Pigmentation of the skin is a medical term, which refers to the phenomena of colouring. Our skin is made up of cells that produce a pigment named melanin. The colour of the skin largely depends on the production of melanin. If more melanin is produced, the skin looks darker and vice-versa. When the melanin producing cells are damaged due to long exposure to sunlight, pregnancy or any other disease, pigmentation of the skin takes place. The skin may get dark entirely or in patches due to pigmentation. In some cases, decolouration takes place or white patches are formed on the skin.
Causes and Types of Pigmentation
The type of skin pigmentation depends on the cause behind it. Here are some of the common causes and types:
- Melanin: The skin colour varies from one person to another due to the presence of a pigment called melanin. It is produced by melanocytes cells in our body. Melanin protects our skin from damage on exposure to sunlight. When we spend long hours under the sun, the melanin production is increased. This gives a tanned look.
- Freckles: These are caused by clusters of melanin. These gets accumulated or concentrated in clusters on being exposed to sunrays.
- Liver Spots/Age Spots: These are also known as solar lentigos. This can be due to ageing or excessive exposure to UV rays.
- Birthmarks: These are referred to the irregular blemish that appears on any part of the body soon after birth or at the time of birth. These are of two types: vascular and pigmented.
- Melasma/Chloasma Faciei: This is usually found in pregnant women. It occurs due to the over-activation of melanocytes as there is a hormonal imbalance.
- Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation: This refers to inflammation as a result of inflammation caused by trauma.
Treatment: There are several ways to treat skin pigmentation. There are medicines and cosmetics available in the markets, which help in getting rid of the pigmentation. Skin pigmentation can also be tackled by certain home-based remedies. Here are some of these remedies:
- Milk and honey face pack: Milk is known to contain lactic acid. Apply a mixture of milk and honey on the affected part of the skin. This makes the hyper pigmented skin lighter in colour.
- Vegetable juices: Some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and potato are effective in getting rid of the skin pigments. Cut slices of these vegetables and rub them over the affected parts. The juices from these vegetables will lighten the pigmented part.
- Avocado magic: It is advisable to peel off an avocado and apply its juice with honey over the affected area.
- Add Vitamin E to your diet: Include foods rich in vitamin E in your meals. It helps in restoring the pigmented skin back to its normal form.
- Face mask: There are several face masks available that can work wonder in curing pigmentation of the skin. You can use face packs containing oatmeal, honey, sandalwood, turmeric powder, raw milk, and orange powder.
- Sun screen: It is important to guard your skin against the ultraviolet rays. UV rays lead to pigmentation of the skin. So, apply a sunscreen lotion or cream before stepping out of your home.
- Take up some exercise: A key to a healthy skin is a good lifestyle. One must exercise regularly to maintain proper blood circulation throughout the body. Proper flow of blood keeps the skin healthy and free from pigmentation.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol and cigarettes: The consumption of alcohol and cigarettes leads to the generation of toxins in our blood stream. This is harmful to our skin.
- Cocoa butter: It has nourishing and de-tanning effects on the skin. Use a cream that contains cocoa butter extracts on daily basis.
- Oil massage: Certain oils like olive and almond are good for treating damaged skin. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist and ask a free question.