Ultimate Guide to Skin Discoloration & Hyperpigmentation

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What is Hyperpigmentation? 
Brown, red, or pink, small or large, clustered or diffuse, Hyperpigmentation is a darkening of the skin due to higher than normal levels of melanin.

Two Types of Melanin:
Melanocyte cells make pigment by creating one of two types of melanin: eumelanin or pheomelanin. Both are found in the skin and each creates different shades of pigment. Eumelanin is brown to black in color and is more common in those with tan or darker skin. It also absorbs UV rays, acting as a skin protector. Pheomelanin is yellow to red in color and is found in concentrated amounts in the lips and in people with lighter skin tones. Pheomelanin cannot absorb UV rays and makes the skin more sensitive to UV rays.

Types of Discoloration:
-Sunspots aka Age spots
-Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
The Pigment Cycle:

Step 1: Melanin Production is Triggered
- A trigger sends a signal to the hormones that control melanin production. Once the signal is sent, the enzyme tyrosinase becomes activated. Tyrosinase is responsible for telling the body to start the process of creating more melanin.

Step 2: The Melanocyte Cells Start Producing Pigment
- Melanocytes produce melanin for 1 of 2 reasons: exposure to sunlight or as a response to inflammation. The newly created pigment is then packaged into little bundles called melanosomes.

Step 3: Pigment is Distributed
- The melanosomes disperse the pigment through the dermis up to the epidermis through their dendrites. If the pigment doesn't make its way up toward the surface and live in the dermis, it will be harder to erase.

Step 4: Discoloration Becomes Permanent
- Some types of pigmentation may lighten on their own, but others, become embedded in skin and, with aging and sun exposure, are difficult to treat.

Protect Your Skin to Prevent Damage:
- Safeguard your skin no matter what your skin type and color are, sunscreen needs to be worn by everyone everyday.

Surface Pigmentation vs. Deep Pigmentation:
- When pigmentation is on the surface, the discoloration is more of a light brown color and is more diffused. Pigmentation deep within skin takes on more of a dark brown or gray tone and is solid and dense. Deep pigmentation is harder to treat because its more resilient and can come back easily.

Skin Color Matters:
- Hyperpigmentation can affect all skin tones but it runs rampant in those with darker skin. The reason: the darker the skin, the more active the melanocytes because of naturally high melanin levels. Hyperpigmentation can affect lighter skin, but it is more prevalent in those with darker skin.

What Happens to Untreated Pigment?
- In most cases, hyperpigmentation will eventually resolve on its own if it is not treated. If your skin is prone to pigmentation, always take preventative measures, especially with sunscreen.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, I found it super informative and interesting. Have a beautiful day everyone!!!

Source: New Beauty Magazine

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