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Skin Pigmentation: Facts, Causes, and Cure

Skin Pigmentation: Facts, Causes, and Cure

Having crystal clear complexion is the holy grail of beauty.

Freckles, rosacea, melasma, age spots, and acne marks are just some skin deficiencies that prevent your skin from being flawless. Each of these conditions have different causes and treatments.

 

Skin pigmentation treatment in Singapore needs to be carefully planned, considering each individuals skin type, condition, and kind of pigmentation. Provided below are more details about Pigmentation to help you further understand them and get the appropriate treatment for your situation.

What is Skin Pigmentation? 

The body has a specialized cell called Melanocytes which produces its natural pigment, also known as Melanin. The color of your membrane, hair, eye, and skin’s surface is determined by the amount of Melanin produced in the area. People with little Melanin are fair-skinned, while dark-skinned people produce the most. However, like any parts of the body, there could also be disruption in your melanin production leading to pigmentation problems. 

What Causes Pigmentation

Believe it or not, but one of your skin’s first layer of defense is pigmentation. The skin produces excess Melanin when it senses external aggression. This excess Melanin protects DNA cells by becoming a physical barrier of protection. Below are more causes of pigmentation

what causes skin pigmentation

Sun Damage/Exposure to UV Light

Any form of UV light, whether from the sun’s natural UV Rays or a tanning bed, can cause hyperpigmentation as you age. Common pigmentation disorders are solar lentigines, sunspots, freckles, and melasma. The UVA radiation causes damage to melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for producing the skin pigment called Melanin. Collagen and other vital proteins get damaged when the skin absorbs UV light. 

Hormonal Changes

This is common with women during pregnancy. Hormones can trigger melasma, which shows up as small, dark patches.

Medications

Some medicines can make your skin sensitive to the sun and can trigger melasma. Common culprits are medications used for treating thyroid or ovarian problems.

Inflammations and Wound Healing

Acne, psoriasis, and eczema are common inflammation that can cause brown spots to develop. Inflammation causes a temporary increase or decrease in the pigments because of the trauma experienced by the skin.

Most Common Types Of Pigmentation

Different types of pigmentation have their own unique characteristics and therefore require different methods of treatment.

The common types of pigmentation are:

Freckles

These are brown, beige, flat circle spots that usually multiply and develop through repeated sun-exposure. They can also appear as light brown, reddish, black, brown, or tan – basically, they are darker than the rest of the skin. The sun’s UV Rays can make them darker, which is why freckles are more noticeable during summertime. Freckles are formed through an increase of Melanin and pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. The difference between freckles and solar lentigo is that freckles are common in children and may disappear as they grow up, while solar lentigo can get worse through frequent sun exposure.

Solar Lentigo

This is similar to freckles but larger and more defined. In time, freckles can develop into solar lentigo due to sun exposure. These are harmless patches that result in UV Rays. The UV Radiation causes the Melanin to accumulate within the skin cells, leading to dark spots. Solar lentigines are usually found on the face or the back of the hands

Melasma

Melasma results in symmetrical, brownish patches on the face. It is more common in women and darker skin types. It is caused by a variety of factors such as:

1. Sun exposure
2. Pregnancy
3. Hormonal imbalances

Due to the unique nature of melasma, it is more difficult to treat compared with most other types of pigmentation.

Hori’s Nevus

Hori’s nevus, also known as Acquired Bilateral Naevus of Ota-Like Macules (ABNOM) is a condition seen almost exclusively in Asian Chinese skin type.

It typically, appears as bluish-gray flat hyperpigmentation on the cheeks, but may involve the eyelids, forehead and nose as well.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is seen after skin injury, infection, or inflammation (e.g. Acne, Eczema) to the skin.

It can be temporary lasting a couple of months or may become a permanent feature on your skin.

Seborrheic keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis or Pigmentation Burns

Seborrheic keratosis is a pigmentation growth on the skin that is benign – which means it can’t lead to cancer. It usually appears oval or round and can range in the colors light tan to black.

Pigmentation on Face

Dark patches found in the face produce more Melanin compared to the rest of the skin. They can range from light brown to dark brown spots in color, and vary in sizes.  Common types of pigmentation are melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, freckles, and solar lentigos. Besides environmental and other factors, pigmentation on the face usually occurs when the skin protects itself against UV rays. 

Why do I have dark patches on my face?

There are several possible causes for these dark patches on your face. Harmful UV rays can damage your melanocytes and cause an overproduction of Melanin – leading to brown, red, or darker spots. Certain medications can also make the skin hypersensitive from sun exposure, which can worsen the adverse effects. Inflammation and wound healing usually lead to skin pigmentation as they heal – this may come from acne, burns, cuts, or even insect bites. Hormonal changes may also cause pigmentation – especially in pregnant women.

Is pigmentation on face curable?

Yes. While spots on the faces do not require treatment, most people want them removed for cosmetic reasons. A number of products and procedures can be recommended by doctors such as topical creams and medical treatments. 

An effective skin pigmentation treatment for you can be prescribed by your dermatologist. It is vital to consider the type of pigmentation problem, your condition, the size, and area of the body to determine the best treatment. 

Getting rid of pigmentation on the face is possible through medical procedures such as chemical peels, laser treatments, microdermabrasion, and creams.

Pigmentation can also appear on the lips – and whether they are patches, discoloration, raised moles, or dark marks, they should be checked by a doctor. Although they do not pose any major concerns, they may be a sign of underlying conditions. 

