What Types Of Skin Pigmentation Are There?

August 4, 2010

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Our skin normally pigments under the influence of melanin, a substance which protects the skin cells for UV radiation. One’s skin complexion is manipulated by melanin production. When melanin is not produced in a consistently moderate amount, the skin can become discolored.

Skin pigmentation has different cause and effects. The most common types of skin pigmentation are mentioned below.

•    Ephelides/Freckles

These are common to people who have fair skin. Freckles are hereditary blemishes, usually brown spots on the cheeks, chest or any area exposed to the sun. They may enhance or worsen one’s appearance.

•    Solar Lentigines

This type of pigmentation is popularly known as liver spots or age spots. This is caused by dead cells that are left on skin and causing dark pigmentation.   The parts of the skin which gets the most sunlight are susceptible to solar lentigines. The sun can damage skin in excessive amounts.

•    Melasma

Melasma occurs more in women than in men. Women who take birth control pills are more inclined to having melasma. Melasma appears like brown patches on the face or any part of the body. Melasma can be either epidermal or dermal. Epidermal melasma involves the upper layers of skin so it is easier to remove. Dermal melasma is skin deep so it could be hard to cure.

•    Chloasma

It is one of the effects of pregnancy. Sun exposure can aggravate this situation. This can also appear on the abdomen.

Hyperpigmentation is mentioned earlier. It’s time to discuss hypopigmentation, the reverse of hyperpigmentation. And to make it simple these conditions are cause by lack of melanin on skin.

•    Skin Damage

The skin may also lose pigment due to wounds.

•    Albinism

This condition is the absence of melanin on skin.   People affected with this have very white skin color, eye color and hair color. People who have albinism have a gene which restricts melanin production. Albinos have a greater danger of skin cancer.

•    Vitiligo

Vitiligo is manifested by white marks on skin. Vitiligo is cause by damage in pigment producing cells, and is classified as an autoimmune disorder.   There is no cure for vitiligo up to now, but there are some ways like make up to conceal vitiligo.

One should ask a dermatologist first before treating these skin problems. Treating yourself without the advice of experts can be dangerous.

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