Uneven skin pigmentation is very common across all skin colors, skin types, and ethnic backgrounds, and can be caused by a number of reasons including exposure to sunlight, hormonal changes, skin inflammation or damage, and genetic conditions. The cause of most irregular skin pigmentation is by either an over or under production of melanin in the body. Excessive exposure to UV sun rays damages our skin in several ways and contributes heavily to premature ageing.
What causes skin pigmentation?
Melanin gives our skin its colour, whether dark or light complexioned, we all have varying amounts of melanin in our skin. Pigmented lesions are dark in colour simply because the melanin has become abnormally localized and concentrated in one area of the skin. High concentrations of melanin arise from several causes. Some types are present at birth, but most pigmentation occurs as a result of overexposure to the sun’s damaging rays, ageing, hormonal change (Chloasma) arising from several causes including some oral contraceptives, or pregnancy (Melasma). We are now very aware of the adverse effects of over exposure to the sun and modern sun screens and other skin care products are directed at preventing, or at least minimising, damage to our skin arising from normal exposure and from “sun-bathing”. While protection from the sun remains the best prevention from sun spots and related sun-damage skin disorders, there are treatments available for those already suffering from “photo-aging”, although most brown spots are easily ignored, many are quite conspicuous and can detract from your skin’s natural beauty and your feelings of well-being and esteem. Pigmentation removal depends on the type, location, and cause of the pigmentation.
Solar lentigos, As the name indicates, this is a direct result of sun exposure — the skin is reacting to the UV (Ultra Violet) rays from the Sun. Many of us have endured sunburns; the acute form of Sun damage to the skin, the reality is that the effects of sun-damaged skin increase with age. Over time, we note the gradual changes (chronic) in our skin caused by the accumulation of sun exposure.
Chloasma occurs quite commonly in women taking oral contraceptive tablets. The skin pigmentations usually develop slowly but may be noticed shortly after starting oral contraception or changing the brand or dosage strength, but may also occur after many months of use. You should consult your General Medical Practitioner and discuss alternative contraceptives.
Melasma is triggered by sunlight and the incidence increase with age. Another important contributing factor is hormonal changes. Melasma is also called “mask of pregnancy” because it appears during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy are known to aggravate pre-existing Melasma.