What is Pigmentation?

Pigmentation is the term used for an excess production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the natural pigments that are responsible for our skin and hair colour. When there is an excess of melanin, darker spots appear on the skin, resulting in an uneven complexion. The main type of pigmentation is pigment spots, but there are many different types of pigmentation, known by various different names including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, freckles, solar lentigines and liver spots.

What Are The Causes of Pigmentation?

The biggest culprit of pigmentation is sun damage, although other factors that can also play a part include hormones, ageing, genetics, illness & medication and skin conditions such as acne.

Sunlight generates the production of melanin in the skin, which acts to protect us from harmful UV rays. Too much exposure to the sun can disrupt the natural melanin process and cause pigmentation. 

Hormones can also have a heavy influence on pigmentation, particularly when it comes to melasma. Melasma is most common amongst young women, commonly occurring when oestrogen and progesterone encourage excess melanin production in the sunlight.  

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can occur when the skin is traumatised or inflamed.

How Can Pigmentation Be Prevented? 

To avoid pigmentation due to sun damage, you should avoid exposure to sunlight and always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin and stop hyperpigmentation from becoming darker.

Avoid trauma to the skin by leaving patches, scabs, and acne alone to avoid hyperpigmentation. A nutritious diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in Vitamin C and flavonoids, can aid in the reduction of pigmentation.