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Skin Pigmentation

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Latika Arya 91% (164 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Delhi  •  27 years experience
Skin Pigmentation

The colour of one's skin is determined by melanin that is made by special skin cells. Melanin gives the skin its colour without which our skin would be pale pink. Skin pigmentation is dependent on the amount of melanin that is being produced. Skin pigmentation conditions may plague many people when there is an imbalance in the melanin production within the skin, due to damage to these melanin producing cells. Let us find out more about these conditions-

Melanin Production:

If there is too much melanin production in the body, the skin may give a dark hue or show up as patches of discolouration. On the other hand, if the melanin production is too low, then the skin may give light or white coloured patches.

Various Conditions:

The awry skin pigmentation can give rise to a number of conditions with depigmentation, hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation. Albinism is a genetic skin condition giving rise to almost no colour. An abnormally low amount of pigmentation can create hypopigmentation, making the skin look much lighter than it actually is.

Finally, hyperpigmentation is a condition where there is increased pigmentation, either due to increased melanin production or due to other pigment creating substances in the skin. In such cases, the skin appears darker in colour than its original shade.

Causes:

  • There can be many causes for the above conditions. Injuries, burns, inflammation causing disorders, drug abuse and increased exposure to the sun can cause such conditions.
  • Rarely, some hereditary conditions may also cause a problem in pigmentation.
  • Infections, autoimmune disorders and allergies may also cause skin discolouration and an irregular skin tone.
  • Further, conditions like eczema, birthmarks, and hormonal changes can lead to irregular skin pigmentation too.

Diagnosis:

Dermatoscopy and woods lamp examination can help in understanding the cause of the pigmentation problem. Also, sometimes blood tests may be required for diagnosis.

Treatment:

The treatment of hyperpigmentation is done by the use of skin lightening preparations. Procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser therapy can be done which target the top layer of the skin. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.

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