An Interview With A Dermatologist: Pigmentation Explained

Dermatologist Dr Taghipour explains pigmentation, and how to prevent and reduce the appearance of pigmentation.

An Interview With A Dermatologist: Pigmentation Explained

What is skin pigmentation?

Skin pigmentation is due to melanin, which is produced by cells that are located in the basal layer of the epidermis and are known as melanocytes.

Is pigmentation a sign of damaged skin?

No, darker skin has naturally more melanin than lighter skin, and melanocytes produce more melanin when the skin is exposed to the UV light as part of skin’s natural defence against the sun i.e. tanning. Patchy hyperpigmentation may develop as a result of sun damage or following an injury or inflammation.

Can all pigmentation be cared for the same?

It is important to address the cause of skin pigmentation. Sun protection and topical agents help to improve sun-induced hyper-pigmentation and freckles.

So, are freckles results of sun damage?

Freckles (lentigines) that appear on adult sun-exposed skin, such as the face or the back of your hands, are usually due to repeated UV exposure leading to increased melanin production and retention.

Can you reduce the appearance of pigmentation?

For more superficial, epidermal pigmentation such as freckles, melasma, which are dark patches on the face due to things such as hormones or sun exposure, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, there are a number of topical agents that help to fade the appearance of pigmentation.

How can I protect against further sun-induced pigmentation?

The best way to protect against sun-induced pigmentation is to regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and to wear protective clothing and hats when exposed to the sun.