely or in conjunction with other methods. 

 

  1. Limit Sun Exposure

For albinos, they should avoid the sun whenever they can and use sunscreen to prevent cancer of the skin. Sunglasses and corrective lenses are inevitable for them as well. For vitiligo disorder, prescribed creams and ultraviolet light therapy are used to darken the white spots. 

 

  1. Bleaching Agents

Sometimes, doctors can use bleaching agents such as monobenzone to lighten the skin color so that the skin color looks more consistent.

 

  1. Serums and Creams

There are serums, vitamin C injections and creams that are upgraded from time to time to achieve flawless skin. Hyperpigmentation skin too can be treated with such creams that contain topical steroids, AHAs, hydroxyl quinine and tretinoin.

 

  • Milk

Milk, including buttermilk and sour milk, all shows an effective capacity to lighten skin discolouration. Concerning this, Lactic acid is the ingredient responsible for this effect.

 

  • Medical Hyperpigmentation Treatment

Above all, there is cosmetic surgery available such as chemical peeling, intense pulse light (IPL) treatment, laser surgery and dermabrasion. All these solutions can be used as a remedy after one consults his / her doctor with thorough skin examination to determine the appropriate treatment.

Depending on the cause of one’s hyperpigmentation, treatment may either address an underlying medical condition or stop medications. If home remedies fail to work, medical treatment options are made available. 

In fact, when you try to consult medical specialists in Singapore, you can look into this guide for the country’s pigmentation treatment. Moreover, Singapore is the home to some of the best clinics for excellent pigmentation treatment in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions:

A: Hyperpigmentation occurs when one has more melanin, or the substance in the body responsible for skin colour. Medications can sometimes lead to hyperpigmentation, and these include some antimalarial drugs, antibiotics, and antiarrhythmics.

A: Albinism is a rare, inherited disorder that results from the absence of an enzyme that produces melanin. Its effects show a complete lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes. Moreover, albinos possess an abnormal gene that restricts the body from producing melanin. There is no cure for Albinism, but albinos are recommended to wear sunscreen at all times since they can get sun damage and skin cancer.

A: There are various treatment methods for hyperpigmentation, ranging from topical to energy-based treatment, and this procedure includes Oral Supplements, Aesthetic Dermatology Procedure, and Topical Creams. The effectiveness of these treatments will depend on your skin type and conditions.

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