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Troubled by black spots on your face? Know all about different types of pigmentation

Skin pigmentation is a rather common condition, so it’s important to understand the types, so that you can get the right kind of treatment.
pigmentation around mouth
Pigmentation can be caused by various reasons. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Neha Sharma Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 11:09 am IST
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Skin pigmentation on the face is a very common problem that Indians face, and believe it or not, it can cause a considerable psychological impact. But you must know about the types of pigmentation and how to solve them.

Causes of skin pigmentation

Some of the most common causes of pigmentation on the face are conditions like melasma, freckles, lentigens, Riehl’s melanosis, Ashy’s dermatosis, and many more. These can cause light brown to dark brown and even grey or bluish discoloration.

Keep a check on any irregular developments on your skin!
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Its treatment requires clinical expertise and also skin biopsy in some cases to accurately diagnose the clinical condition causing the pigmentation.

Another common cause of pigmented spots on the face in India is freckles. These are seen as light small brown spots on sun-exposed areas. Sun exposure and genetics are the two main causes.

Lentigens are also small brown spots that appear in sun-exposed areas but they are usually darker in colour.

Acanthosis nigricans is also an extremely common cause of pigmentation on the face and neck. It is characterized by dark, velvety, and thickened skin on the face and body folds. It is usually a symptom of obesity, diabetes, nutritional deficiency, and in some cases even tumors.

Different types of pigmentation

Melasma, the most common cause of pigmentation in India has been classified as epidermal, dermal, and dermo-epidermal, depending on the depth of pigmentation. In the epidermal type, the pigment is brown whereas, in the dermal type, the pigment is grey-brown.

Also Read: Say bye-bye to hyperpigmentation with these 5 essential oils

skin pigmentation types
Know about the types of pigmentation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

After we identify the type of pigment, the treatment plan is formulated. UV rays, hormonal changes, thyroid disorders, oral contraceptives, genetic history, pregnancy, and oral medications like phenytoin, griseofulvin, NSAIDS are some of the common causes of melasma.

Diagnosing pigmented spots on the face is challenging, since most of these conditions have overlapping clinical features.

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How to treat skin pigmentation?

The most important part in the treatment of these clinical entities is the removal of the provoking factors, strict photoprotection, and pigment reduction.

Photoprotection in the form of sunscreen, both topical and oral; wearing hats or using an umbrella outdoors, and wearing shades is of paramount importance.

Lifestyle modifications like avoiding outdoor activities between 11 AM – 4 PM can be helpful.

Topical skin lightening agents after correct diagnosis can be started.

Some of the skin-lightening agents are azelaic acid, hydroquinone, glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, alpha arbutin, licorice extract, and kojic acid. They have to be used along with sunscreens. If you experience redness and irritation, talk to your doctor.

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About the Author

Dr Neha Sharma Dermatologist and Founder, Estique clinic, Gurugram ...Read More

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