Pigmentation is caused by the overproduction of melanin, which cannot be easily removed once found. Below are some factors that may increase the production of melanin,
- Ultraviolet Radiation
Melanin is produced to protect skin when consistently exposed to UV rays
Metabolism gets slower with increasing age causing the melanin to stay in the body which leads to uneven skin tone, freckles, or other pigment
- Hormones and stress
- Misuse of cosmetics
- Malfunction of organs
Apart from melasma, below are some common types of pigmentation,
The sun’s ultraviolet radiation causes melanocytes to make more melanin, which can cause freckles to appear, they are usually brown in color, can be as small as a pinpoint, and with smooth edges. It mostly appears on cheeks, nose bridge, neck, shoulders, back of hands.
A solar lentigo (solar lentigines), is a dark lesion caused by ultraviolet radiation. It is different from a simple lentigo. They appear as well-defined, light brown to dark brown in color. It is flat with a well-defined edge. It can be round, oval, or irregular in shape. They usually appear larger than freckles.
Age spots appear when melanin becomes clumped or is produced in high concentrations, it is raised, round or irregular in shape, appears yellowish, brownish or dark
Sun protection is the key to prevent pigmentation and therefore sunblock of SPF30 or above is recommended. Light source/ laser treatments, chemical peels, and topical medicines are common therapies to lighten pigments. The wavelength of light sources used for pigment removal varies from different skin concerns and/or types of pigment. It is suggested to consult a doctor before adopting to any channels. Most of the time, a combination of different treatments may be required.