Skin Pigment Disorders: What Causes Skin Pigmentation?

Q: Why does skin pigmentation occur?

A: Natural skin pigmentation is a protective skin barrier. Our skin is constantly affected by various factors, including sun and hormones. Melanin is a pigment, produced by skin that blocks ultraviolet rays when skin is exposed to sun.

Q: Does pigmentation refer to darker skin areas?

A: Actually, when we talk about pigmentation we don’t mean natural pigmentation, but all the disorders in healthy production of melanin by special cells in your skin, referred to as melanocytes. You may get darker skin areas or, on the contrary, lighter skin spots.

Q: Which factors can make certain areas of your skin look darker?

A: It can be sun exposure, skin aging, pregnancy or Addison’s disease, to name a few.

Q: What causes lighter skin patches?

A: There’s actually a wide range of causes: superficial fungal infections, autoimmune processes (vitiligo), genetic conditions (albinism), burns, scars or blisters, etc. Even stress and lack of certain minerals may trigger white pigmentation.

Q: What causes skin pigmentation apart from sun exposure?

A: Anything, associated with changes in hormonal level, may also cause skin pigmentation, especially on your face. It can be usage of hormonal medications, oral contraception, pregnancy or menopause.

Q: Are there underlying diseases, triggering skin pigmentation?

A: Of all the inner organs which may induce skin pigmentation, liver is number one. It’s the main trigger of chloasma and liver spots.

Q: Can other skin problems cause pigmentation?

A: Yes, pigmentation spots may appear where skin gets traumatized, for instance, in the areas where you have previously had acne. Traumas increase concentration of melanin.