Pigmentation, also referred to as brown spots, age spots, melasma, sun damage, etc. is a darkening condition of the skin that effects millions of people. Pigmentation can be seen on any area of the body, but most commonly appears on the face or areas over exposed to sunlight.
So what causes our skin to darken or pigment? Our skin contains special cells that produce melanin to give us pigment. When these special cells become damaged or unhealthy due to sun exposure, hormonal changes, various cosmetic treatments gone wrong, etc. the production of melanin is compromised which can cause the skin to darken in those areas.
Skin pigmentation can also be classified as freckles. Freckles are clusters of concentrated melanin that are most commonly on the face, chest and shoulders. Some people are born with freckles due to genetics and others develop freckles overtime due to UV exposure.
Areas of the skin that appear darker are typically not a threat to the health of the individual. Unless of course some of the areas appear suspicious, then a visit to your physician’s office is a must. For those who choose to treat pigmentation strictly for cosmetic purposes, luckily there have been advances in technology to effectively and safely treat pigmentation. Lasers, light machines, creams containing prescription strength hydroquinone, are all options that can even out discolored skin.
Pigmentation is a condition that can be treated superficially, however, it can never be completely and permanently resolved. As soon as the skin is re-exposed to sunlight or hormone levels change, skin that already has damaged melanocytes tend to easily darkened again.