The Complete Guide on Pigmentation in Indian skin: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and more!
Being afraid to leave your house because of skin pigmentation is an awful thing to experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Help is just a consultation away!
In this comprehensive guide, we will explain everything that you need to know about pigmentation and provide solutions to help you achieve a radiant and glowing complexion that you’ve always wanted.
Pigmentation issues, such as dark spots or hyperpigmentation, can be caused by various factors like sun exposure, hormonal changes, inflammation, certain medical conditions, or even injuries. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right approach to tackle pigmentation, as incorrect methods can do more damage than good.
By following our expert advice and tried-and-tested methods, you’ll be equipped with the right knowledge to safely and effectively manage or even get rid of pigmentation. From understanding the root causes to exploring dermatologist-recommended treatments, we have all the information you need to achieve the flawless skin you’ve always desired. Let’s get started…!
To begin, let’s start with the very obvious:
Pigmentation is something that many of us struggle with, regardless of our skin type.
It occurs due to either an excessive production or an uneven distribution of melanin in the skin.
So what exactly is melanin?
Melanin is a natural pigment that is present in your skin, hair, and eyes, and it gives them their distinct color. The more melanin your body produces, the darker your skin tone will be, and vice versa. Melanin is also responsible for protecting your skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun.
When your body produces too little or too much melanin, it can cause skin pigmentation. Check out this detailed article on whether a dark-skinned person can become fair to learn more about melanin.
Types of Pigmentation and their causes
Let’s now look at some common types of pigmentation issues.
There are several types of pigmentation disorders, each characterized by specific symptoms and causes:
Hyperpigmentation refers to a situation where the skin appears darker due to excessive production of melanin. It may occur in
- Small patches
- Cover large areas or
- Affects the entire body.
Although it is not necessarily a medical condition, increased pigmentation can indicate an underlying health issue. There are different types of hyperpigmentation, with different causes and treatments.
It is important to learn about these to understand how to manage the condition.
Types of hyperpigmentation:
They are of three main types, namely:
(1) Melasma: It is a common skin condition characterized by brown to gray-brown patches on the face. It typically appears on the cheeks, chin, nose bridge, forehead, and above the upper lip but can occur anywhere on the body.
It is more commonly seen in women than men and is believed to be caused by hormonal changes, often developing during pregnancy.
It can also affect women who take oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
(2) Sunspots: This condition appears to be similar to melasma but is caused by exposure to UV rays. Unlike melasma, which is caused by hormonal changes, sun spots develop closer to the surface of the skin and are, therefore, easier to treat.
Overexposure to UV rays from the sun is the main cause of sun spots, although other factors such as yeast, natural pigmentation, hypomelanosis, and certain types of fungus can also contribute to the condition.
Sunspots are more common in people with fair skin or those with repeated sun exposure. Nevertheless, it can happen to anyone.
(3) Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This occurs in reaction to skin damage or irritation or as a result of injury or inflammation to the skin, which presents as patches or spots in tan, brown, dark brown, or blue-gray on the skin.
Post Inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be triggered by various factors, including
Other commonly reported causes of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation include
- Bug bites
- Razor bumps
- Allergic reactions, and
In addition, some medical or cosmetic procedures such as laser or light therapies, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, and chemical peels have also been known to cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Hypopigmentation occurs when there is a lack or decrease in melanin production, leading to skin patches that are lighter than the surrounding areas.
Possible causes of hypopigmentation include:
- Chemical exposure
- Autoimmune disorders etc
Types of hypopigmentation disorders
Rare genetic conditions may cause hypopigmentation over wide areas of your skin. Some of these genetic conditions include:
- Albinism: It is a genetic disorder that affects the production of melanin, resulting in very light-colored skin and hair in the entire body, often appearing white.
Read a Complete guide on Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Albinism.
- Pityriasis alba: Individuals with pityriasis alba may develop circular or oval-shaped red or pink patches on their skin. These patches can typically be resolved by using moisturizing creams or they may disappear on their own. However, even after the redness subsides, pale marks may be left on the skin.
- Vitiligo: It is a medical condition that results in the loss of skin color in patches. These discolored patches generally increase in size over time and can affect any part of the body, including hair and the inside of the mouth.
Other hypopigmentation causes include:
- Fungal infections like Tinea versicolor
- Skin disorders such as Lichen sclerosus
- Chronic skin conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema
Additionally, these skin treatments too can cause hypopigmentation:
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Laser hair removal
- Dermabrasion, and
- Chemical peels.
In order to determine the condition of your skin, a healthcare provider may carry out the following steps:
- Ask you questions about your medical history, such as when your skin issues began and what medications you are currently taking.
- Conduct a physical examination to visually inspect your skin.
- Look at your skin under a special ultraviolet light called a Wood lamp.
- Order blood tests to determine levels of vitamins, hormones, iron, and thyroid function.
- Take a small skin sample for a biopsy, which helps to detect any abnormal skin cells.
The appropriate treatment for pigmentation depends on the underlying cause.
If the condition is caused by an injury or infection, it can be healed with simple medication.
However, if it is caused by a genetic condition like albinism, then unfortunately, there is no cure, and the focus is on effective management of the condition.
On the other hand, if it is a result of an autoimmune disorder, such as Psoriasis, the treatment would focus on resolving the underlying cause of the condition.
Treatment for Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is often harmless and does not require any treatment. However, if you prefer to get rid of it, there are many treatment methods that you can try!
