The skin gets its colour from cells called melanocytes, which produces a pigment called melanin. The colour of one's skin mainly depends on the amount of melanin present in one's skin. The melanin the body produces, the darker the skin colour.
Pigmentation can be further categorised as Hypopigmentation and Hyperpigmentation. Hypopigmentation (the body produces too little melanin) is a condition where patches of skin is lighter that the surrounding area.
Hyperpigmentation (the body produces too much melanin), is a much more common condition as compared to Hypopigmentation. Asians in general are prone to experiencing pigmentary issues. The condition is physically harmless but may cause self-esteem issues due to having an 'imperfect' complexion.
Pigmentation can be cause by genetics, sun exposure, stress, fluctuation hormones due to pregnancy, menopause and damage to the skin due to injury.
Common types of hyperpigmentation:
Melasma: Uneven production of pigmentation on the face, it presents as dark/brown/black skin patches. Sun exposure and hormonal imbalance caused by sun exposure and hormonal imbalances cause by medication, pregnancy or menopause.
Freckles: Those with fair complexions are most susceptible to developing freckles. It is thought to be caused by genetics. However, excessive sun exposure can worsen the situation.
Age spots/liver spots: These spots show up as we age because the body's ability to protect against UV rays deteriorates, and produces melanin in patches as a result.
Photo-melanosis: Pigmentation that occurs due to the increase in production of melanin because of sun exposure on naked skin. The pigmentation is commonly found on the face, neck, arms and back. Pigmented areas are patched or diffused.
Post-Inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): small dark spots or large patches that show up on the skin after an injury.
One of the best ways to avoid pigmentation is to always apply sunscreen. Lightening creams can also be used as part of one's skincare routine to help reduce the pigmentation.
For stubborn pigmentation that do not respond to lightening creams, chemical peels
, IPL face revitalisation
or Laser face revitalisation
are treatment options that can be considered.