Skin Pigmentation |The Causes,Treatment and Home Remedies
03-06-2017 | Posted By: Shagun Parasher | 2592 View(s)
The colouration of the skin shades darker or lighter than the usual skin colour is known as the skin pigmentation. Our skin gets its colour from a pigment, called melanin. Melanin is produced by melanocytes (the type of cells that are present in the basal layer of the epidermis) and is responsible for the colouration of skin, hair and eyes. It protects our skin from UVB radiation damage, thus reducing the risk of cancer.
What causes Skin Pigmentation?
Skin Pigmentation is caused by the increase in levels of melanin. It could be the result of inflammation (that occurs after treatment, like the laser), injury, sun damage or hormonal changes. Birthmarks and freckles are a different type of pigmentation, as they are genetically determined. The appearance of patches, however, can be the result of a disease, so it should be diagnosed as soon as possible.
What are Skin Pigmentation Disorders?
Pigmentation is the colouring of an individual’s skin. The colour of the skin appears normal when a person is healthy. A person’s skin may change colour and grow darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) because of illness and injury. Below are some of the Pigmentation Disorders:
It is the darkening of an area of skin or nails caused by increased melanin. Conditions such as pregnancy or decreased function of the adrenal gland (Addison’s disease), may cause a greater production of melanin. One of the leading causes of hyperpigmentation is exposure to sunlight. It can also be caused by various drugs, including some antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, and antimalarial drugs. An example of hyperpigmentation is Melasma which is characterised by tan or brown patches, most commonly on the face.
It is the loss of skin colour which is caused by melanin depletion. Examples of Hypopigmentation are:
Vitiligo is an autoimmune, disease in which there is an appearance of smooth, white patches on the skin occur all over the body.
It is a rare inherited disorder which is caused by the absence of an enzyme that produces melanin. Pigmentation is completely lost as a result in eyes, skin and hair.
It most commonly affects children and is characterised by colourless, scaly skin patches.
It is an inflammatory skin disease which is marked by red, scaly, itchy patches of skin in oil prone areas.
It is caused by fungal infection and characterised by itchy, scaly patches of lighter or pinkish skin.
It is the lightening of the skin or loss of pigment. It can be caused by many local and systemic conditions. The loss of pigment can be partial (caused because of injury to the skin) or complete (caused by Vitiligo). It can be temporary or permanent.
Diagnosis of Pigmentation
Pigmentation is visible to naked eyes, but it takes 10-20 years for a scar to develop. So, we can say that these don’t develop suddenly but over a period. Diagnosis of Pigmentation can be made by Wood Lamp’s Examination.Wood’s lamp is a device that emits light in the 365-nanometer range and is used by the skin specialists.
The test is performed in a dark area, allowing the light emitted by the device to glow on the affected area for a small period and looking for any changes in colour or fluorescence. If the skin is healthy, then it won’t fluoresce under Wood’s Lamplight.
Treatment for Pigmentation
Pigmentation is treated mostly through three chemical methods.
1. Chemical Peel
Chemical peels are used by Dermatologists to enhance the appearance of skin. In this process, a chemical solution is applied to the skin that exfoliates it and eventually leads it to come off. The newly made skin is smoother and less wrinkled as compared to the old skin. But, the new skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight.
Dermabrasion is a kind of cosmetic surgery which involves removal of the superficial layers of skin with the help of a rapidly revolving tool, mostly made up of a diamond.
3) Laser Resurfacing
It is a process which uses a laser to treat minor facial flaws by removing layers of skin. Healing takes around ten days.
Home Remedies to treat Pigmentation
We often look for treatments that are easily performed and things that are easily available. For trying home remedies, one has to be patient, and he/she should not stop trying. Few home remedies that are most useful for treating pigmentation are described briefly below.
1) Use Raw Potatoes
Cut the potato into two parts preferably of the same size and rub it on the affected side. Perform this for three to four times a day for a month.
2) Lemon and Honey
Cut a lemon and take one-half of it. On one-half put two-three drops of honey. Rub this for about five minutes on the pigmented area. Just leave it for 15 min and then wash off your face with regular water. Repeat the process for twice a day until you notice a change.
3) Apple Cider Vinegar
It is a magical solution which cures almost all skin related infections. Take 3-4 tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and water and mix it well. Apply this on the affected part and allow it to settle down for about 5 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water. Repeat this twice daily for desired results.
Onions are rich in Vitamin C (an antioxidant) which helps in curing pigmentation. Take an onion, cut it into two halves and rub one-half directly on the affected area. Leave it as it is for about 10 minutes or so and then wash it off with water.
5) Aloe Vera
It is among the most efficient home remedies for treating skin pigmentation. Take two tablespoons of aloe vera gel and apply it on the affected area. For Best Results leave it for 20 minutes and wash it with lukewarm water.
Pigmentation is skin issue that is caused by various factors like direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight, failure of certain laser treatments, usage of skin and beauty products that does not suit one’s skin, pregnancy, stress, etc. Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin whereas Hypopigmentation is the lightening of the skin.
Pigmentation can be diagnosed by Wood’s lamp examination method.
There are various ways of pigmentation treatment out of which the most preferred are Chemical Peeling, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. There are various home remedies also which a person who is affected by pigmentation can go in for. For trying these home remedies one has to be patient and keep trying. If you experience any symptoms of Skin Pigmentation, do Visit a Skin Specialist.