Many a time, your doctor will also prescribe these creams to treat hyperpigmentation. These contain ingredients that can lighten your skin, such as:
- Azelaic acid
- Vitamin C
- Kojic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Alpha arbutin
- Corticosteroids, etc
Remember, creams containing steroids and hydroquinone may take 3 to 6 months to have an effect on the skin’s color.
Always consult a dermatologist before taking any of the ingredients mentioned above.
These include the following procedures:
- Laser therapy
- Intense pulsed light and
- Chemical peels
However, it is essential to have a discussion with a skincare specialist or dermatologist before undergoing any of these procedures. If not done correctly, the procedures could potentially worsen hyperpigmentation by injuring the outer layer of the skin.
Treatment for hypopigmentation disorders in Indians
If you experience skin hypopigmentation due to injuries or skin treatments, you may not require any treatment. Your skin cells will begin to produce melanin again as the affected areas heal, and hypopigmentation will usually disappear within a few weeks or months.
Similarly, if you have pityriasis alba, Psoriasis, or eczema, hypopigmentation will typically resolve on its own without treatment, but it may take a few weeks or months.
In cases where hypopigmentation is a symptom of a skin condition, certain medications such as corticosteroids and topical calcineurin inhibitors (like tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream) may be used to treat it.
Phototherapy can be an effective treatment for hypopigmentation caused by laser treatments (laser-induced hypopigmentation), such as laser hair removal, laser tattoo removal, or laser skin resurfacing. This treatment involves the use of ultraviolet (UV) light from special lamps, often in combination with a drug called psoralen combined with ultraviolet A (PUVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB). Phototherapy has been shown to be effective in treating laser-induced hypopigmentation in skin of color.
However, there are no effective treatments available for genetic disorders such as albinism or vitiligo.
If you’re struggling with skin issues such as acne or pigmentation, don’t worry – we’re here to help! MFine has recently launched an amazing new line of skincare products that cater to all skin types and concerns, including dryness, aging, dark circles, and acne. We understand that everyone’s skin is unique, which is why we provide high-quality skincare solutions that are tailored to suit different age groups and skin types, from sensitive to oily. So, why not take the first step towards achieving beautiful and healthy skin by taking advantage of our FREE skin assessment or FREE derma consultation today? We assure you that it’s worth a try!
Although not all causes of hyperpigmentation can be prevented, there are steps you can take to prevent certain instances of pigmentation. These include:
- Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Protective Clothing: Wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Avoid Peak Sun Hours: Limit outdoor activities during peak sun hours (10 am to 4 pm).
- Topical Agents: Use skincare products containing ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, and retinoids known for their pigmentation-reducing properties.
If you have hypopigmentation resulting from infections, take care to avoid possible reinfection. You should complete the full antibiotic or antifungal course to avoid resistance to the medications.
Pigmentation can affect people all over the world. In India, it occurs for the same reasons as anywhere else.
Indians typically have higher levels of melanin, which can result in darker skin. Additionally, due to the harsh climate, Indians are more prone to experiencing hyperpigmentation.
Therefore, you should take extra precautions to protect your skin from external factors that can cause pigmentation. This can be done by wearing sunscreen and full-sleeved clothing when going out in the sun.
Pigmentation concerns can be a result of various factors and can appear at any age. When it comes to the onset of pigmentation issues, there are many contributing factors to consider. Sun exposure during childhood can lead to the development of pigmentation marks later in life.
Hormonal changes during puberty can also cause pigmentation issues.
Finally, the natural ageing process can cause a decrease in the production of melanin, which can lead to uneven skin tone and dark spots. Age spots, for instance, tend to form in people aged 40 and over, although they can also develop in younger people who frequently get sunburns or use tanning beds.
These factors can all contribute to the onset of pigmentation concerns, and it’s essential to take precautions to prevent them from becoming a long-term issue.
Turning 30 can be a milestone that brings a mix of emotions. Your body has already started showing signs of change in your late 20s, and your skin is no exception. It’s natural to experience dryness, irritation, and even strange spots popping up. Dermatologists say this is a normal transition, and there are some simple steps you can take to keep your skin healthy and vibrant.
As you age, your skin’s cell turnover slows down, which can cause a loss of radiance. Dead cells start building up on the surface of your skin, making it look dull. This process is a natural occurrence that starts as early as your 20s. By the time you reach your 30s, new cells only become visible every 28-35 days, compared to every 14 days when you were a child.
To combat this dullness, dermatologists recommend adjusting your skincare routine. This may include using exfoliants, moisturizers, and other products that help your skin regenerate faster. By taking care of your skin, you can restore its radiance and keep it looking healthy and youthful.
Are you struggling with a skin condition that’s affecting your confidence and daily life? Don’t let it hold you back any longer!
Consult with one of our expert dermatologists at MFine, from the comfort of your own home. Our dermatologists are highly experienced and are here to provide you with personalized advice and treatment options tailored to your specific needs.
To consult, simply download the MFine app now!
Additionally, you can also follow us on Instagram for more medical skin-related content.
To achieve and maintain healthy, evenly pigmented skin, it is crucial to understand pigmentation and take proactive measures. Pigmentation is a common concern, particularly for those with Indian skin tones. However, with sun protection, healthy lifestyle choices, and timely interventions, its impact can be significantly reduced. Seeking professional advice for personalized guidance and treatments ensures a comprehensive approach. Remember, skincare is a journey, and consistency in preventive measures is key to long-term skin health. Take charge of your skin’s health with a proactive approach to pigmentation.