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Skin is the largest organ of the body and consists of two layers namely epidermis (the upper layer) and dermis (the lower layer). The lowermost layer of the epidermis is referred to as the basal layer which contains 'melanin', the cells responsible for skin color. The vascularity and the thickness of epidermis also affect the color of the skin.

What are the causes of Hyperpigmentation (increase in Skin Pigmentation)?

Generally, Hyperpigmentation is the result of excess production of melanin in the dermis and epidermis. As epidermis is the upper layer, the pigmentation issues take less treatment time as compared to treat pigmentary disorders at the dermis level.

What are the different types of Pigmentation?

1. Melasma is most commonly experienced by pregnant women. This appears in the form of brown patches on the facial skin. Exposure to the sun might aggravate the condition.

2. Dark Circles: Scientifically known as Peri-orbital melanosis, the dark circles may appear due to stress, lack of sleep or hereditary factors.

3. Freckles and Lentigines: Appear mostly due to genetic factors in the form of very small black/brown spots on the face.

4. Photomelanosis: As clear from its name, this type of pigmentation affects the body parts that are most exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, and back.

5. Sun burn is another pigmentary disorder that affects people with a light skin tone as a result of excessive exposure to the sun rays.

6. In some cases, pigmentation takes place after some serious skin conditions like acne, contact dermatitis, eczema etc.

7. Some medications or drugs might also lead to pigmentation on the skin. 8. Sometimes, fragrant cosmetics may lead to pigmentation.

9. Quite a number of people are born with a Birthmark also known as 'Nevus' which is another form of pigmentation.

10. Tattoos are also considered as pigments as the tattoo ink may be inserted into the dermis to make them permanent.

What are the treatment options for Hyperpigmented Disorders?

  1. In case of Melasma, Photomelanosis and acne mark topical creams or steroids can be effective to eliminate or reduce the pigmentation on the skin. These can be used in combination with other modalities in order to provide optimum results such as:

  • Chemical peels

  • IPL treatment

  • Laser treatment

2. For dark circles under the eyes, Glycolic acid peel or electrical stimulation treatment can be effective. In addition to which Iron supplements and antioxidants may be suggested by your doctor for maximum results.

3. Dr. Vikas Gawri suggests following treatments for Freckles and Lentigines: Spot peel with

  • TCA or glycolic acid

  • Fulguration with Radiofrequency

  • Lasers

4. And for tattoos and birthmarks, Q switched Nd-Yag laser is a brilliant treatment.

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