Skin Conditions Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation disorders cause the skin to appear blotchy, too dark or too light. Skin pigmentation disorders occur because the body either produces too much or too little melanin. Melanin gives your skin, as well as your eyes and your hair, its color.

Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation

Dyschromia is the technical name for disorders of skin pigmentation. Hyperpigmentation refers to the phenomenon of skin having excess pigmentation. The counterpart to this condition is known as hypopigmentation, when there is a loss or lack of pigmentation.

Freckles are an example of hyperpigmentation. Although most children have freckles, they are not born with them. The sun usually causes freckles. The more a person is exposed to the sun, the more freckles (s)he will have or the darker his or her freckles will become.

Other forms of hyperpigmentation, such as stains, also exist. Some children are born with a birthmark that looks like a wine stain. This is a form of excess pigmentation in the skin. Another display of hyperpigmentation is the mole. Moles generally appear as raised, larger, freckle-like formations.

The Sun’s Role in Hyperpigmentation

The sun is the greatest contributor to hyperpigmentation of the skin. Not only can the sun cause hyperpigmentation, but it can also worsen existing hyperpigmentations. Over time, intense exposure to the sun can manifest itself as skin cancer.

Genetics and medications may also be factors in skin pigmentation disorders. People of all races can have skin pigmentation issues.

Skin lightening creams or chemical peels may help with hyperpigmentation. To keep the hyperpigmented area from becoming darker, you should stay out of the sun and use a good quality sun block.

Hypopigmentation of the Skin

Hypopigmentation comes in the form of lessened pigmentation or a total loss of pigmentation. In its most extreme form, hypopigmentation makes people albinos. Albinism, an inherited trait, is the complete absence of pigment in the skin. People who have albinism must be very careful in the sun due to the lack of melanin production.

Another form of hypopigmentation is Leukoderma. This causes light patches on the skin. Vitiligo also causes light patches on the skin. The difference between the two is that Vitiligo is something you acquire while Leukoderma is something with which you are born.

Visit a Dermatologist

Any change in your skin, especially changes in pigmentation, should be examined by a dermatologist. Dermatology is the study of skin disorders and diseases, and a dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in this field.

Preventative measures, such as staying out of the sun during peak hours and wearing sun block, can help prevent your skin from developing age spots, from darkening or from developing other hyperpigmentation conditions.