What causes Pigmentation, Hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin?

It is caused by the overproduction of melanin by melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis.

Skin Health Hub Skin Conditions What Is PigmentationMelanocytes release pigment into the skin cells to surround and protect the cell’s nucleus. This causes the skin to darken and form concentrated spots of melanin, referred to as sun spots.

Common areas affected are on the cheeks, around the eyes and forehead and if it has occurred as a result of sun damage the melanin was produced to protect skin cells from exposure to harmful UV rays. In the case of hormonal pigment or melisma, the ‘creation’ of a symmetrical ‘butterfly’ pattern of pigment is caused by an overstimulation of melanocytes due to increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone. This may have occurred after pregnancy, use of the oral contraceptive pill or as a result of undergoing hormonal treatment.

For treatment on the face, a skin care range incorporating the use of the following active ingredients is a common approach. Vitamin A to normalise the skins function and C to protect DNA and niacinamide (the active form of vitamin B) to inhibit the synthesis of melanin and lighten existing pigmentation.

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