Pigmentation comes in all different shades of brown and can be located anywhere on the body in different shapes and sizes. Although they are completely harmless, age spots can be seen as unsightly and can make the skin appear 10 time’s older then your age.
Pigmentation normally appears in your adult to elderly life and can become bigger and darker over time.
How does pigmentation form
When skin cells are healthy, your skin will appear normal and even. However, when skin cells become damaged or unhealthy, extra melanin is produced to help protect your skin. Alternatively, the cells that produce pigment can be damaged, which prevents melanin production. As a result, parts of your skin may turn lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation), both of which are recognisable skin conditions,
But what causes it?
Irregular production of melanin (the brown or reddish pigment in skin). Certain triggers – unprotected sun exposure in particular – causes this irregular production, which leads to surface color-clumping. Other causes include hormonal factors (birth control pills and pregnancy), and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) caused by past trauma or scarring (think a popped pimple or a deep cut). Hormonal hyperpigmentation and PIH are both intensified by sun exposure.
The number one cause of hyperpigmentation is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. And this doesn’t just apply to simple, daily exposure to UV rays alone; chemical fragrances may react with sunlight, medications may cause sun sensitivity, and dark patches may appear after invasive or strong peels where the skin has become sensitized. You may also notice hyperpigmentation during pregnancy (and post-pregnancy) in the form of Melasma (aka Chlosma), which appears on the face, often in a butterfly formation. During times of stress skin can also hyperpigment, especially on the neck and around the temples, due to hormonal surges. Trauma to the skin (i.e. a graze on the knee, a squeeze of a spot, eczema or sinus congestion) can lead to pigmentation formation as well.
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