Different Types of Pigmentation Explained
Whether you have post-blemish skin scarring following a stubborn breakout, freckles that have developed into full-blown sun spots from too much sun exposure or marks caused by issues like eczema or psoriasis, such skin discolouration all fall under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation.
Ephelides, more commonly known as freckles, are the most common type of skin pigmentation. Freckles are most common for fair-skinned, redheads. Common freckles are quite harmless and do not develop into skin cancer. They tend to become darker during summer with more sun exposure and fade in the winter. Genetics also influence freckles.
Also named liver spots or sun spots, solar lentigines are pigmented spots with a clearly defined outline. These smaller spots can develop anywhere on the body and vary in pigmentation from light brown to black. Solar lentigines appear after UV sun exposure. The colour, degree, and darkness is a result of how much the melanin pigments are exposed to UV light. It's important to monitor your sun spots or liver spots as they potentially can develop into melanoma and skin cancer. Make yearly check-ups with your doctor or dermatologist to keep an eye on them.
Birthmarks and other pigmentation patches are common on many people. Some of the most typical are pigmented birthmarks, hemangiomas, port wine stains, macular stains, while conditions which include albinism, melasma, vitiligo, and pigmentation loss are symptomatic of more profound underlying skin damage.
Melasma or chloasma faciei is a result of pigmentation that lies further down in the skin’s dermis layer. The condition develops on the face as larger brown patches with a non-distinct border. This type of skin pigmentation is more common in women, especially those who are pregnant, taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or on oral contraceptives. Though the reasons are unknown why, hormonal increases often stimulate melasma. The patches are made worse with UV exposure, certain medications, pregnancy, and stress levels.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a temporary pigmentation issue that follows injury to the dermis layer (e.g., cuts, grazes or burns) or inflammatory skin disorder (e.g., dermatitis, infection, etc.). Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is also called acquired melanosis.