The pigmentation of your skin is determined by how much melanin you produce. More melanin means darker color, and less means lighter color. Melanin production can be interfered by certain diseases, genetic disorders, hormone imbalances, and even sun damage. Melanin production may be increased or decreased as a result of this interference. It may show up on your skin as age spots, dark patches, white patches, birth marks, moles, freckles or a number of other skin lesions.
Melasma is a particularly difficult skin condition which causes hyper-pigmentation (darkening) of the skin. It affects women and typically arises during pregnancy or when a woman is put on estrogen-containing birth control pills. Melasma is often called the “mask of pregnancy” and affects many areas of the face such as the forehead, cheeks, under eyes and around the mouth. The condition can improve after pregnancy or by going off birth control pills, however, most women struggle with melasma for many years. This condition is also worsened by UV/sun exposure so many people find that the darkened areas are much worse in the summer months. Treatment for melasma includes excellent sun protection, removal of estrogens (if possible), skin care products with Retinol and Hydroquinone agents and laser treatments.
Overall skin pigmentation and discolorations can be simple to quite complex. The particular treatment needed is dependent on the type of skin lesion, color, size and many other factors. The advancement of laser/light technology has allowed for many of these frustrating problems to be treated easily with minimal pain or downtime.