In simple words, pigmentation means colouring. When it comes to our skin, the colour of our skin is determined by a pigment called melanin. The production of melanin is undertaken by specialized cells in our skin. Any negative impact or damage caused to these cells affect the melanin production in our body and hence causes skin pigmentation. Skin pigmentation can not only occur in patches on different parts of your body but can also affect the entire body.
Neither excess nor lack of melanin is good for your skin as-
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin problem which can affect people with all skin types. It is basically a condition in which the skin starts producing more melanin than usual. The result of which is the formation of patches which appear darker than the skin surrounding them. Hyperpigmentation can be caused due to medications such as anti-arrhythmic, antibiotics and antimalarial drugs.
Melasma, which is also known as “the mask of pregnancy” is a type of hyperpigmentation which can lead to tan or brown patches on the forehead, face and stomach. Melasma usually affects pregnant women or women who are taking birth control pills but it can also affect men.
There are several procedures like chemical peels and laser resurfacing to reduce the effects of melasma.
Hypopigmentation is the condition when your skin becomes lighter than normal. It usually occurs when your skin is damaged from infections, blisters, burns or other trauma. The affected areas loose pigment which, in turn, makes the skin lighter. However, the normal colour comes back usually but it can take a long time.
Vitiligo is a type of hypopigmentation which is a result of lack of melanin production in your skin. The lack of melanin production, in turn, results in the formation of smooth, white patches on the skin. This loss of melanin usually occurs when the cells responsible for its production die or stop functioning.
Hypopigmentation can be treated by using topical creams, medicines and ultraviolet-light treatments.