Skin pigmentation issues arise due to irregular deposition of melanin in the skin. These factors may be genetic or may be activated by external and more controlable circumstances. Melanin is depostited in the skin by melanocytes. These cells have long arm-like extensions called dendrites that deposit the melanin into melanosomes for transport through the skin. The health of melanocytes is key to almost all pigmentation issues.

Diagnostic clues

Diagnostic clues Pigmentation concerns can be broken into hypopigmentation (light patches) and hyperpigmentation (dark patches). The patches may be large (e.g. vitiligo) or they may be barely perceptible. There are more than 70 different pigmentation disorders and these can’t all be covered here but there are some common causes.

Possible Causes

Possible Causes: Here are some of the factors that may be contributing to disturbances in the normal deposition of pigment in your skin

  • UV radiation is the prime aggravating factor in pigmentation – all cases will be affected by UV
  • The most common initial causes are the following
    1. Trauma
    2. Medication
    3. Reaction to chemicals
    4. Hormonal changes
    5. Vitamin A & C deficiencies
    6. Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency
  • People carrying the red-head gene are most susceptible to UV damage

Important Lifestyle Considerations

Important Lifestyle Considerations: Here are some suggestions on lifestyle changes that should have a balancing effect on your skin

  • Minimal sun exposure with sun protection at all times
  • Essential fatty acid intake – either 15g per day of flax seed oil or 400mg of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA)
  • Use products containing antioxidants
  • Supplement with vitamin C on a daily basis
  • Make lifestyle changes to reduce free radical exposure
  • Check for photosensitizing ingredients in make-up, skincare and hair care products

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