What we call pigmentation is actually the colouring of the skin, the skin cells produces melanin and this is responsible for colouring our skin, hair and iris of the eye. Let us understand pigmentation is detail.
There are two types of pigmentations found; they are hyper pigmentation and hypo pigmentation, while hyper pigmentation means having an excess amount of melanin on the skin, hypo pigmentation means a loss of pigmentation or a decrease in the amount of melanin that is being produced. When melanin is produced in excess as in the case of hyper pigmentation, dark spots appear on the skin. Melanin also protects the skin from harmful UV rays, but this doesn’t really mean that dark skinned people should not protect their skin against the sun’s rays.
An average adult has 3.6 kilograms and 22 square meters of skin. The human skin also functions as a temperature regulator which will act as a shield against bacteria and water loss. This is a storage center for water and fat. The skin could also be think or thick, with the eyelids being the thinnest skin in the human body. Now skin pigmentation is something that resides in the epidermis, which is the think outer segment of the three layers that make up the skin. Pigmentation does not reach the middle layer of the skin which is the dermis. When you get tan, the epidermis actually produces more melanin and this then protects the skin from sun damage. However, it is not enough to prevent damage and disease that is caused by the strong rays of the sun.
Skin pigmentation could have its disorders too, unlike other physical problems, skin disorders show up on your face and hiding them could be difficult.
The disorders caused by skin could either be darker or lighter, as mentioned before when lightening it is called hypo pigmentation, and when darkening it is called hyper pigmentation. Vitiligo is a hypo pigmentation disorder wherein the body destroys its melanocytes or they even fail to function properly. Therefore, a person cannot produce melanin and so the skin loses its colour. This takes some time and does not happen overnight.
Then you have melasma which is a hyper pigmentation condition and is sometimes also referred as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ as it appears on the faces of pregnant women. Malsma can go away on its own, but it can at times be treated with creams that may be prescribed or can be bought over the counter.
Older people at times have darkened skin around their necks and cheeks, this is known as poikilodermia of Civatte, but can also be referred to as sun aging. As the name suggests, people are prone to this disorder when they spend too much of time under the sun, most times it does not cause any discomfort.
It is important to use sunscreen and limit the exposure to sunlight so as to prevent any sort of damage to the skin. This is even more important when you have any of these pigmentation affecting conditions.
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