Skin Pigmentation: What Are Its Types and How Can You Treat Them?

Skin Pigmentation: What Are Its Types and How Can You Treat Them?

Struggling with dark patches and uneven skin tone? Here are in-clinic and at-home solutions.

Many skin concerns or problems that are related to skin pigmentation are caused by sun damage, pollution, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, drug or alcohol use, or other underlying medical conditions. Each skin pigmentation concern is to be treated individually, depending on its cause and severity. And while for minor skin pigmentation issues, home remedies may be recommended by your doctor, some serious problems can only be treated in a clinic.

What are the different types of skin pigmentation?

What are the different types of skin pigmentation
  1. Melasma: If you have melasma, you will experience dark patches on your skin. These patches do not have a defined boundary and they commonly appear on forehead, chin, and cheeks. Unlike other types of hyperpigmentation that appear in men and women equally, melasma occurs mostly in women and is less common in men. While we are still trying to understand what causes melasma, some believe that it may be due to the hyperactivity of pigment-producing cells. Another view is also that since it affects pregnant women disproportionately, it may be assumed that it is triggered by hormonal changes or medications.
  1. Freckles: Freckles are tiny brown or deep red spots on your skin that emerge mostly around the bridge of your nose and cheeks. They appear on fair skin and have seasonal tendencies in many cases—surface in summers and fade in winters. Freckles are divided into two categories: Ephelides and solar lentigines. The former is genetically determined and induced by sunlight, while the later is caused by sun exposure and photodamage. Both are, however, harmless.
  1. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is the discolouration of skin that appears in the form of scars or dark spots. It is caused by acne, burns, or allergies. In most cases, PIH subdues by itself, but if you experience itching or a burning sensation in the affected area, you should seek medical help.
  1. Vitiligo: In vitiligo, your skin loses melanocytes (pigment-causing cells) and as a result, white patches surface in different parts of your body. It is linked to genetic disorders, autoimmune disorders, pernicious anaemia, and exposure to radioactive pollution. There is no cure for vitiligo, but it is not life-threatening or contagious. 
  1. Albinism: Albinism is a very rare genetic disorder that happens due to the absence of melanin. It causes the skin, eyes, and hair to have little or no colour. People who have albinism are prone to skin cancer and have hypersensitivity towards the sun. However, there is no treatment for albinism. While most skin pigmentation disorders happen due to hyperpigmentation, albinism is caused by hypopigmentation (patches of skin that are lighter than your skin tone).
  1. Periorbital melanosis: Periorbital melanosis, periorbital hyperpigmentation, periocular hyperpigmentation, infraorbital darkening, infraorbital discolouration, and idiopathic cutaneous are all scientific terms for dark circles. It is a type of skin discolouration that can be induced by genetics, hormonal imbalance, stress, and even allergies. It can be minimised with help of optical depigmenting agents, like hydroquinone, azelaic acid, or kojic acid.

How to treat skin pigmentation in the clinic?

How to treat skin pigmentation in the clinic

Skin pigmentation issues can be treated using laser therapy, retinoid combination therapy, and chemical peels. Cosmeceuticals that have nicotinamide, pycnogenol, cinnamic acid, coffeeberry, and soy are also used widely to cure skin pigmentation. Exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid, citric acid, and mandelic acid are also helpful in reducing skin discolouration.
In recent years, light-based therapies like Photodynamic Therapy and Intense Pulsed Light have proven to be effective in evening out skin tone and texture, healing broken capillaries, and fading sunburns.  But, remember, these therapies need five to six sessions before you can experience their full results. 

How to treat skin pigmentation at home?

How to treat skin pigmentation at home
  1. Tomato: A 2011 randomised controlled study published in The British Journal of Dermatology revealed that tomato paste is full of lycopene that “provides protection against acute and potentially longer‐term aspects of photodamage.” The study proves that consuming 55 grams of tomato paste can protect you from sun-induced pigmentation. 
  1. Milk products: You can add buttermilk instead of water in your face mask and gently rub the curd in circular motions on discoloured patches twice a day. The lactic acid found in milk products helps lighten skin pigmentation. 
  1. Green Tea: Vitro researches have shown that antioxidant-rich green tea extracts can have a depigmenting effect. Try applying cool green tea bags over your dark circles or pigmented area to experience a soothing and cooling effect. 
  1. Apple cider vinegar: The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar removes superficial pigmentation built on the epidermis layer. Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water in a container, apply it on the darkened skin for two to three minutes, and rinse. 
  1. Sunblock: UV damage is one of the main causes of sunburns and sunspots. Sunscreens offer the easiest protection against UV rays. According to The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, patients that have melasma and freckles should use sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide daily. 

To book a skin consultation with me or my doctors at ISAAC Luxe, call on +91- 98703 85606 or +91- 98703 85669.

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