Discoloration/Pigmentation

Pigmentation and skin discoloration. What is it and how is it effectively treated?

 

There are so many pigmentation treatments out there. The issue of skin pigmentation is a growing cause for concern for most people, judging by the skin discoloration treatments produced by different cosmetic companies nowadays.

There can be many causes of skin pigmentation. It can be present at birth, like birthmarks, or inherited disorders. It can also be caused throughout the course of time due to exposure to the sun, or serious health issues.

Whether you are suffering from discoloration like dark spots and pigmentation, need to know their causes, or if you are seeking information on how exactly your whitening cream works, if it even works, this article contains all that you need to know about the possible ways to combat pigmentation.

Why is everyone’s skin tone different and how did the skin manage to get its color? There is a pigment called Melanin that is present in our bodies. These pigments are complex polymers, created through Tyrosine (an amino acid), and are produced from skin cells known as Melanocytes. These Melanocytes are distributed in the top most layer of skin called the epidermis.

These special cells are constantly creating melanin. After this pigment is created, it is distributed amongst our cells and tissues in a way that the color spreads uniformly through our body.

If you have spotless skin, it is important to give credit to the melanocytes for being so hard at work and maintaining the production of melanin. If this balance is interrupted by different disruptive factors, this gives rise to discoloration, blemishes, spots, pigmentation and hyperpigmentation.

Pigmentation and discoloration:

The term pigmentation means “coloring”. Pigmentation is a disorder of the skin where the color of your body is affected. This in turn causes discoloration.

When the melanin is affected through environmental and internal factors, it causes an increase in its production leading to darkening of our skin layers and dark spots to appear on its surface. Similarly, a decrease in the production of melanin causes lightening of the skin.

Here are some of the common inherited pigmentation disorders:

Albinism

This is an inherited disorder. Children born with Albinism lack melanin altogether. Eyes, hair and skin layers are affected by it and these areas appear white. Due to lack of Melanin these individuals are susceptible to skin burning due to the rays of the sun. They are hence, advised to wear sunscreen before going out in the sun because the exposure may cause skin burns or develop skin cancer. This is because melanin protects our skin from the sun.

Melasma

This disorder was known as chloasma previously. Melasma is characterized by dark spots on the surface of our skin. These are brown patches or excess tanning of our skin. The areas where these spots are found are the upper lip. cheeks, forehead and chin. This is caused due to hormonal changes in women due to the intake of birth control or pregnancy. This condition is known as the “pregnancy mask”. However, men can develop this condition too. People that suffer from this disorder are prescribed over the counter skin care creams and in extreme cases, Melasma is treated through laser therapy.

Vitiligo

This condition is an auto-immune disorder. This means that our antibodies start to attack our melanocytes, this in turn affects the production of melanin. This leads to white patches on the skin. Vitiligo is characterized by white patches around the mouth, the back of the hands, and around the eyes. Individuals with vitiligo are also susceptible to contracting other auto-immune disorders like Hyper-thyroidism, Addison’s disease and even diabetes. There is no cure for Vitiligo except it can only be slowed down due to spot treatment creams, immunomodulators, and topical steroids.

Never go out without sunscreen! I’m sure you have heard of this before. This is because we need to protect our skin from damage and other causes of discoloration. Always invest in products that help our skin become healthy and spot free. Here are some of the induced skin disorders:

Blemishes and dark spots.

Dark spots and blemishes also affect the overall appearance of your skin. These are two of the most common skin conditions out of the rest.

Black spots on our skin are a byproduct of a condition called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is the increase in melanin production. This condition mostly affects middle aged women. This condition is the concentration of melanin in one area, making our skin look like it has black or brown spots.

The locations of these spots are usually on the forehead and cheekbone areas. This causes an overall effect on your aesthetics.

Blemishes, on the contrary, are caused due to some sort of blockage in our pores. There are different reasons blemishes are caused. The most common ones are blackheads, yellow or black bumps on the surface of our epidermis. This can also present as “papules” which are red elevated areas on the skin.

Blemishes are long lasting effects that remain on our skin even after your breakouts are gone. This can be a very annoying predicament. There are old home remedies told to you by your mom or your aunts, and you can spend all your time doing these remedies except they just don’t seem to work. This article will help you find specific cures and causes for your skin conditions.

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common denominator in all branches of skin conditions that can stem from all sorts of other dermatological factors. Hyperpigmentation can have many causes. It is characterized by darkening of the skin leading to dark patches. This happens when melanin is deposited in different areas.

A few common issues that cause hyperpigmentation are:

  • Hormonal changes.
  • Sun exposure causing the disruption of melanin.
  • Faulty skin treatments.
  • Hereditary conditions.
  • Acne
  • Skin inflammation due to irritants.

Changes that cause the inflammation of the skin are called Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). Causes of PIH due to erratic deposition and dispersion of melanin due to any inflammation of the skin.

“When PIH is confined to the epidermis, there is an increase in the production and transfer of melanin to surrounding keratinocytes. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, this rise in melanocyte activity has been shown to be stimulated by prostanoids, cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators, as well as, reactive oxygen species that are released during the inflammatory process.”

– An article called “A Review of the Epidemiology, Clinical Features, and Treatment Options in Skin Color” published by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Even though this condition is benign, it can cause psycho-social impacts on the individual facing it, for example, it can cause self-esteem issues in the patient.

Brightening products for uneven skin tone.

There are so many skincare products that me and my roommates purchased and now own. The list has grown immense in just the past week and nothing seems to work. Just the amount of money that we spent on these products was enough to cover the cost of our trip to Costa Rica this summer.

Let’s admit it; we have started preparing for the long months of summer and countless trips to the beach. Choosing the right products to protect you from the sun can be stressful out of so many available on the market. However, we still encourage you to go ahead and carefully pick the most fitting products to combat discoloration and dark spots if you want to look sexy in your swimsuits this summer.

There are thousands of even skin tone products to choose from. How do we begin to get the ones that we know will be effective? Do this carefully and do your research beforehand!

It is easy to forget to check the ingredients and figure out which ingredient is best suited to your skin type and issue and run to the counter to make our purchase. Knowing these things are crucial so you can get the most out of your products and avoid ending up with a botched skincare routine.

Below is a list of ingredients found in dermatological products that combat skin discoloration:

  • Vitamin C: This is top of the list for treating discoloration and dark spots. This gives you a beautiful glow to your face.
  • Azelaic Acid: This works by reducing the production of melanin from the melanocytes and reduces pigmentation.
  • Phytic Acid: This works by interrupting the oxidation process by which your melanocytes produce melanin.
  • Lactic Acid: It prevents the melanin from depositing too much on the skin. This also has an exfoliating effect on the skin which helps in regeneration, and hydration, making your skin glow. It also has an antibacterial effect that prevents more acne from occurring.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids inhibits discoloration and also has a hydrating and exfoliating effect on the skin. It helps in replacement of old cells with new ones by prompting the cells underneath to ascend to the surface. This process is known as cell turnover. This helps in the melanin to be removed from the skin. Hence, it gets rid of pigmentation and discoloration.

These ingredients are topnotch for preventing and removing darkening areas of the skin and lifting dark spots or blemishes. They work together to give you rejuvenated, spot free and supple skin.

Looking at the trends in latest skincare regarding even skin tone products, it is easy to get lost trying to find that one product that its tailored to your dermal issues. The choice has become complex.

NCI has a range of products that target hyperpigmentation, reduce the appearance of spots and rejuvenating the skin for an even, spotless skin tone throughout your body. Here are some options to choose from that you can incorporate in your dermal care regimen.