Lip Pigmentation

lip pigmentation singapore

Pigmentation can also appear on the lips – and whether they are patches, discoloration, raised moles, or dark marks, they should be checked by a doctor. Although they do not pose any major concerns, they may be a sign of underlying conditions. 

What causes dark spots on lips?

There are several causes of lip pigmentation and discolouration.

Allergic Reaction

Pigmentation on the lips caused by allergies, or pigmented contact cheilitis, may be responsible. Common products that cause cheilitis are face makeup, hair dye, lipsticks, and green tea. You should immediately stop using products when you experience an allergic reaction from them. Bacteria may grow on old products and may trigger negative reactions – be sure to keep only fresh beauty items to put on your face and lips. 

Angiokeratoma

These are skin lesions and appear to be dark spots in colors black or dark red. They mostly occur in older adults. Although harmless, doctors still advice to have it inspected to make sure it is not cancerous.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B-12 is an essential vitamin that keeps the skin tone even. This contains cobalt which helps produce healthy red blood cells, and in turn, helps supply sufficient oxygen throughout the body for optimal function. Vitamin B12 interacts with vitamins A, B, and C to maintain healthy skin, regulate melanin production, encourage collagen production, and target blotchy skin. 

Excess Iron

Having too much iron can cause a disorder called hemochromatosis. This happens when your body stores too much iron. They cause discolouration on the lips and may appear as dark gray or brown spots.

Sunspots

This doesn’t just appear on your skin face, but may also show up on your lips. They can appear in a different color from your skin, dry, and flat or raised. This happens to areas that had too much sun exposure. 

How do you get rid of lip pigmentation?

Before anything else, it is best to know the cause of your lip pigmentation. Treatments are not one-size-fits-all, this is why it’s important to see your dermatologist. Home remedies such as applying honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt can help improve your condition. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and applying daily sun protection can also help. If your problem persists, and for severe pigmentation, specialists may recommend cosmetic treatments such as topical creams or lasers.

How is Pigmentation Diagnosed?

how is skin pigmentation diagnosed

A skin expert or dermatologist can diagnose pigmentation by looking at it and taking a small sample of skin for examination. They will give you a physical checkup to take a closer look and identify what kind of skin pigmentation you are dealing with. Your medical history will also be considered to help determine the cause and how the pigmentation may have developed. Dermatologists may prescribe a treatment of skin biopsy, microscopic examination, or microbiological culture to examine the pigmentation further. After a successful diagnosis, your doctor then can create a customized treatment plan for you.

How Is Pigmentation Treated?

skin pigmentation treatments singapore

Most people wish to get rid of pigmentation on their skin even if they are harmless. Luckily, there are a number of treatment methods that effectively treat hyperpigmentation.

Laser Treatments

This uses advanced technology for treating pigmentations by targeting deeper layers of the skin. Laser Treatments mainly uses laser energy to target darker spots and break pigmentation into smaller particles. Different types of lasers differ in their pulse duration, wavelength, and laser light used.

nano vs picoplus laser

It target pigmentation and deep acne scars. It uses a non-ablative laser, delivered through picosecond pulses, breaking the pigmented spots into fragments. This treatment stimulates collagen production, leading to more rejuvenated and youthful-looking skin.



 

It uses a safer wavelength that helps blood vessels remain intact even after laser treatment – this reduces the risks of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Ruvy touch delivers laser energy through picosecond pulses, which is a hundred times shorter than nanosecond pulses – this means less heat, inflammation, and damage.

pro-yellow laser

It uses a 577nm that offers 40% higher absorption when treating blood vessels. This coagulates blood found in the vessels to minimize bruising and blistering that may be side effects of other laser treatments. Pro Yellow laser is best used for melasma, solar lentigines, and vascular lesions such as rosacea and post-acne redness.

Creams or Serums

There are medical grade skincare products such as creams and serums that consist of active ingredients. These are usually used to prepare and support the skin before and after treatments such as facials, chemical peels, and lasers.

anti pigmentation creams or serums singapore

Pigment correctors work by reducing the production of Melanin in the skin’s outer layer (epidermis), lightening the pigmented marks. 

Serums, on the other hand, may help reduce side effects from other treatments and help speed up recovery. The proteins contained in serums encourage glycoprotein production to restore your skin’s healthy function.

The best topical creams for your pigmentation will be determined by the type of pigmentation, size, condition, and the area it is on. It is best to ask supervision from a professional to avoid abuse of these products that may lead to side effects.

Professional Chemical Peels

These are not ordinary chemical peels that can be done at home and on your own. Aesthetic Clinics offer chemical peels that contain active ingredients that effectively alter pigmentation through penetrating deep into the skin. The chemicals dissolve the skin’s outer layers, signalling the body to start its natural healing process, leading to the production of collagen that evens out your skin tone and texture.

chemical peel for pigmentation removal

There are 2 types of chemical peels which are used depending on the condition. A superficial chemical peel is one that targets pigmentation that developed on the skin’s epidermis – this only requires minimal downtime. On the other hand, deep chemical peels are used for severe pigmentation; this requires at least 1 week of recovery time.

Did you know?

Dr. Justin Boey is a featured expert on DoctorXDentist on pigmentation laser treatments.

If you’re not a huge fan of laser treatments, there’s good news! Lasers aren’t the only answer to pigmentation concerns, read more about it here.