Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
So what causes skin pigmentation? The first thin
g we need to find out is where the skin gets its color. The color of our skin is determined by the level of melanin or pigment in the skin, so either you have a dark skin or a white skin, melanin is responsible for it. The level of melanin is different from one human to another and it depends on race and the amount of exposure to sun rays. Why is this?
The main role of melanin is to protect our skin from the dangerous sun rays and ultraviolet rays, so when our body is in the sun than the level of melanin increases, this is also the reason why we get a tan if you stay for a whole day on the beach.
So as you might see skin pigmentation conditions occur from the fact that the body products either too much melanin or too little, the main cause of skin pigmentation remains sun exposure but among other causes we may list hormonal therapy, childbirth, drug reactions, hormonal changes, genetic factors and medications. Yet more forms of skin pigmentation can be moles, liver spots or age spots.
Types Of Skin Pigmentation
Skin pigmentation can have many forms, and let’s take a look at the most common one:
- Hypo pigmentation: Hypo pigmentation also known as loss of skin pigmentation is a condition in which the human body can’t produce enough melanin, so in some areas skin may lose some of its pigment.
- Albinism: Albinism is a condition where the human body has very light skin, gray eyes and white hair. This condition has no cure and people who suffer from this condition are more likely to develop skin cancer if they expose themselves to the sun for longer periods.
- Vitiligo: Vitiligo is a condition that causes your melanin cells to stop working or die, so this will result in one or more patches of white skin that may spread, but this condition doesn’t have any serious consequence on upon your health. Persons that suffer from Vitiligo have a high sensitivity to the sun. Almost 2 % of the world’s population is affected by this condition.
- Hyper Pigmentation: Hyper Pigmentation is a skin pigmentation problem in which the human body produces too much melanin so the skin is darker than it usually is. This condition can also occur due to a long sun exposure or a reaction to a drug. Moles or other birthmarks are also considered signs of hyper pigmentation.
- Melasma: Melasma is a hyper pigmentation condition that usually appears during pregnancy and it disappears after the baby is born, in this condition the mother will have a darker skin on the cheeks, neck and even the nose. It can be treated with some creams that your doctor can prescribe to you.
After reading this article you now know the most common skin pigmentation conditions and how can they be treated, but always remember if you happen to have any skin problem the first thing you must do before starting any treatment is to see your doctor just to be safe.