What is pigmentation? Pigmentation is the coloring of a person's skin. When a person is healthy, his or her skin will appear normal in color. Sometimes, a person's skin may change color due to illness or environmental factors causing their skin to become darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation).
Hyperpigmentation in skin is caused by an increase in melanin. Melanin is the substance in the body that is responsible for pigmentation or color. Certain physical conditions such as pregnancy or Addison's disease (decreased function of the adrenal gland), may cause a greater production of melanin and hyperpigmentation which in turn causes our skin to have darker areas than previously.
Here in Florida, a large problem effecting our skin is the exposure to sunlight. The constant sun worshipping is a major cause of hyperpigmentaion, and sun worshipping will darken already hyperpigmented areas.
Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by various medications or drugs that people take such as antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, and antimalaria drugs.
Melasma (also known as chloasma) is an example of hyperpigmentation. The tan or brown patches that occur most commonly on the face. Melasma is also called the "mask of pregnancy since it is usually pregnant women who experience this condition. However, men can also develop Melasma. Frequently, Melasma goes away after pregnancy. It can also be treated with certain prescription creams (such as hydroquinone).
If you have Melasma, try to limit your exposure to sunlight and be sure to use a strong sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) constantly since sun exposure will worsen your Melasma. Sunblocks containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are also great to use.
Be sure to consult with Dr. Kevin Welch before treating the condition yourself.
Hypopigmentation and Skin
- Hypopigmentation in skin is the opposite of Hyperpigmentation. The result of a reduction in melanin production is Hypopigmentation. Examples of hypopigmentation include:
- Vitiligo: smooth, white patches on the skin. Sometimes these white patches can appear all over the body due to an autoimmune disorder. The disorder causes pigment-producing cells to be damaged. There are several treatments but no cures for this skin condition. It is best to address it with ultraviolet light treatments, corticosteroid creams & there are cosmetic cover-ups to assist patients with this disorder. Be sure to visit Dr. Kevin Welch and visit Welch Skin Care Center.
- Albinism: Albinism is an inherited disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme that produces melanin and is mostly known to people by Albinos. This autoimmune disorder is the result in a complete lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, or eyes. Albinism have an abnormal gene that restricts the body from producing melanin and there is no cure. People with albinism should use a sunscreen at all times because they are much more likely to get sun damage which can lead to skin cancer. This disorder can occur in any race.
- Pigmentation loss as a result of skin damage: If you have suffered any type of trauma to your skin from burns, blisters or infections; this occurance may have caused loss of pigmentation to your skin This type of pigment loss is usually not permanent, but the skin's healing process may be long. During this long repigmentation process; cosmetics can be used to cover the damaged area. Be sure to visit Welch Skin Care Center to find the right cosmetics for your skin.