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Everything You Need to Know About Skin Pigmentation

Updated: May 25, 2023

Pigmented skin

Your skin is your body's largest organ, and it’s constantly exposed to the elements. Over time, this can lead to pigmentation changes. That's why taking care of your skin and protecting it from the sun, wind, and cold is essential.

What Is Skin Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation is the colouring of your skin. It's determined by the amount and type of melanin in your skin. Melanin is a pigment that gives skin its colour.

The more melanin you have, the darker your skin will be. Skin pigmentation can vary from person to person and even from one body part to another.

What Causes Pigmentation Changes

Sun exposure is the most common cause of pigmentation change. Over time, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage the skin, causing it to become darker or lighter. This is called sun damage.

Other causes of pigmentation changes include hormones, medications, and certain medical conditions.

Hormonal changes, such as those that happen during pregnancy, can cause pigmentation changes. Medications such as birth control pills, certain antibiotics, and drugs used to treat cancer also cause changes in pigmentation. And there are some medical pigmentation conditions, such as Addison's disease, vitiligo, and albinism.

Pigmentation changes can be temporary or permanent. They can also be harmless or harmful. Some pigmentation changes, such as those caused by sun damage, can increase your risk for skin cancer.

If you're concerned about a change in your skin's pigmentation, you must see a board-certified dermatologist for an evaluation. They can help you determine if the changes are harmless or if you need to be evaluated for skin cancer.

What Are the Types of Pigmentation

There are two main types of skin pigmentation: hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation.


Hypopigmentation is when the skin loses its natural colour, resulting in lighter patches of skin. It can affect any body area but is most common on the face, hands, and feet. Hypopigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, including sun damage, certain skin conditions, and certain medications. It can also be a side effect of skin cancer treatment.

While hypopigmentation is usually not harmful, it can be a cosmetic concern for some people. There are a number of treatments available that can help restore the natural colour of the skin.


Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin due to an overproduction of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour, so when there is too much of it, the skin appears darker than usual. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, including sun exposure, skin injury, certain medications, and certain medical conditions.

Sun exposure is the most common cause of hyperpigmentation. When the skin is exposed to the sun, it produces more melanin to protect itself from UV rays. This increase in melanin can cause the skin to darken.

A skin injury can also cause hyperpigmentation. When the skin is injured, it produces more melanin to heal the injury. This increase in melanin can cause the skin to darken.

Certain medications can also cause hyperpigmentation. Medications that contain corticosteroids can cause the skin to produce more melanin, leading to darker skin.

And finally, certain medical conditions can also cause hyperpigmentation, such as Addison's disease and Cushing's syndrome.

What Treatments Are Available for Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation can be treated with various methods, including topical creams, laser therapy, and chemical peels. The best treatment depends on the cause of the pigmentation change and the type of skin involved.

Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you are concerned about skin pigmentation. They can help you determine the cause of the pigmentation and the best treatment options.


It is essential to be informed about the various aspects of skin pigmentation to make the best decisions for your individual skin types and needs. By understanding the types of skin pigmentation, you can better choose which treatments or products will be most effective.

There are many types of skin pigmentation, each with its unique set of causes and treatments. At Advanced Laser Clinic, we offer various laser treatment for many types of pigmentation, including sunspots, age spots, melasma, and more. We will assess your skin and determine which laser treatment is right for you. Let us develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and goals. Schedule an appointment with us today!


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