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. Skin pigmentation disorders happen depending on the amount of the melanin produced; too much or too little.
Types & Causes of Pigmentation
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.
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.
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. Cafe-au-laits are brownish spots that appear randomly on the body whereas Mongolian spots are blue pigmentation that looks bruised and commonly appear on buttocks.
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.
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. Chloasma also called as melasma are brown patches that appear on the face and they are also known as ‘pregnancy mask’.
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. 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. Sometimes, doctors can use bleaching agents such as monobenzone to lighten the skin color so that the skin color looks more consistent.
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. 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.