Skin pigmentation refers to colouring on the skin. Skin pigmentation disorders affect the colour of the skin. Our skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. When these cells are no longer functioning normally, it affects melanin production. Some pigmentation disorders affect small patches of skin, while others affect your entire body.
If there is too much melanin, the skin becomes darker. Some causes of hyperpigmentation include:
- Pregnancy which may lead to fluctuation of hormones and may affect the skin health
- Exposure to the sun without applying sufficient sunscreen
- Consuming certain drugs such as minocycline and birth control pills
- Skin inflammation, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
As we age, pigmentation will be deposited into our skin as a result of sun damage. While there are many different types of pigmentation, Asians are prone to melasma, which is one of the most difficult to treat. Melasma appears as patchy pigmentation, giving your skin an uneven skin tone. Often, it exists with other forms of pigmentation as well. Melasma affects women more than men.
Although there are many over-the-counter skin care creams that are available for lightening skin pigmentation, the results may not be as fast or as obvious as laser treatments carried out by aesthetic doctors.
Sun protection is extremely important in treating melasma. Topical creams, gentle chemical peels, and gentle lasers help improve the problem as well. While you can never totally cure melasma, you can keep it in check. If you are keen to reduce the appearance of skin pigmentation using laser treatment, please consult a doctor and he will advise you on your treatment plan.
Know Your Problems
- Uneven skin tone is often caused by a pigmentory condition called melasma, which affects more Asian women than their male counterparts.
- Melasma cannot be cured, but the problem can be improved with sun protection, and regular, gentle treatments.
- Harsh laser treatments may worsen the problem.