Pigmentation – Hyperpigmentation refers to changes in the skin?s colour due to the overproduction of melanin (skin-protecting dark pigment) by melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). It commonly appears on the face, neck, shoulders, d?colletage and the hands giving skin an uneven tone. Pigmentation affects all skin types and conditions, not just people with fair complexions but those with dark complexions as well.

Appropriate amounts of cellular melanin production are nature?s defensive mechanism that prevents skin cells from UV damage. Abnormal or excess melanin production occurs when melanocyte cells become damaged due to frequent and prolonged sun and UV exposure or tanning beds, which can aggravate not only pigmentation issues but also accelerate the ageing process while causing cell mutations.

Three types of pigmentation:

  1. Epidermal(superficial) ? Known as Post-Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation (PIHP) is discolouration of the skin, usually close to the skin?s surface. It is the skin?s natural healing response to inflammation from a wound, injury/trauma and UV-induced sun-exposure. This is commonly caused by:


  • Age / Sun Spots: Also known as Liver Spots or Solar Lentigines, are flat brown, black or grey spots most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the skin. As they tend to group together, they present as dark areas of pigmentation usually uneven in shape and skin tone. Lighter complexions are at greater risk of developing age spots, although darker complexions and people who tan easily are not immune from this condition.
  • Acne: Also known as macules and appears like a flat area of discolouration, darker than the surrounding skin These marks can range in color from pink to red, purple, brown, or black and can occur in all skin colours.
  • Freckles: Are small brown spots, concentrated often in areas that get UV or sun exposure and the genetic makeup. Mostly occurs during childhood in fair-skins but can occur in dark skins.
  • Post Inflammatory Hypo Pigmentation: Patches of skin appears lighter due to loss of skin color where the melanocytes cells stop producing melanin, after the skin heals from an injury, inflammation or due to over stimulation. Other contributory factors are UV stress, genetics, ordered immune system and exposure to certain industrial chemicals. This can occur in all skin colours.


  1. Dermal?(deep) ? Includes ?Hori?s nevus? and ?nevus of Ota?, which are usually found in the deeper dermal layers. It results from possible inflammation, hormonal imbalance and UV/sun stimulation.


  1. Mixed Epidermal/Dermal?? Is found in both the epidermis and the dermis. Melasma appears as brown or grayish brown patches on the skin. This is hormonal-induced with use of oral contraceptives and exacerbates during pregnancy.

Other contributory factors include genetics, diet and nutrition, lifestyle, hormones, medications, environmental factors, pregnancy, injury/trauma and cellular age.

Treatment options available are:

  • Heading ? Sun damage, sun spots, age spots, Melasma