Tips For Pigmentation Problems

Learn about the basics of skin pigmentation problems and how to prevent and treat them at home.

In order to understand how to treat skin discoloration problems, it is important to first understand how skin pigmentation works.Skin color is determined by the characteristics, size and distribution of melanin cells in the skin.Regardless of race or actual skin color, all people have roughly the same number of melanin cells in their skin.The color differences come from the dendrites in the melanin cells; the thicker and longer they are, the darker the pigmentation of the skin.Tyrosinase is an enzyme found exclusively in melanin cells that also affects skin coloration.It is about ten times more active and productive in darker skin than lighter skin, and its absence causes albinism.

Skin discoloration is caused by an excess or reduction regarding the melanin in the skin.Because melanin's purpose in our skin is protect us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, it makes sense that sun exposure can often be associated with pigmentation and discoloration problems.However, internal factors such as changing hormone levels and genetic predispositions can also add to or initiate discoloration.Melasma, for example, is caused by excess estrogen, often experienced during pregnancy or by women taking an oral contraceptive. The third cause for pigmentation problems is medical or singular events that harm the skin: injuries, certain medications, rashes, bug bites, and pimples or chronic acne.

The first step in treating or preventing any type of skin discoloration is to make sure that you are taking good care of your skin to begin with.An important part of that is protection from the sun and its UV rays.Make sure to always wear a sunscreen with at least an SPF level of 30 and protects against both UVA and UVB rays (look for the words "full spectrum" or "broad spectrum" on the bottle).


The second step in treatment is to gently exfoliate.Removing dead skin from your face helps to remove impurities from the skin and allows newer skin cells to surface, which is crucial for treating any externally-caused discolorations.A gentle facial scrub, available at any beauty supply or major drug store, can be used daily on any problem area.

As an added bonus, a good multivitamin can help to combat some internal predisposition to skin pigmentation problems.Look for one that contains roughly 75% of the daily value of Vitamin A, and ideally the full daily value of Vitamin E for maximum benefits.Both vitamins will help to even out skin tone and promote healthy skin.

Though skin discoloration is often deemed unsightly, especially by those who have suffered from it, make sure that any attempts to cover it up will not inadvertently add to the problem.Especially with externally-caused discoloration, it is crucial when using make-up or cover-up to find a non-irritating and gentle product to use.It will be worth the time and money to find a naturally-based or specialty product designed for sensitive skin.Though many products also have a light SPF added to them, do not assume it will be enough to go without daily sunscreen as well.

Many people also find that professional skin therapy can be beneficial, though obviously more expensive and with more drastic results than at-home remedies.Micro-dermabrasion, a technique that dramatically exfoliates facial skin, is sometimes recommended for those with discoloration.Laser therapies and acid peels are other cosmetic procedures that a qualified dermatologist can help perform for those with long-lasting pigmentation problems.When opting for a medical procedure, remember to follow the doctor's pre-op and post-care instructions carefully, and make sure to use a reliable and experienced medical facility.

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