Pigment is also called melanin, which is produced by the pigment cells (melanocytes) in your skin. If the pigment production is disturbed, too light or dark spots may appear. We distinguish between hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation.
Hypo- and Hyperpigmentation
Hypopigmentation: These pigmentation spots are lighter in color than the skin color. In this case, a lack of pigment production by the pigment cells or the number of pigment cells in the skin are reduced. Hypopigmentation can develop after sun damage, a wound or skin conditions such as eczema, vitiligo and albinism. Depigmentation has no pigment at all, these spots are often white in color.
Hyperpigmentation: The pigmentation spot is darker in color than the skin color. This can be caused by an increase in the number of pigment cells and / or an increased production of pigment.
Dark pigmentation spots may develop over the years. Regular exposure to the sun often plays a major role in this. But pigmentation spots can also be caused by hormone fluctuations, skin aging or wounds.
Types of pigmentation spots
The hyperpigmentation can be located in the epidermis, showing a brown to black spot. The pigment can also be located deeper in the dermis. We then speak of dermal pigment, which is often visible as a blue-gray discoloration.
Pigmentation spots from the sun
These spots are also called lentigo solaris. These are benign dark pigmentation spots caused by excessive sun exposure. These spots are therefore common in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, shoulders, décolleté and hands. Lentigo solaris can be removed with the pigment laser.
Pigmentation from wounds
If the skin is sensitive to the production of pigment, a pigmentation can occur after a wound or inflammation. These spots can often be present multiple times, for example after acne. We also call this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). These spots can be treated with the pigment laser and fractional laser, read more about this treatment of pigment spots through wounds at Huid & Laser Utrecht.
Melasma, also known as a pregnancy mask, is a brown discoloration of the skin. The spots are often visible as an irregular hyperpigmentation on the cheekbones, upper lip, chin and forehead. The exact origin of melasma is still unknown, but there is a link between pregnancy, pill use, sunlight, certain medication and hereditary predisposition. Once you have melasma, there is a big chance that the pigment spots will return under the influence of pill use, sunlight and pregnancy. Melasma can be treated with the fractional laser.