What is “Dyspigmentation”?
Dyspigmentation is caused when the cells that make color- known as melanocytes- are turned on to product pigment (melanin). This leads to darkening of the skin. To understand the causes of uneven pigmentation, you need to understand how melanin is made and how it enters the skin cells (keratinocytes).
How is skin pigment made?
Melanocytes are cells that produce a pigment known as melanin that gives skin its pigmentation. Melanocytes use an enzyme known as tyrosinase to make pigment. Once the pigment is produced, the melanocytes package it in packets known as melanosomes. These melanosomes move through a doorway into skin cells (keratinocytes). They cause the keratinocyte to turn darker leading to skin pigmentation.
DSPW Skin Types May Develop One or More of the Following:
Melasma – dark areas common above the lips or on the cheeks, chin, or arms. This is due to heat, sun exposure, estrogen, stress and any form of inflammation. Has been called “the mask of pregnancy”.
Solar lentigos – Also known as sun spots. This brown spots resemble freckles and occur in areas of sun exposure such as the cheeks, arms and shoulders.
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation – Inflammation causes an increase in melanin production leading to darkness in the areas of inflammation.
Poikiloderma of Civatte- This refers to sun damage that leads to areas of red, brown and white in sun exposed areas. It most commonly occurs on the neck.